Get to know your gold: types of gold jewelry explained
Back to blog

Get to know your gold: types of gold jewelry explained

There are so many different types of gold used in jewelry-making and each comes with its own unique properties and characteristics. We know it can be confusing working out which material is the best for your gold jewelry, so we’ve pulled this guide together to help clear things up!

Solid gold jewelry vs gold plated

Solid gold jewelry is made entirely of gold alloy and is typically available in 10k, 14k, or 18k varieties. The karat refers to the amount of gold vs alloy in the material, for example, 14-karat gold is made up of 14 parts gold and 10 parts alloy. Only 24k gold is made exclusively of gold, meaning 24 out of 24 parts - or 99.999% - is gold. But 24k gold is soft and malleable, hence why it is often mixed with alloy to make it more durable! 

Gold-plated jewelry, on the other hand, is made by coating a base metal with a thin layer of gold through a process called electroplating. The thickness of the gold layer can vary but is typically less than 0.05% of the total weight of the piece. Gold-plated jewelry is less expensive than solid gold jewelry and can often be made in a wider variety of designs, making it a good option for trying out different styles or designs that you might wear on occasion. 

Overall, solid gold jewelry is a higher quality and more durable option, but it comes at a higher price point. Gold-plated jewelry is a more affordable option but may need to be replaced more frequently.

Gold plated vs gold filled 

Similarly to gold plated, gold filled jewelry is made from a base material that is covered in gold, but this time the gold layer consists of 5% of the weight of the piece instead of 0.05%. The gold is typically 14k and is mechanically bonded onto the base material rather than plated, making it more durable than gold plated material. 

Gold filled jewelry is a higher quality and a more hard-wearing option than gold plated jewelry. It’s more expensive, but it tends to offer better value in the long run because it can last for years without losing its gold layer.

What are the different types of gold? 

Now we’ve covered the different compositions of gold jewelry, let’s dive into the color variations. Yellow gold, white gold, and rose gold are the most widely used. 

Yellow gold

Yellow gold is the most traditional and classic form of gold. It’s made by mixing pure gold with other metals, such as copper, silver and zinc, and it’s the higher percentage of copper which gives it its characteristic yellow color. 

Our gorgeous Callie Ring is made from yellow gold.

White gold

White gold is made by mixing gold with white metals, such as nickel, palladium, or silver. It’s then coated with a thin layer of rhodium to enhance its shine and durability, and it’s this layer that eventually rubs away over time, revealing a slightly golden tone underneath. White gold is a popular choice for engagement rings and wedding bands because it provides a more modern, sleek look.

Take a look at our white gold CZ Prong earrings

Rose gold 

Rose gold, also known as pink gold, is made by mixing pure gold with copper. The higher the copper content, the deeper the rose color. And it’s this higher percentage of copper that can often make rose gold a more affordable option. Rose gold has definitely grown in popularity in recent years and is often appreciated for its romantic, vintage-inspired look.

Our Paperclip Chain Bracelet looks stunning in rose gold, don’t you think? 

Hopefully this post has given you some insight into which style of gold jewelry will best meet your needs. We love creating delicate styles for everyday wear, and we’re sure you’ll find something you love at Adorn512.