Yellow Gold - Is Yellow Gold Real Gold?

Posted on February 28 2021

The first associations that come to mind when jewelry is described as “gold” are the images of a classic, golden-yellow, sleek metal item. Gold jewelry today however has made tremendous progress since being offered only as a singular variation of yellow metal. Gold is much more diverse than that, which is why we love working with various types of gold materials. Today, you can purchase gold jewelry in different colors; yellow gold, white gold, or rose gold, different purities, and different price ranges. The GLD Shop is the most trusted contemporary jewelry brand today, because of our understanding and commitment to producing a variety of gold jewelry items. Our collections range from classic and timeless yellow gold staples, to trend setting pieces that show our creative flex. This is why we love working with gold materials; there’s a style for everyone to enjoy.  Because of this variety, it’s important to first understand the basics about the very material we use, which is gold. For those first learning about the various types of gold jewelry, it can be a bit overwhelming between the definitions, descriptions, and terminologies. In this article we’re going to discuss what yellow gold is, how yellow gold is used in gold jewelry, and more information about yellow gold and white gold jewelry.

 

Iced Ball Chain in Yellow Gold

Iced Ball Chain in Yellow Gold

 

What is Yellow Gold? Is Yellow Gold Better than Gold?

Yellow gold is real gold, and yellow is the only naturally occurring color in gold jewelry. All gold jewelry starts as yellow gold. Yellow gold by itself, in its purest form, is not practical to use for crafting jewelry. This is why a mixture of metals, also known as alloys, is needed to craft jewelry because it creates strength and durability. This mixture of metals could be silver, copper, zinc, rhodium, or palladium. Combining these alloys with pure gold ensures the jewelry will not bend, scratch, or break easily. Just because mixed metals are added to pure gold, doesn’t mean yellow gold isn’t good quality. These alloys are what allows yellow gold to be crafted in jewelry successfully. When this phenomena was first discovered, that yellow gold in its pure state needed other metals in order to create long lasting durable pieces of jewelry, the terminology for gold changed. Once it was discovered that different percentages of pure gold could be added to alloys, this lead to the discovery of different karat varieties. This is why the question if yellow gold is better than gold is redundant, since a percentage of yellow gold is found in all “gold” materials. Even white gold. All real gold has some fraction of yellow gold in it. The main differences in gold are the color and the karat. The color is determined by the additional metals in the gold alloy.

 

3 Prong Tennis Necklace (3mm) in Yellow Gold

3 Prong Tennis Necklace (3mm) in Yellow Gold

 

 

Yellow Gold and Karat Varieties

Gold can be purchased by different purities, also known as “karats.” The most common karats of gold jewelry are 18k gold, 14k gold, and 10k gold. 24 karat gold is the purest form of gold because it is 100% pure gold. The term “yellow gold” was replaced with simply 24k gold, since yellow gold by itself is the most pure form of gold. No other mixed metals are found in 24k gold. Yellow gold is expensive depending on the percentage of pure gold used in gold jewelry. The more pure gold used in a metal mixture, the more expensive the yellow gold will be. The most commonly purchased high quality, and delicate gold material, is 18k gold. 18k gold consists of 75% pure gold, and 25% mixed metals. 18k gold jewelry is best for occasional wear, and typically items that are meant to be worn for special occasions are made from18k gold. 18k gold is a delicate material because there is more pure gold than alloys in its mixture. 14k gold jewelry is more commonly found on the market because of its attractive price point. 14k gold consists of 58.3% pure gold, and the rest of its mixture are alloys. This makes 14k gold jewelry better for everyday use, because the mixed metals in 14k gold will create more durability. 14k gold can be worn in the shower and during physical activities. These karat varieties of gold are offered in yellow gold and white gold materials.14k white gold and 14k yellow gold both use 58.3% pure gold in their mixture. The rest are a combination of alloys.

 

8.5mm GLD Link Choker in Yellow Gold

8.5mm GLD Link Choker in Yellow Gold

 

White Gold and Yellow Gold

White gold, unlike yellow gold, doesn’t exist naturally. White gold is made from yellow gold and other mixed metals. The alloys used in the white gold mixture are specifically intended to create the silvery- pale white color that white gold is famously known for. Yellow gold, palladium, silver, and rhodium are the materials found in white gold mixtures. Rhodium is instrumental in the final coating process for white gold jewelry, since rhodium is the element that gives white gold the perfect shine and finish. White gold and yellow gold are both offered in a variety of karats. “Karats” are another term  to describe the purity of gold. Both white gold and yellow gold use the 24 karat grading scale to determine karat varieties. This scale is from 0- 24, and measures how much pure gold is used against other alloys and mixed metals. For 14k white gold and 14k yellow gold, 14 parts out of the 24 are pure gold. Now that we’ve gone over the similarities, you may be asking what are the differences between yellow vs white gold?

 

5mm Round Cut Tennis Necklace in White Gold

5mm Round Cut Tennis Necklace in White Gold

 

The only difference really between white gold and yellow gold are their colors. White gold will always have silvery-white tones, and yellow gold will have yellowish-golden tones. It’s important to note, white gold is not “silver,” as some people confuse the color of silver with white gold. White gold is intended to be a pale golden tone. Another difference between white gold and yellow gold are the specific mixed metals used in each material. White gold utilizes rhodium, whereas yellow gold does not. White gold and yellow gold are often compared to each other if the gold material has diamonds. Many people wonder which looks bettie with diamonds, white gold or yellow gold. The answer is purely personal, but typically, for colorless or near colorless diamonds, white gold accentuates the gemstone perfectly. Some people though prefer their diamonds to be set on yellow gold, because the golden-yellow tones tend to pop against the clarity of the diamonds. There is no right or wrong answer when choosing white gold or yellow gold, the decision is completely personal.

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