10 February 2023
What gold alloy will you choose for your jewellery?
"Give gold if you love each other"
Almost everyone has heard of this saying. Gold has therefore been used for jewellery for thousands of years. This is partly because this precious metal has a fairly fixed value. There are quite a few different alloys of gold and to clarify this, we have listed the most important information and some pros and cons for you.
In Europe, we do not use pure gold. This is because pure gold is very soft. In the Netherlands, most jewellery is made of 14-carat gold. When a piece of jewellery is made of 14-carat gold, it means that of the 1,000 particles that make up an alloy, 585 are pure gold. The remaining 415 particles are added metal, to strengthen the jewellery. For an 18-carat gold jewellery, out of the 1,000 particles, there are 750 particles of pure gold and 250 particles of added metal.
Exactly what kind of metal is added depends on the colour of gold. Red gold, for example, gets its colour from the addition of copper. The higher the copper content, the stronger the red colouring the metal will have. With yellow gold, a combination of silver and copper is usually added.
Below is a list of the most common contents and the amount of gold particles in the alloy per alloy:
Each alloy has its advantages and disadvantages. With pure gold, for example, you naturally get the assurance that there is no added metal in the alloy. You choose pure gold and you get pure gold. As told, pure gold is only very soft. It is so soft that wearing it will cause a lot of damage. The material can quickly dent, scratch or deform. And of course we want to avoid that. However, you can deduce from this that the higher the alloy is, the softer (and therefore more vulnerable) the material is.
In the Netherlands, most suppliers work with 14-carat gold. The ring is hard enough to last a lifetime, with normal use. Jewellery made of 18-carat gold is considered the more luxurious jewellery. Jewellery made of 9-carat gold is not officially considered gold jewellery in the Netherlands. Therefore, jewellery is only inspected from 14 carat gold. However, it is more common abroad to produce jewellery made of 9-carat gold. Above you can find the different stamps belonging to the different alloys.
It may happen that an allergic reaction occurs at a lower alloy. This is because a larger amount of another metal is added. This may be silver, copper or something completely different. Because part of the alloy consists of something other than gold, a reaction may occur between the skin and the jewellery.
In addition, you can see quite a bit of colour difference between the different alloys. The higher the alloy, the warmer the colour of the gold. Thus, a 24-carat yellow gold ring is visibly yellower than a 14-carat yellow gold ring. With white gold and red gold jewellery, you don't see any difference between the different alloys. Below you can see the difference between a cast tree in 14-carat yellow gold (left) and 18-carat yellow gold (right).
White gold jewellery is always rhodium-plated at DiamondsByMe. This is done because white gold itself has a slightly yellowish glow. However, this can vary per alloy and per goldsmith. The white gold we use at DiamondsByMe in our jewellery already has a beautiful white colour by nature. We then rhodium-plated the white gold jewellery in a special bath to give it an extra beautiful white glow.
Would you like to know more about the materials we use in our jewellery, different jewellery or other possibilities? Then take a look in our knowledge base.