Pink, yellow, green, white.... We all know that when we make chicken soup we use basically
the same main ingredients. However, what makes one‘s chicken soup distinctive from that of another depends on the proportion of the various ingredients. So it is with the color of gold jewelry.
The basic ingredients are usually the same–gold with small amounts of copper, nickel and silver alloy. The exact ratio of these three will determine the color of gold. Pink gold owes its color to its higher proportion of copper alloy. In yellow gold, the ratio of copper and silver are nearly equal. Green gold has more silver alloy than copper and white gold is achieved by “bleaching”. Nickel is generally considered the better whitener. Nickel, however, causes more allergic reactions, so palladium is another whitener frequently used to whiten gold. (In Europe, nickel is banned for use as a whitener for the above reason.)
In my nearly thirty years in the jewelry industry, people have always asked me the question, “What is the difference between 14k and 18k gold?” and “Is 18k too soft to wear?” So for all of you who still wonder, 24k gold is pure gold. 18k, 14k, and 10k all have lesser amounts of pure gold with increasing proportions of silver, nickel and copper alloy. As for the second question, in the ancient world, the Greeks and Romans created magnificent jewelry in 24k gold which is being sold today at the leading auction houses and on Madison Avenue. While soft and easily scratched, such precious objects can still be worn with care.
In France anything less that 18k gold is considered costume jewelry. All fine jewelry of the great jewelry houses like Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels and David Webb is manufactured in 18k gold.
So in my opinion 18k is strong enough to wear and its color is rich and beautiful. (Personally, I own a 24k pin from the Queen of Sheba‘s time which I wear frequently).
Now back to our chicken soup. When one would use real chicken fat one might get platinum, the queen of metals...but that‘s a whole other story. So for those interested it will be under the loupe soon.