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White and yellow gold

November 13, 2020

White and yellow gold

White gold or yellow gold? 585 gold or 750 gold? Upon entering the best luxury jewellery stores in the centre of Milan you are faced with a wide range of different jewellery, made with a wide range of different precious materials. In most cases, gold stands out, in its many different guises. The most famous types are undoubtedly white gold and yellow gold. These are two very common terms, which we are all familiar with, and which almost everyone knows how to recognize without much difficulty. But what is the real difference between yellow gold and white gold? Which aspects of the production of these materials determine such a clear difference in colour?

The origins of gold

To understand the real difference between white gold and yellow gold, it is necessary to take a step back: instead of looking at the jewellery in a window display, we must look at rocks, and the alluvial deposits from run-offs from which this precious material is extracted . In nature, gold is found in the form of grains, nuggets or spangles. Here, in its original state, gold is pure, and it not “hard” as we know it in its later stage. On the contrary, pure gold is extremely malleable, and is therefore not suitable for making jewellery with. For this reason this precious mineral is mixed with other alloys, in order to make stronger, more lasting jewellery.

Gold: carats and thousandths

Other substances are thus added to the pure gold. Think, for example, of 750 gold, or to call it by its more common name, 18 carat gold: this is gold that contains 750 thousandths of pure gold, to which are added 250 thousandths of other alloys. And so we arrive at the point under discussion: it is the type of alloys that are added to pure gold which determine whether the gold is white or yellow.

The difference between white and yellow gold

In yellow gold, additional alloys such as copper, zinc and silver are used. In 750 yellow gold then, we will find 250 thousandths of these alloys. In white gold, on the other hand, copper and palladium are the alloys used.

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