With all the variations in karats and colors, knowing what kind of gold you have can be stressful. At Leo Hamel Jewelry & Gold Buyers, we strive to make your experience selling your gold jewelry as easy as possible. Knowing what types of gold you have can help you choose which pieces you’d like to sell.
Pure gold in its elemental state is called 24k gold. It is soft, pliable, and rich yellow. This softness does make it unsuitable for most jewelry though. For most gold jewelry, the pure gold is mixed with other metals into an alloy. This results in jewelry that is wearable and much stronger than pure 24k gold.
Colors of Gold
Gold is sometimes mixed with other metals to create different colors, this is referred to as an alloy. These are some of the most common colors, but gold can come in various other colors including green or black. By changing the proportions in the alloy any color of the rainbow could be created.
Yellow Gold: The natural color of gold is yellow, but for gold jewelry to be wearable, it must have mixed metals. Yellow gold is created by mixing alloys like copper, zinc, silver, nickel, palladium or platinum. When professionally mixed, these metals make a stunning yellow gold that is sturdy and long-lasting.
Rose Gold: This color is achieved when creating an alloy with silver, copper and zinc. Increasing the copper and decreasing the silver in the ratio results in the famous pink-hued gold.
White Gold: White gold is created by reversing the rose gold ratio, so you’d increase the silver in the ratio and decrease the copper. It may look vastly different than a stereotypical gold, but it still contains the same amount of karat gold.
The number of karats of gold tells you how much pure gold exists in the jewelry. This can also help you identify the different types of gold alloys. Higher karats of gold that have a greater percentage of gold have a higher value, as gold is more valuable per ounce than the alloys it is mixed with to create the different karats.
24k – 100% pure gold. This is the element gold in its natural form. Some countries create gold chains of 24k or 22k gold, such as the baht chains from Thailand.
18k – 75% gold. This karat is the standard for jewelry in many countries around the world. It’s created with 18 parts gold and 6 parts of other metals like silver, copper, zinc, or nickel.
14k – 58.3% gold. This karat option is the most popular in the United States and is very durable but still has the glow of real gold.
10k – 41.7% gold. This is the minimum karat necessary to be recognized as gold in the United States. It is used for jewelry in some countries to keep the price lower.
Often times jewelry will have a stamp somewhere on the inside of the piece that indicates which karat of gold is in the jewelry. This gives you an idea of which pieces may be worth more or less, depending on how many grams of gold were used to create the piece.