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Have you ever gone to buy gold jewelry? If you have, you know the jeweler shows you gold by color, karat, and plating. But do you know what all these things mean? It is pertinent that you know the difference between the various types of gold available in the market.

The Different Types of Gold Colors

Jewelry is not made of pure gold, but a combination of various metals. Gold can be a mixture of copper, silver, nickel, and palladium. This creates different gold colors with the most common being white, yellow, rose, and green.

Yellow Gold

Yellow Gold Wedding Band

To create yellow gold, jewelers combine pure gold with copper, silver, and zinc. It is the purest color, requires minimal maintenance in comparison to others, and is the most hypoallergenic out of all of them.

White Gold

White Gold Engagement Ring

To create white gold, jewelers add gold and platinum together. They also create white gold by combing gold, nickel, platinum, and zinc. In comparison to other types of gold, it is more durable, scratch-resistant, and affordable than platinum and yellow gold.

Rose Gold

Rose Gold Wedding Rings

Jewelers combine gold with silver and copper to make rose gold or pink gold.

Rose gold is more affordable than other gold colors because jewelers create it using inexpensive copper for its rose hue.

Since it contains more copper, it is more durable than white gold and yellow gold.

Green Gold

Green Gold Ring

For green gold, jewelers mix gold with silver and very rarely with copper. The presence of silver gives the gold alloy its green color.

Out of these gold colors, the gold color that is high in demand is yellow gold.

However, when the prices of gold soared, people started to favor white gold more.

For this reason, white gold has become a popular choice among people for the past 30 years. You will find it in engagement and wedding rings.

The Different Types of Gold Karats

When you buy gold jewelry, you look at the “K” sign, indicating the karat amount. The karat sign indicates the amount of gold found in the jewelry. Next, look at the manufacturer’s trademark found near the karat sign.

The manufacturer’s trademark guarantees that the karat sign is authentic. You will not find 24k gold jewelry, which means that it is 100% pure gold because pure gold is soft and can be easily scratched, bent, and damaged.

Therefore, you need to mix pure gold with other metals to increase its durability and lifespan. If you reside in the United States, you will come across 14k gold. This is because it is the most common type of gold used to create jewelry in the United States.

If the gold is under 10k, jewelers cannot label it as gold or sell it as gold. Here are the properties of the various gold karats:

  • 24k gold karat is 100% gold and is prone to damage.
  • 18K gold karat is 75% gold and is perfect for creating jewelry.
  • 14k gold karat is 58.5% gold and is perfect for use in jewelry.
  • 10k gold karat is 41.7% gold and is affordable for jewelry making.

The Different Types of Gold Plating Options

You also need to look at the type of gold plating the gold has before you purchase it. Check the quality stamp on the metal to determine the type of gold coating. If it does not have a quality stamp, you will not know the type of gold plating the jewelry you intend to buy has. Here are the different types of gold plating options you will find on gold jewelry:


There is no federal standard for gold-layered plating option. This means the jewelry has a very thin layer of gold on it.

Gold Leaf

Gold leaf, hammered by hand, is a very thin layer of gold, which has been glided or wrapped around the metal. You will find the gold leaf plating option on 22k or 24k gold jewelry. Jewelers use very thin gold layers or sheets to embellish jewelry and even art work. You can recognize that the jewelry has received a gold leaf plating by the foil’s irregularities.

Gold Plated or Gold Electroplated

Gold plated or gold electroplate jewelry means that it has an extremely thin layer of gold placed on the metal’s surface. They can create the base metal using brass dipped into gold or stainless steel. Gold plating gives the jewelry the appearance of gold. They need to make the gold 7 millionths inch thick and the gold used needs to be 10k or more. The gold layer can wear off with time due to how thin it is. The metal needs to have a stamp that indicates the quality of the gold plating. The stamps are GP and GEP, also written as G.P and G.E.P.

Gold Overlay

Gold overlay jewelry has a thick coating of gold and is more durable than other types of gold coating. The content of gold needs to be 10k or more, but is can be less than 1/20 of the gold’s total weight. For the base metal, they can use copper, stainless steel, or brass. It also goes by the name of rolled gold plated. Jewelers can indicate this using a stamp. The stamps are GO and RGP, also written as G.O. and R.G.P.

Gold Filled

Gold-filled jewelry does not mean that it has a gold filling. For the base metals, jewelers use copper or brass and cover them up with sheets gold. They use the bonding process, consisting of heat and pressure, to combine the metals together. They need to use 10k or more gold. People with sensitive skin should choose this plating option. The stamps to indicate its plating quality include GF or G.F.


Vermeil is gold plating sterling silver. To create vermeil gold jewelry, jewelers use a thick gold layer and sterling silver for the base metal. If you have a skin allergy, this is a good choice. It is not marked, but can be marked with a 925 or 92.5% stamp, which means it is 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% alloyed metals.

When you go shopping for gold jewelry, you will be able to make an informed decision because you know more about the different types of gold found at a jewelry store.


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