Gone are the days when the word gold would get you to imagine only a brilliant yellow hue. The ‘Yellow Metal’, one of the most coveted metals on the earth is now available in a spectrum of colours to cater to the young and fashionable.
If you are in tune with the latest trends in gold jewellery, you must have seen hues of white, pink and copper in the jewels. The colours are achieved by adding different metals and alloys to gold. While they are not exactly 24 karats in purity, they are precious alright, given the percentage of gold included in them. For those unfamiliar with the many hues of gold and the metals in them, here is a quick glimpse of how the various tints are achieved.
Gold of the highest purity is measured at 24 karats and is yellow in colour. However, it is too malleable or soft to be able to fashion it into jewellery. To fortify it, a small percentage of copper or other metal alloys are added to it. Depending on the percentage of the alloy, the fineness of the gold is measured. In making jewellery, gold that is 14k, 18k and 22k is most commonly used. 22k is the highest purity that can be achieved in gold jewellery – 91.3% gold and 8.6% of some other alloy. At 22k, gold is yellow, sturdy and can be carved into even the most intricate of designs. As you reduce the percentage of gold, the yellow tint goes on decreasing. So you would find 22k to be a deeper hue of yellow than 18k and so on.
One of the most popular hues of gold today is rose gold. Bright and unconventional, it has a look of classic elegance – the colour of blush that is hard to come by in any other metal. The colour is achieved by the addition of copper to the mix.
The more the copper, the deeper the pink hue. Rose gold looks amazing in bangles, rings and necklaces. It is also extensively used by wrist watch brands these days for a unique and one of a kind look that looks great on all skin tones.
During times when gold was not as expensive as platinum, people bought white gold in place of the more pricey platinum. White gold is made by applying Rhodium plating on 14 or 18k gold. Applying the coating gives the jewellery a striking white effect.
Rhodium has this property of emanating a brilliant, almost mirror-like shine. This makes white gold a great base metal to work with when designing with diamonds. The white gold can set off the shine of the diamonds like no other metal so much that from a distance, you cannot recognise where the metal ends and where the diamonds begin.
With its contemporary and modern look, white gold has extremely popular amongst youngsters today that they are not even considering the understated platinum anymore, even though gold prices have soared and become almost equal to that of platinum today.
The depth of the yellow, white and pink colours can be varied by changing the percentage of the alloy in the gold. It is not just these three colours, but jewellers have actually come up with a number of other combinations to give gold myriad hues ranging from blue to green. While they have not caught on yet as a fashion trend, the day is not far when you would actually have fifty shades of gold to choose from at the jeweller!
Image credit: Nordstrom, India Times, Macy's, Sfgate