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How to Identify Types of Gold

Gold is an interesting metal. It is a metal as well as an element. It also comes in different forms. There are many types of gold that are distinguishable by their colour and properties. Gold is visible in different forms like gold coins, bars and jewellery. Within these, gold can be differentiated by its purity or carat value. Let us explore the different types of gold and how we can identify them.

The most common distinctions

The most common distinction between gold types is their carat or purity. This can be difficult to simply detect with the naked eye. 24-carat gold is virtually 100% pure, while 9-carat purity is as low as 37.5% purity. In its purest state, the gold will be relatively soft, while it tends to feel harder to the touch when mixed with more alloys. The colour can also vary, with pure gold displaying a distinct yellow-orange.

When mixed more with silver, the white gold effect is present, while red gold contains a higher amount of copper. Assay marks on the gold will display the purity but not all gold will be hallmarked. Other than that, it’s best to take it to a jeweller to safely perform a test and determine if it’s real in the first place!

How to Identify Types of Gold
A purple gold necklace

The concept of carat value comes from 24 parts of gold. So, if the gold is 18 parts pure gold it is considered to be 18 carats. Similarly, if it is 22 parts pure, it is known as 22-carat gold. But, this is only one way to differentiate one type of gold from another. Gold is often available in a variety of colours and this can be another way of distinguishing its types.

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The colours of gold

Different colours can be achieved by introducing other precious metals or base metals into the gold mix. Blue gold is a popular type of gold that is created by adding indium or gallium. These are rare metals that create a bluish hue to the gold when added. Another colour of gold is green. Green gold is also known as Electrum and can be manufactured through the introduction of silver and copper. Colours of gold like blue and green are often used by jewellers, due to their aesthetic appeal.

How to Identify Types of Gold
Wedding rings made of white gold

Purple and rose gold

Gold is also available in the colour purple and this is done by introducing 79% pure gold and 21% aluminium. Purple gold is also a type of 18-carat gold, also known as amethyst gold. However, purple gold is more brittle than other gold alloys and is unsuitable for the electronics industry. It can, however, be used to decorate gold jewellery.

Rose gold gets its colour from being mixed with copper. There are different types of rose gold. 18-carat red gold is created by mixing 75% gold with 25% copper. But, another type of 18 carats rose gold contains 75% gold with 22.25% copper and 2.75% silver. Also, included in the 18-carat category is pink gold. Pink gold contains 75% gold with 20% copper, while the amount of silver in the mix is increased to 5%. The last category, which is also the cheapest is 12-carat red gold, where the gold is only 50% and the rest is copper.

White and yellow gold

White gold has gained popularity over the years and the hardness of the mix is achieved by introducing Palladium, which is another precious metal. However, in some cases, silver may also be added along with Palladium and nickel. A popular formulation of white gold contains 90% gold with 10% nickel. Many jewellers also plate the white gold with a coating of rhodium, which gives its steely look and shine. The industry typically uses Palladium and nickel as bleaching agents to change the colour of gold to white.

Yellow gold is a derivative of the normal colour of gold. 18-carat yellow gold is created with 75% gold, 12.5% copper and 12.5% silver. However, it darker shade of yellow can be achieved by increasing the percentage of copper. Here, the proportions change to 75% gold, 15% copper and 10% silver.

Call our experts to know everything about the types of gold

Physical Gold is one of the U.K.’s most reputed gold dealers. Our team of experts can help you decide which type of gold to buy and advise you on the best way to make gold investments. Call us today on (020) 7060 9992, alternatively, drop us an email by visiting our website.

 

Image Credits: Farrukh and hiephoang

 

By Daniel Fisher

Daniel Fisher formed physical Gold in 2008, after working in the financial industry for 20 years. He spent much of that time working within the new issue fixed income business at a top tier US bank. In this role, he traded a large book of fixed income securities, raised capital for some of the largest government, financial, and corporate institutions in the world and advised the leading global institutional investors. Daniel is CeFA registered and is a member of the Institute of Financial Planning.

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