Yellow Gold Explained

Pure natural gold, precious and beautiful as it may be, is just too soft to be used in engagement rings and jewellery. Even with careful use, any ring, pendant or bracelet made of pure gold would soon become distorted or broken.

To make this precious metal durable enough for everyday use, jewellers add other metals to the pure gold to add strength without taking away from the innate beauty of the metal.

What Is Yellow Gold?

Yellow gold, when used to make an engagement ring or jewellery, is an alloy of pure gold and other metals mixed together. There are no fixed mixtures of metals used to create yellow gold; however, the following examples are commonly used to create a light and darker metal:

  • 18ct yellow gold: 75% gold, 12.5% copper, 12.5% silver
  • 18ct yellow (darker) gold: 75% gold, 15% copper, 10% silver
  • Zinc is also used in the creation of yellow gold alloys.

In the UK, all gold items weighing over 1 gram must be stamped with a hallmark that certifies the purity of the metal in the article. Below are the most popular white gold purities used around the world when making an engagement ring:

  • 9-karat gold contains 37.5% of pure gold the stamp for this is 375. This grade of gold is a light-yellow colour. A robust metal that is low in cost. 9ct gold is the lowest grade of gold that can be legally termed as gold in the United Kingdom.
  • 14-karat gold contains 58.5% of pure gold the stamp for this is 585. This is usually a warm coloured metal. The lower price of 14ct gold and its durability makes it a popular choice.
  • 18-karat gold contains 75% of pure gold and the stamp for this is 750. When alloyed with other metals to give colour and strength, 18-carat gold is the most popular choice of metal when making an engagement ring or jewellery. The tone of 18-carat gold is warmer than 14 or 9ct gold.

Karat, when seen with gold, is the percentage of pure gold contained in the metal of an item.

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Yellow Gold in Jewellery

The Advantages of Yellow Gold

  • Yellow gold is the form of gold least likely to cause sensitivities or allergies in its wearers. It is the most hypoallergenic.
  • Yellow gold for many years has been the precious metal of choice for wedding rings and engagement rings. It is the metal that we associate with beautiful jewellery.
  • Yellow gold complements diamonds that draw colour as it enhances the slightly yellow hue of such diamonds.
  • Yellow gold has the most golden colour of all the forms of gold.
  • Yellow gold is an excellent match for darker and olive skin tones.
  • Yellow gold is the easiest to maintain of all the gold colours. There’s no need to re-plate the metal to retain the desired colour like white gold. The metal will not change colour over time like rose gold.
  • If repairs are needed to yellow gold, they can be carried out efficiently and invisibly.

The Disadvantages of Yellow Gold

  • Yellow gold must be cleaned and polished to keep it looking good.
  • Yellow gold can make diamonds look a little warmer, more yellow. This can be an issue when you have just bought a high colour grade diamond as it might make the lovely white gem look like a somewhat less expensive diamond.