GOLD – Brilliant and Precious
The noble metal with its beguiling color is also called fine gold (= 24 carats) in its pure form without any other alloying additives. The precious metal fineness is generally defined as the proportion of 1000 parts (quasi per mille), this is 999/000 for fine gold. For the sake of simplicity, the “/000” are usually omitted. 999 fine gold is almost slightly orange and has a very rich gold tone. It is very soft and is therefore rarely processed in its pure form for jewelry purposes, most likely still in Far East Asia. For example, government gold reserves typically consist of fine gold bars.
The gold alloy we use the most is the 18 carat alloy or 750/000 gold. Alloyed with silver, it is somewhat lighter and more yellowish than fine gold, and adding zinc makes it harder and easier for the goldsmith to work with. Due to the high gold content, 18k gold never changes color.
This alloy is also called 585 gold and, in addition to 58.5% gold, has a higher silver content. Due to the lower gold content, it is cheaper. Depending on the exact composition, it is often slightly harder than 18k gold, but may change color (oxidize/sulphide) slightly over time.
Red gold / Rose gold
The addition of a little copper turns this gold alloy slightly pink, resulting in rose gold. If the copper content is higher, one speaks of red gold. A beautiful, very pleasantly warm shade that has attracted more and more interest from our customers over the past few years.
If you mix yellow gold with palladium, this decolorizes the gold and, strictly speaking, a gray tone is created: gray gold. We mainly use white gold alloys with 16% palladium – here the yellow color is completely discolored and we get an interesting anthracite, which we always recommend to our customers in its pure form, or additional galvanic brightening (rhodium plating). A very noble, dark shade, in our opinion.
Rhodium plating of white gold
As the name suggests, most customers know white gold as a very bright precious metal. However, one must know here that white gold only becomes really light through rhodium plating. Rhodium is a very hard, light-colored precious metal from the platinum group that can be applied to precious metal surfaces in an electrochemical process called electroplating. In the case of gray gold, this then becomes white gold. For technical reasons, however, you can only achieve a layer thickness of approx. 1 micron. Although this layer is relatively stable, it can wear away over time as a result of mechanical abrasion, particularly in the case of finger rings. In this case, the rhodium plating can be repeated without any problems, provided the piece of jewelery has been thoroughly cleaned and prepared.