What is Rose Gold?

You may have seen mention of it in newspaper advertisements. You may even have heard of it from your local jeweler. So, what exactly is Rose Gold? From a marketing standpoint, it sounds very romantic, however, there really is no such thing as pure rose-colored gold, red gold or pink gold.

Pure gold (a noble metal) is always yellow, because it absorbs the violet and blue light and reflects yellow and red light. However, in its purest form, it is really too soft for use in practical applications, such as jewelry or gold coins, so it must be mixed with other metals for strength and durability.

So how exactly do the jewelers create colored gold? When they refer to colored gold, they are actually talking about colored alloys, which are added to the gold to make it stronger, for use in rings, necklaces, bracelets, earrings and coins.

Even the pure gold color that most people prefer is really a combination of gold and other metals, usually copper and silver. These are used most often because there is a metallurgical affinity existing within these metals. More simply put, they blend well and form jewelry that will withstand the test of time.

According to the periodic table, gold is known as Au, for the Latin aurum, and when mixed with copper, produces a metal with a reddish color. Adding a very small amount of copper will give you a pink, or rose colored gold. A larger amount of copper will produce a slightly deeper shade of red. Goldsmiths in the past often used more copper than silver in the mixture, copper being much less expensive than silver and producing a more reddish color. It is a simple matter of adjusting the proportions of the gold, silver and copper and you will get everything from a very pale yellow to a deep red, or a deep gold.

In addition, jewelers have discovered that by adding iron (a heavy metal) to the gold, they can produce a blue color. Substituting aluminum (a poor metal) will give a purple tinge to the gold, and the addition of platinum (a transition metal) to gold gives us the white gold color that is also very popular in jewelry. The white gold can also be made by adding nickel, zinc and palladium to the gold. They can even produce a black gold simply by adding natural bismuth (a poor metal) along with a silver alloy to the gold. By leaving the copper out of the alloy mixture, and having only the gold and silver, it will produce a kind of greenish yellow color. Jewelers have discovered that the green gold is still rather soft for their purposes, but can be used for decoration on hand-made pieces of jewelry.

So, while all gold is yellow, a little mixing of gold with a number of other different metals, will produce beautiful shades of many colors, adding to the beauty, strength and durability of the your jewelry.


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