What Are the Different Types of Gold?

Gold has been valuable for thousands of years thanks to its rarity and appearance, but did you know that there are multiple types of gold? Gold's quality is measured in karats and there is a big range in quality between the highest and lowest karat of gold.

There are different types of gold when it comes to appearance too. In this guide, we're going to take a look at the different gold types and fill you in on the value of different kinds of this valuable metal.

Are you ready to learn more? Then read on!

Different Colors of Gold

When we say gold, a color immediately comes to mind, doesn't it? You imagine gold bars like you might see in a bank vault, molded from rich, yellow gold. Yet there are a few different colors of gold!

Let's take a closer look at the most popular ones.

Yellow Gold

Yellow gold is the kind of gold that you find in nature. Were you to head out to mine your own gold, you'd be digging up nuggets of this stuff. It's the purest form of gold and doesn't have to be alloyed with any other metals to create its color.

White Gold

Another popular type of gold is white gold. You may have seen it in wedding rings or other jewelry. To make white gold, jewelers will take gold and alloy it with palladium or nickel.

White gold looks a lot more like silver than yellow gold, but it has some unique characteristics that you may find appealing.

Rose Gold

A popular choice for jewelry, watches, and more, rose gold has a pink tinge that makes it closer to champagne than yellow. Jewelers make rose gold from a mixture of gold and copper, which lends this metal its unique color.

As with white gold and the other alloys on this list, there's no way to get “pure” gold other than with yellow gold. All other types are an alloy of gold and another metal.


Electrum, also known as green gold, is an alloy of gold and silver. It can also contain other metals and it has a slightly green color. Electrum jewelry is rare, especially as it can sometimes contain cadmium which has negative effects on people's health.

Black Gold

The polar opposite of white gold, black gold doesn't only refer to oil. It's made by mixing gold and cobalt and has a startling appearance. If you're interested in unique jewelry, metals don't come much more unique than black gold.

Gold Grading: Karats

While there are many different gold types, there's only one way to grade gold: with karats. Karats are a unit that measures the gold's fineness. There are a lot of different gold grades too.

If you were to go to a gold exchange, like the one at this URL: https://crowngoldexchange.com/stop-searching-for-gold-exchange-near-me-visit-crown-gold-exchange-today/, they would judge your gold based on its fineness. It's the most important factor when it comes to judging gold's value.

Yet what is a karat, anyway? 

Karats Explained

A karat is a measure of purity: it measures 1/24th of the gold's purity. So, to put it in simple terms, a gold alloy that is 12 parts gold and 12 parts copper will be 12 karat. Pure gold is 24 karat and is the most valuable kind of gold.

The gold karat has its roots in carat, as used to measure the fineness of gems, but it's evolved into a different system. Gold was once measured against a coin called a mark, that weighed 24 karats, or the same weight as a 24 coral seeds.

Hard alloys were used to make marks, which were then used as a comparison for other samples of gold.

Why 24 Karat Jewelry Is Rare

You might find yourself wondering why you don't see 24 karat jewelry. When you buy a gold ring or necklace, it will almost always be 14 or 18 karat instead. 

There are a few different reasons for this but one of the biggest reasons is due to gold's malleability. Gold is a very soft metal, and would not be very durable in everyday life. Your jewelry could easily bend, break, or get scratched, which would not result in happy customers.

As a result, most jewelers use alloys, as these have a much better chance of surviving the ups and downs of everyday life.

The lowest karat of gold that you'll find will depend on where in the world you are. In Europe, 8 karat is the minimum accepted standard, while in the USA, it's 10 karat.

The finest jewelry that you'll find in most shops will be 18 karat gold. This is 18/24 parts gold, or around 75 percent gold, 25 percent other metals. This high ratio of gold means that it is beautiful but still sturdier than pure gold: it is still not hardwearing, however.

If you are interested in more hardwearing but still very valuable gold, you should look at 14 karat. These alloys are over 58 percent gold, which means that, while it still looks incredible, it will be a lot more hardwearing. For yellow gold, the jeweler will often use an alloy made of gold and nickel or zinc.

For the very toughest jewelry, you will want to buy 8 or 10 karat jewelry, which is made of less than 50 percent gold. While it is less valuable, it will still have a nice luster and will be harder to scratch.

The Different Types of Gold Matter

It's easy to think that understanding the different types of gold is academic but if you want to sell your gold or invest in jewelry, you need to know these facts. They affect gold value like nothing else.

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