Skip to main content

What Is Rose Gold, White Gold, And Green Gold Jewelry?

Melvin is an avid reader and a retired chemist after working for a major pharmaceutical company for 32 years.


Gold is one of the three previous metals in the world along with Silver and Platinum. If you remember your high school chemistry, Gold is a chemical element with the symbol Au (Latin: aurum) and an atomic number of 79. The metal occurs as nuggets or grains in rocks. Gold is a soft, shiny and the most malleable and ductile pure metal known. This means gold can be make pretty much into any shape you desire. This is why it is so popular among jewelry makers. The following article will give you some information you need to know before you buy gold.

Pure gold (24K) has a bright yellow color and luster which makes it attractive. Gold is also resistant to tarnish, basically it does not react with air, water or other chemicals such as acids and bases. That is why gold jewelry still looks good after many years of wear and tear. Just look at the wedding ring you wearing, it still looks as good as new, just a little worn down.

The color of gold can be changed slightly or a lot by mixing it with other metals in various amount to make a gold alloy. The only gold that is not an alloy obviously is 24K gold since it pure, the other gold karats are alloys. Lets look at the various alloys of gold in more detail.

Current Price of Gold Per Ounce

  • Gold Price USA
    GOLDPRICE.ORG - The number 1 web site for United States spot gold price charts in ounces, grams and kilos.
Gold in three colors

Gold in three colors

18K Gold, The Next Best Thing to 24K Gold

Gold alloy can be made to contain different levels of gold, but keep in mind that pure gold is too soft to be worn as everyday jewelry. The starting point for wearable gold is 22K, followed by 21K, 20K and then to 18K the most popular among westerners. 18K gold contains 18 parts gold and 6 parts other metal usually copper, silver, zinc or nickel. You probably noticed that the karat number is equal to the number of pure gold parts added to the number of metal parts to get a total of 24 parts, e.g. 18 parts pure gold + 6 parts silver = 18K gold.

Rose Gold

Rose Gold

14K Gold, The Gold For Everyone

14K gold is 14 parts pure gold and 10 parts other metal. In most cases the other metal is copper and silver. 14K gold is more durable and generally appears more shiny compare to 18K gold since it is lighter in color. It is the most common gold alloy in the United States.

Rose Gold

Rose gold, sometime called pink or red gold, is created by increasing the copper-colored alloys mixed with the gold and decreasing the silver-colored alloys. 14K rose gold is slightly pinker in color compared to 14K gold because there is more copper in the alloy compared to the amount of copper in 14K gold alloy. The more copper you add to the alloy the deeper the color becomes approaching rose in color. Rose gold is available in both 14K and 18K.

White Gold, Almost Silver

White gold has a higher level of silver-colored alloys (zinc, silver, nickel) and a little less copper-colored alloy added with the gold compared 14K gold. White gold is nearly white (silver) in color with a very faint yellow tint. White gold is available both in 14K and 18K. The 14K gold has less of a yellow tint compare to the 18K since it has less gold in it.

White Gold

White Gold

Green Gold

Green Gold

Green Gold, Sounds Misleading

Green gold sounds misleading when used in the same sentence with jewelry. Right away you would think the jewelry is no good or very old. 14k green gold is 14 parts pure gold and 10 parts pure silver. Silver is what gives the gold alloy a greenish tint.

12K Gold, Doesn't Sound Like Much Gold

12K gold is half and half. It is 12 parts pure gold and 12 part of another metal or metals.

The following illustration shows the various percentage of the three metals needed to make the different colors of gold alloy. Draw a perpendicular line from each side of the triangle into the  center and where the three lines meet is the color of the alloy.


10K Gold, One Step Above Silver

10K gold is 10 parts pure gold and 14 parts another metal or metals. 10K gold is the lowest karat designation that can still be called gold in the United States.

As you can see there is a piece of gold to fit everyone's taste and wallet. Gold comes in many colors.

Scroll to Continue

© 2009 Melvin Porter


Melvin Porter (author) from New Jersey, USA on June 05, 2018:

Thanks Bloom.

Judaica jewelry from Israel on May 16, 2018:

beautiful article

Melvin Porter (author) from New Jersey, USA on February 18, 2015:

Hi. Tommy, yes there is gold in rose gold jewelry and watfches. The gold is described as rose gold since the color is more to the red than yellow since there is copper mixed with the gold. This creates a shiny reddish alloy. Copper is what gives the alloy the reddish color.

tommy alley on February 17, 2015:

hello am new in the gold business and i have 18k rose gold of cartier wrist watch and i wanna know maybe it real gold or not,please hub i need response asap

Melvin Porter (author) from New Jersey, USA on September 21, 2014:

Zainab, thanks for your comment and for visiting my site.

Musu Bangura from Nation's Capital on September 21, 2014:

Hmm, this is a very interesting hub. I always knew there were different types of gold, but I didn't know how they differentiated from one another.

r. sherman on September 22, 2013:

The Author of this hub is absolutely right on almost every level. If you melt silver next to white gold, the silver will appear far whiter. The point of rhodium plate is to WHITEN the piece. True, white gold did appear before this plating practice but it was still slightly blonde. 20 yrs is really not that long to be thinking you know it all. You can have black hills gold that is 18K in every color aspect. I knew the other writer was a melter very early on and what kind of person melts Victorian jewelry anyway. I will tell you what kind. A caveman that gets angry when he is spoken to intelligently. Also It stands to reason that the more parts silver that you add to the gold such as 417 compared to 585% pure,that it would get whiter. The whitest gold is the one that has the lowest ratio of gold to silver. It is ridiculous to say different. It is the silver that makes it white. Thus 14K white gold will be less white than 10K white gold, which is quite common. Guy,you may have been working in jewelry for 20 years but talking the way you do,there is no way that you are a jeweler unless you just call yourself one. Read a book man

V on March 30, 2012:

Yes most white gold is rhodium plated:

"White gold is usually plated with a thin layer of rhodium, 0.05 to 0.5 micrometers in thickness. The purpose of plating the surface is to add luster to the white gold alloy, as well as to prevent oxidation of some of the metals found in the alloy itself."

But it is in fact white:

"The "natural" color of white gold, after it is alloyed, is a light grey that is slightly yellow."

All that stuff you quoted about pale brown and light rose color is just not true, I've never seen that in 20 years being called white gold. Its white with a very, very light yellow, almost unnoticeable. I've melted the stuff down, its not just yellow gold with a plating, it is WHITE.

Melvin Porter (author) from New Jersey, USA on March 30, 2012:

V, I respect your experience in the jewelry business. This is something I came across after further reading on the subject. This is the following statement as quoted, "The term white gold is used very loosely in the industry to describe karat gold alloys with a whitish hue. Many believe that the color of the rhodium plating, which is seen on many commercial pieces, is actually the color of white gold. The term "white" covers a large spectrum of colors that borders or overlaps pale yellow, tinted brown, and even very pale rose. The jewelry industry often improves these off-white colors by rhodium plating." I just believe most white jewelry is rhodium plated.

V on March 29, 2012:

That is not correct! White gold is WHITE! Here is a quote from a website:

"...At the risk of oversimplification, if the "other metals" are copper or silver the gold remains yellow, whereas if the "other metals" are palladium and/or nickel, they have a "bleaching effect" and you get white gold."

I've been in the business for 20 years, I know what I'm talking about. When I bought scrap gold, I melted down lots of pieces of white gold, and the metal is WHITE. It IS usually rhodium plated, but its still white underneath. It wasn't always plated though, Art Deco pieces from the 20's and 30's are not plated with rhodium, and they are WHITE.

Why don't you do some research on this and get back to me.

Melvin Porter (author) from New Jersey, USA on March 28, 2012:

V, I know white gold is gold alloyed with nickel or palladium. But rhodium is plated on white gold to make it white. White gold is not white that is why it plated with rhodium.

V on March 28, 2012:

No, white gold is NOT gold plated with rhodium, it is alloyed with nickel or palladium and it IS a white metal. That's what it is, its NOT just plated with rhodium. It is almost never seen in 10 karat, only in 14 and 18.

For the thrid time, Black Hills gold is is the cheapest gold that you can buy, it is popular with poor Mexicans. It is NOT more valuable than other types. Like I've said 3 times now, it is MASS PRODUCED, LOW KARAT, AND CHEAPLY MADE. It is NOT very expensive, it is NOT more valuable. Admit that you're wrong

You don't need to give me a lesson in rohdium, I've been in the jewelry business for 20 years. You just googled all that info, don't act like you knew it already.

Melvin Porter (author) from New Jersey, USA on March 28, 2012:

Tricolor gold can be more expensive than white gold if each color of the jewelry has 18 parts gold and 6 parts some other metal. White gold generally comes in 14 karat or 10 karat therefore it has less gold compared to 18K tricolor gold jewelry. What make jewelry little more expensive sometimes is rhodium plating. Black Hills golds is simply gold from the Black Hills of the Dakotas. Black Hills jewelry is popular for it intricate craftsmanship. The craftsmanship is what make them a little more valuable than the typical gold jewelry. Buyers are paying for the artwork in Black Hills jewelry. Note also that not all tricolor jewelry is Black Hills and all Black Hills jewelry is not tricolor.

Melvin Porter (author) from New Jersey, USA on March 28, 2012:

V, white gold is generally jewelry with a rhodium plating on gold but not always. White gold jewelry is not necessarily more valuable than 14K gold because rhodium is used as a plating on jewelry. Rhodium is used often with jewelry with diamonds to enhance the appearance of the diamonds since rhodium has a chrome like appearance. I know rhodium is more expensive than gold but It is too brittle to work with and stresses easily compare to other metal used in jewelry. It is not usually used as an alloy like the other metals in jewelry.

V on March 28, 2012:

You didn't read my comments I see. I know about karatage. I'm trying to teach YOU about it because you think white gold has less gold than Black Hills.

White gold is always more valuable than Black Hills an even yellow gold. You mostly see it in high end or vintage pieces

V on March 28, 2012:

Yes, a few comments down you wrote this: "tricolor is more valuable than white gold because it has more gold than white gold." And its called BLACK HILLS GOLD, not tri-color.

What made you think that?

Melvin Porter (author) from New Jersey, USA on March 28, 2012:

Thanks Chuck. You are right about karat when referred to gold is the purity of gold not weight. For diamonds and other precious stones karat refers to weight or mass of stone.

Chuck Nugent from Tucson, Arizona on March 28, 2012:

While my wife is the jewelry expert (as far as buying and wearing it at least) in our house, I have always wondered what was meant by karat. I had always assumed it somehow referred to the weight or quality of the gold. But now I understand it refers to the portion of the gold in a piece of jewelry.

Thanks to this Hub I will at least understand what sales people are talking about the next time I accompany my wife to the jewelry counter.

I voted this Hub up.

Melvin Porter (author) from New Jersey, USA on March 28, 2012:

V, I did not said tri-color gold is more valuable than 14 Karat gold. Tri-color gold jewelry is basically a piece of jewelry with three colors of gold. There is some gold in each of the three pieces that make up the jewelry. V in the case of gold, a karat is essentially how many parts of gold there are in the total composition of the metal that it is added to, 24K gold is pure gold, that is, it is 24 part gold or 100% gold. 14 karat gold is 14 part gold and 10 part some other metal. The total part is always adds up to 24K or 24 parts.

V on March 27, 2012:

That tricolor gold is called Black Hills gold, and it actually has the LOWEST premium of the colors. It is mass produced, low karat, and cheaply made. You see mostly poor Mexicans wearing it. It is almost always 10 karat and it is quite ugly. So you're dead wrong on that one.

Its weird that you would think tri-color gold is more valuable, 14k tri-color has the same ammount as 14k white gold, 0.583/1.000 parts. Do you even know about karatage? I know that white gold LOOKS like it has less gold in it, but that's just stupid thinking. White gold is usually seen in higher end and vintage pieces actually, and the base metals are usually silver or palladium, making it more valuable that tri-color gold, whose base metals are copper and zinc.

bestseofirm2012 on March 23, 2012:

great info, and definitely beneficial advice... but, there are plenty of people who are out there searching for a good source for information on mining, gold, and precious metal stocks... the best source that i've personally found states that it's free stock alerts, "scour the Mining and Precious Metal universe to find stocks that are on the verge of breaking out or that are undervalued"... check them out at if you happen to be one of those people out there searching for truly profit-gaining results in the mining stock field. :)

Andrew Smith on March 07, 2012:

Thank you for the article. It really helped me understand some important facts about white gold which i never knew.

website -

Melvin Porter (author) from New Jersey, USA on March 02, 2012:

Mike, thanks for reading my hub. I do not believe there is an expression called "metallic gold" since gold is actually a metal itself.

Mike on March 02, 2012:

Is there something called Metallic gold ?

Certified Gold on October 12, 2011:

Loving Green Gold! Thanks for the useful info melpor!!

Keep up the good work!

Melvin Porter (author) from New Jersey, USA on August 09, 2011:

Jig M, tricolor is more valuable than white gold because it has more gold than white gold. White gold has less gold because the other component is silver or some other metal combined with a certain percentage of the gold to make white gold.

Jig M on August 08, 2011:

Thanks melpor. But of the three types of gold, is tri color gold as valuable as white gold? I'm thinking of giving my wife a necklace out of tri color gold..

Melvin Porter (author) from New Jersey, USA on August 08, 2011:

Jig M, yellow gold will be the most valuable since it probably has the most gold percentage wise.

Jig M on August 07, 2011:

Thank you for your insights. It definitely helped me understand gold better. I just wanna know of the three types of gold, namely yellow, white and tri color, which is more valuable?

Melvin Porter (author) from New Jersey, USA on March 14, 2011:

Howardking208, thanks for your comment and for stopping by. I am glad my hub have been helpful for you.

howardking208 from Palm Bay on March 14, 2011:

Your knowladge of gold is very helpful. It explained a lot of things that I have been wondering about. Thank You for sharing. Dr. Howard King

Inventory pos system on January 28, 2011:

I like your article and it really gives an outstanding idea that is very helpful for all the people on web.

nanadakoo on January 07, 2011:

Hi, Am a local gold miner, we mine in our own family concessions

where we are using the local equipment to mine.

please can you get me a buyer?

We have 105 kilo grams of Alluvial gold dust 23 carats, we can get more if need be. I will furnish you with more details as soon as I hear from you.

Waiting to hear from you soonest.



Nana Dakoo.

Melvin Porter (author) from New Jersey, USA on October 20, 2010:

ScientificGear, yes there is green gold. Thanks for your comment. I am glad you picked up some information from my hub.

ScientificGear on October 20, 2010:

Very useful hub on the types of gold. Hmm, so there is a green gold! Voted up & useful. :)

Locket Expert on September 27, 2010:

Very useful Hub, it is not very often you can fined and educational information as posted in here. Thank you very much.

jewelllery channel on August 13, 2010:

the ring displaying three colors of gold looks great...

Melvin Porter (author) from New Jersey, USA on April 16, 2010:

GmaGoldie, your comment is correct. Electroplating is the process of plating a metal over the surface of another metal using the electrical characteristic of the metal. Each metal has a specific voltage potential to gain or loss electrons that is how electroplating works. In the case of gold plating, a thin layer of gold is plated on another metal using electricity. Obviously, the jewelry is cheaper in price since a smaller quantity of pure (24k) gold is used.

Kelly Kline Burnett from Madison, Wisconsin on April 16, 2010:

Great Hub - great graphic. Is electroplate 24K just an overlay? Enjoyed your wording - one step above silver - you kept me on track.

Melvin Porter (author) from New Jersey, USA on January 17, 2010:

Thanks for your comment. I am glad you learned something from it.

kayedsc on January 17, 2010:

Thanks, I enjoyed reading this and I learned something as well.

socit2009 on November 14, 2009:

Links :-

Thanks for efforts and informations

Related Articles