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The Myth of Gold – Part 2

Metals give gold the required hardness and color

Bidcollage shows different types of gold from left to right: yellow gold, white gold and rose gold

Gold can be alloyed with other metals, which hardens the material and enables the manufacture of jewelry and watches. A wide range of colored alloys can be obtained providing countless creative possibilities. 

Pure gold is soft and malleable – one gram of gold can be drawn into a thread with a length of 6,000 meters. In its pure form it is thus not suitable for making jewelry or watch cases.he extraction of gold is still nowadays a massive undertaking worldwide, which makes it a particularly precious commodity. The Super Pit gold mine in Western Australia is one of the world’s largest man-made pits measuring 3.5 kilometers in length, 1.5 kilometers in width and over 600 meters in depth. Miners working at the South African Mponeng gold mine go down almost four kilometers below the surface every day – to the deepest workplace on earth.

Close-up view of gold bars placed on top of each other

  

Purity – fine gold and karat specifications

 

Pure gold has a fine gold content of 99.9 percent or 24 karat. At Wempe, we only use gold alloys of 18 karat for our jewelry creations and watch cases. Due to its gold content of 75 percent, it is also referred to as 750 gold. The additional metals such as silver, cadmium and zinc ensure the material’s long durability and high value.

Close-up of gold beads during processing

  

Gold – eternal and everlasting

 

When treated properly, gold loses neither value nor beauty. Scrap gold, refined to a purity of 999,9, is virtually completely pure. No one would be able to measure whether the gold came freshly from a mine, from computer circuit boards, or from an old family treasure.

Gold in all shades and hues

The different hues and degrees of hardness are divided into categories. 1N is very pale and soft. A light-yellow gold variant is referred to as 2N. 3N is the gold used for gold ingots. 4N rose gold and 5N red gold are obtained by the admixture of copper, the only metal that is naturally red. Copper makes gold less malleable and harder.

Picture collage with different shades and shapes of gold: on the left pellets in yellow gold, in the middle white gold bars, on the right rose gold

Yellow gold – the greater its purity, the more yellow its color

Yellow gold is an alloy made of pure gold, copper and silver. In most cases, the ratio of copper to silver is 1:1. The proportion of gold determines the golden color – the higher the gold content, the more intense is the color. In Germany, gold must have a gold content of at least 33 percent (333 gold, 8K) to be allowed to be hallmarked as “yellow gold”.

Close-up of gold pellets during processing placed on a gold piece for further processing

Red gold – the exquisite touch

The reddish hue of red or rose gold is obtained by the admixture of copper. Red gold contains up to 20.5 percent copper, plus 4.5 percent silver. The mixing ratio is individual and not prescribed. If the copper content is too high and exceeds 50 percent, this can result in a discoloration and oxidation of the alloy. Red gold is as valuable and resistant as yellow gold; it is the contents of fine gold that is decisive.

Close-up of gold bars in rose gold

  

Rose gold – the fine sheen

 

Rose gold is the more valuable version. 18k rose gold contains 16 percent copper and nine percent silver or palladium, which reduces the red color of copper and ensures a better resistance of the jewelry items and watch cases.

White gold – a German development

White gold was developed in Pforzheim around 1912 – the admixture of silver, nickel, platinum or palladium reduces the color intensity. A watch case made of white gold is an elegant understatement. White gold jewelry is often coated with rhodium to achieve a platinum-like appearance.

Different blocks of white gold during processes

Perfect gold alloys combining the most beautiful hues and material properties require great expertise. We carefully select the specific alloy and thus gold color when creating our breathtaking jewelry items and exquisite timepieces. Should you wish to receive more information, please come and visit us at one of our branches. We will be glad to provide you with detailed advice.

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