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Jewelry

A Guide to Green Gold – All You Need to Know

Guide to green gold

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We all know what gold is, and that it comes in a few different colors. However, green gold is a little-known variation. Gold, in its natural state, is yellow, but it can be manipulated to display various colors.

Green gold is rare, and not a mainstream gold color. However, it makes for intriguing jewelry when crafted well. Here’s a look at what green gold is and whether it’s the right choice for you.

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What Is Green Gold

Green gold rings

Green gold rings by Molto Bello Designs. See them here.

Though gold in its pure form is yellow, its characteristic softness demands that it’s mixed with other metals to strengthen and harden it enough for jewelry making. It’s in the process of alloying that the color of gold is changed.

The metals added to gold result in different colors.

In the case of green gold, the color results from combining gold with silver. It is used to make amazing jewelry that features a soft, intriguing hue of light green. This blends in well with green stones like peridot and emerald or for standalone jewelry like plain wedding bands.

How Green Gold is Made

Green gold band

Green gold ring by Shinium. See it here.

Green gold is a malleable alloy that is a result of silver dissolving in gold. Also known as electrum, it occurs naturally and is more greenish-yellow than green. In fact, the green can be very subtle that an untrained eye may miss it.

Other green gold hues can be created in labs by adding varying amounts of other metals such as cadmium or copper to gold as shown below.

You can also have green gold by plating, where the gold surface is simply coated over by another metal.

Various shades of green gold exist depending on the alloy mixture. The ones below are all 18K:

  • Soft green: gold (75%), Silver (25%)
  • Light green: gold (75%), Copper (23%), Cadmium (2%) or Gold (75.5%), Silver (17.25%), Copper (6.25%), Zinc (1%)
  • Green: (75%) Silver (20%), Copper (5%) or (75%) Silver (20.75%), Copper (3%), Zinc (0.75%) or Gold (75.5%), Silver (18%), Copper (5.5%), Zinc (1%)
  • Deep green: (75%), Silver (15%), Copper (6%), Cadmium (4%) or Gold (75.5%), Silver (18.25%), Copper (6.25%)

The following are combinations for 14K green gold:

  • Quintessential green: Gold (58.5%), Silver (35%), Copper (6.25%), Zinc (0.25%)
  • Blond: Gold (58.5%), Silver (21.75%, Copper (18.7%), Zinc (1.05%)
  • Rich green: Gold (58.5%), Silver (36%, Copper (5.25%), Zinc (0.25%)
  • Light green: Gold (58.5%), Silver (29.25%, Copper (11.25%), Zinc (1%)
  • Yellow green: Gold (58.5%), Silver (12%, Copper (22.25%), Zinc (7.25%)

Pros and Cons of Green Gold

Green gold has both strong points and weaknesses as illustrated below.

Pros of green gold

  • Needless to say, green gold makes for distinct and exquisite jewelry pieces like chains, necklaces, and rings.
  • Being rare, green gold jewelry ornaments stand out and make a statement. This is ideal if you’re going for something non-traditional.
  • There are many shades of green to select from, from light to dark. For a subtle, barely-there look, opt for lighter shades, which give you a classic look with a hint of something exotic.

Cons of green gold

  • Because green gold contains silver, it may tarnish over time and require regular maintenance. This might not work for you if you’re after a low-maintenance piece.
  • Some shades of green gold contain cadmium which may be harmful to those with skin sensitivities as it is toxic. Note that the amounts used in green gold are safe to use, but it’s always a good idea to check prior to purchase.
  • Like all types of gold, green gold also can scratch and damage over time, though this can be polished out.

Green Gold vs. Other Types of Gold

Gold has many colors that are also attractive, but how do they compare to green gold?

Yellow gold

This is the natural color of gold and occurs naturally in its pure form. This variety neither tarnishes nor loses its color but can get scratches if exposed. Yellow gold is the best option for those with skin sensitivities as it is hypoallergenic. Maintaining it is easy since all it requires is regular polishing and cleaning.

Rose gold

Adding copper to gold gives rose gold which has a variety of hues, including pink and red. More copper in the gold causes a redder color while less copper content results in pinker gold. The copper in the alloy makes it durable and affordable. Rose gold also blends well with most skin tones and gem colors.

White gold

To get white gold, platinum, palladium, or nickel is added to gold, after which the alloy is plated with rhodium to make it shiny and reflective. White gold is a popular metal because of its appearance, affordability, and durability.

The metals that make up the alloy are strong and scratch-resistant. If the white gold contains nickel, it may cause allergies to some people. Any plating on it must be replaced as it becomes lackluster after a while.

Grey gold

This is a rarer variety, made from a combination of gold and palladium, though you can get a cheaper version of silver, copper, and manganese with gold.  Using palladium for your grey gold alloy works best for people who are sensitive to metal, as it is hypoallergenic. Grey gold does not require much maintenance and the lustrous nature of both gold and palladium means you don’t have to plate it.

Purple gold

The other names for this alloy are amethyst gold or violet gold and is composed of gold and aluminum. Aluminum in purple gold makes it brittle and therefore not suitable for making jewelry. It’s typically used as a ‘gemstone’, rather than as a metal, and is faceted and shaped into inlays or glamorous gemstones.

Black gold

One of the more popular types of gold, black gold can be produced in several ways such as patination, oxidation, or treatment using potassium sulfide. Black gold incorporates cobalt, though it may contain other metals in very small quantities. These metals include copper, iron, titanium, silver, nickel, or a platinum-group metal. Black gold has a bold color that makes it a show-stopper.

Blue gold

This gold variety is made of gold with iron and nickel, as well as indium or gallium. You can also alloy pure gold with rhodium and ruthenium to receive the color. Similar to purple gold, blue gold may be brittle depending on the metals combined.

Is Green Gold Right for You?

Each of the types of gold alloys have distinct characteristics. As for green gold, it is used for creating rare pieces that are only available in select jewelry stores, which are beautiful yet often costly.

As the demand for the metal is lower, the prices are often high, and the availability is low.

Despite being subtle, green gold becomes more noticeable when matched with yellow, rose, or white gold.

Conclusion

The scarcity of green gold makes it special, unique, and expensive, and the perfect choice if you’re looking for something out of the ordinary. If your budget allows, green gold is a great choice for wedding rings, as well as other types of jewelry.