Why is gold different colours?

Why is gold different colours?

Written by on 23 August 2016

Pure gold is 24 carat, it is very malleable as a material in its purest form. For this reason, you don’t often see pure gold jewellery on the high street, we tend to alloy gold with other metals to improve it’s durability and turn it into a wearable metal that can be worn every day. It can also be alloyed with different metals to change it’s colour to become yellow gold, rose gold or white gold.


Sapphire cluster ring

Yellow gold

Yellow gold is described as such because of its yellow colour which is a result of it being alloyed with silver and copper. 9 carat yellow gold is often a lighter yellow colour than 18 carat yellow gold, which is more of a rich and intense yellow due to its higher gold content.

9 carat yellow gold

38% Gold

10% Silver

52% Copper + Zinc

18 carat yellow gold

75% Gold

16% Silver

9% Copper


blue tanzanite cushion

White gold

White gold is described as such because it is white in colour. It is often alloyed heavily with silver or palladium to keep its white colour. 9 carat white gold has a lighter, creamier tone to it. 18 carat white gold has a deeper tone and more of a ‘gun metal’ colour, and is alloyed with palladium which increases its durability.

9 carat white gold

38% Gold

55% Silver

7% Copper + Zinc


18 carat white gold

75% Gold

13% Palladium

12% Silver


flame inspired ruby

‘Rose’ or ‘red’ gold

Rose or red gold is described as such because it is red in colour. It is often alloyed heavily with copper to create this colour. 9 carat rose gold has a more intense pink colour because of the high amount of copper in this alloy. 18 carat rose gold is still red in colour but has more of a yellow undertone because of the high levels of gold in the alloy.

9 carat rose gold

38% Gold

3% Silver

59% Zinc and Copper


18 carat rose gold

75% Gold

8.5% Silver

16.5% Copper


When designing a piece of jewellery you find that some colours of gold can complement a design more than others, and different tastes may prefer one combination over another. For example richly coloured red or green gemstones particularly complement yellow gold. White gold is often popular with blue stones and rose gold looks lovely with diamonds, or blush colours such as peach sapphires, or pink coloured stones. Mixing metals can also create a striking and unique design as all three coloured golds complement each other well.

flame inspired ruby


white gold peach

Browse our mixed metal engagement rings to see the ways in which the individual metal colours can be combined.