Gold Purity, Color, Pricing, and Care

Gold has an extraordinary heritage with unique qualities. As an enduring element found naturally in a distinct yellow color, gold is resistant to rust, tarnish, and corrosion. Although gold is very strong, it's also the most malleable of all precious metals.

Purity

Pure gold is too soft for everyday wear, so it is alloyed with a mixture of metals like silver, copper, nickel, and zinc to give it strength and durability. Karatage, denoted by a number followed by "k" indicates purity, or how much of the metal in a piece of jewelry is gold. Karatage is expressed in 24ths, making 24k gold, 100% gold.

We craft our jewelry using both 18k and 14k gold. 18k gold is composed of 75% gold, which is alloyed with other metals to make it strong enough for everyday wear. 14k gold is composed of 58.3% gold and 41.7% of other metals.

Color

The color of gold is determined by two factors:
  • The type of metal alloys included
  • The percentage of each metal alloy

Yellow Gold
Natural gold and color-saturated alloys are what give yellow gold jewelry its rich shine. The alloys most commonly used, are copper with a red hue, and silver featuring a green hue. An expert mixture of copper, silver and pure gold gives this precious metal its signature warmth.

White Gold
A silvery white character is what makes white gold jewelry so appealing. In order to make the gold white, it is combined with metal alloys that are white in nature and plated with an extremely hard element called rhodium. Although strong, rhodium may wear away over time. Replating is a simple process that can be done to restore whiteness to your jewelry.

White Gold with Black Rhodium
Black rhodium is plated to white gold creating a rich black appearance that is extremely hard and strong. As with traditional white rhodium, black rhodium may wear away over time. Replating is a simple process that Blue Nile offers to restore your jewelry's black finish.

 

For More Information


Gold, element Au, was one of the first known metals. The gold standard defines the world's currency system, whereby money represents a value in gold.
24 karat = 100% gold

Too soft for fine jewelry

22 karat = 91.7% gold

Too soft for fine jewelry

18 karat = 75.0% gold

Ideal for fine jewelry

14 karat = 58.3% gold

Ideal for fine jewelry

10 karat = 41.7% gold

Not acceptable for jewelry

Gold Jewelry

Triple Heart Pendant in 18k Yellow, White, & Rose Gold
Our 18k and 14k gold jewelry is intricately crafted into beautiful pieces for every occasion or style.

Rose Gold
The beautiful pink hue of rose gold jewelry is created by using a copper alloy. Again, the overall percentages of metal alloys is the same for rose gold as it is for yellow or white, there is just a different mixture in what alloys are used.

Vermeil
Rich in golden color, many of our fine jewelry pieces are crafted with vermeil. The industry standard definition of vermeil is sterling silver that is plated with 10k gold with a minimum of 2.5 microns in thickness for longwearing durability. At Blue Nile, we strive to offer a higher quality to our customers. Our vermeil pieces feature 14k to 24k gold.

Pricing

Gold jewelry prices are dependent upon the purity of the gold used or karat weight, the market value of gold, and the level of craftsmanship and design of each jewelry piece.

Care

Since gold is a natural element, it is affected by harsh chemicals such as chlorine or other cleaning products. We recommend that you remove your jewelry when using chemicals to reduce daily abrasions and prolong the luster. To clean gold jewelry, use a solution of warm water and detergent-free soap with a soft-bristled brush. When not worn, store your gold pieces in soft cloth bags or the original box to protect them from the elements of daily exposure.

Shop our yellow, white, and rose gold jewelry collections.