Myths and legends

Which is better, red or yellow gold?

There is something magical about the shine of gold. Since ancient times, its radiance has attracted attention, bewitched, and awakened the desire to possess. It’s just that in ancient times the shine of this metal was exclusively golden, but today there are jewelry on sale in yellow, red and other colors. If you are faced with the task of buying a ring or earrings, then the question arises – which gold is better to choose for decoration – red or yellow? And, in fact, what is the difference between them, other than color? Which one should you prefer? We hope this article will help you make up your mind and not regret your choice.

What is the difference between red gold and yellow gold?

Let’s start with the fact that pure aurum (the chemical element Au) is practically not used in the jewelry industry. Noble metal is too ductile, easily deformed, scratched, bent, broken, and therefore is not suitable for jewelry. Putting on a 998 or 999 ring is like going to a ball in shoes made of children’s plasticine. No, we all remember the fairy tale about the glass slipper, but that’s why it’s a fairy tale. The only niche where gold of 999 purity is used (fineness means the mass of pure metal in the product) is banking: investment coins and bars are produced from pure aurum, which feel great when lying in safes and deposit boxes. For “jewelry,” gold is always “diluted” with a ligature—a complex of metals that adjust the characteristics of the jewelry alloy. They make it stronger, harder, give greater shine, malleability and, among other things, change color. Ligature is a collective name: there is no standard for the percentage of various ingredients in it, and their exact composition will differ for different shades of the gold alloy. But we will consider this point in more detail below. By the way, it is not possible to achieve a pure scarlet or, for example, white color of a gold ring using any kind of ligature – nevertheless, in the products of the most popular samples (585 and 750), most of the jewelry alloy is made up of a sunny yellow component – pure aurum . However, with the help of a ligature, you can give it various bright shades – yellow, red, white, even green, blue and purple. This effect is achieved by manipulating the composition of the ligatures. By the way, colored gold first appeared only in the 19th century, when osmium and platinum group metals were discovered. It was then that enthusiastic jewelers began experimenting with them, keeping their findings in the strictest confidence from their fellow professionals. To summarize: the only difference between red and yellow gold is the composition of the ligature. It does not affect the gold standard, but only its characteristics and tone. And now in detail – as promised.

Red Gold

Fig 2. Adding copper to gold gives it a red tint.

To give gold a soft pinkish tint, copper is added to it. And in quite large quantities – up to 40%. Copper not only colors the alloy, but also gives it malleability. And this, as you understand, opens up the opportunity for jewelers to create the most intricate and filigree jewelry from the red alloy. They successfully take advantage of this opportunity, creating openwork earrings, rings, bracelets, pendants and chains of amazing beauty and grace. At the same time, be sure that all this lace beauty will remain in its original form even after many years. Yes, even if you wear it on your finger, neck or ears every day. By the way, 585 red gold was the only alloy from which jewelry was made in the USSR. In the world for this reason, there is another name for red gold – it is called Russian.

Yellow gold

Fig 3. Natural color of pure gold is yellow

To make the gold alloy yellow, aurum is also “diluted” with alloying elements – copper and silver. It is curious that silver is a rather soft metal, but its alloy with gold acquires outstanding strength, as well as excellent malleability. Earrings, rings, bracelets and necklaces made of yellow gold remain virtually unchanged over the years, are not susceptible to oxidation, and their shine remains as bright as the day they left the jeweler’s workshop.

Which gold is more expensive: red or yellow?

  • Samples. The higher the sample, the greater the content of native yellow metal in the composition and, accordingly, the price.
  • Manufacturing difficulties. A simple, smooth “engagement ring” will cost less than a “lace” ring of more delicate workmanship. Even if this ring weighs less than the “engagement ring”.
  • Inserts made of precious stones. Here the cost is influenced by the stones themselves, their class, rarity, size, cut. A pendant with a large emerald, sapphire, or diamond costs more than the same pendant with a garnet, topaz, or cubic zirconia.
  • Appetites and recognition of the producer. Of course, a ring from a world-famous brand will cost more than the same one, but from a less famous manufacturer.

However, if you have ever looked at jewelry catalogs or stores, you could not help but notice that yellow “jewelry” is rated higher than red. Why is yellow gold more expensive than red?

Firstly, the difference consists of the cost of the gold itself (the higher the purity, the more expensive) and the composition of alloying elements. In red gold, the ligature is copper. In yellow there is silver. Copper is not a noble metal and is inexpensive, unlike silver.

Secondly, the popularity of red gold in the world is generally lower than that of yellow gold. And this also leaves its mark on the price of the products – earrings made of yellow gold will cost more than similar ones made of red.

Which gold jewelry is better to choose: red or regular yellow?

We have figured out the characteristics of each type of gold, as well as the differences and differences in cost. However, if you still have doubts about the choice, consider another aspect – aesthetic. So, yellow or red gold – which is better for you?

To paraphrase the famous phrase, “it is not man who colors gold, but gold who paints man.” Which jewelry should you choose so that it emphasizes your charm, uniqueness, enhances and highlights your most advantageous features?

Yellow gold for a “golden” appearance

If your eyes and hair are warm honey, caramel or coffee tones, feel free to choose bracelets, earrings and rings made of yellow gold. Yellow gold is ideal for bringing out the warmth, soft glow and softness of skin with warm undertones.

Red gold for “winter” girls

Red gold is more suitable for girls of the “winter”, northern type – fair-skinned, with cool-toned hair, light eyes. The pinkish range of jewelry will give your appearance even more elegance, grace and sophistication.

How to find out your skin undertone

Checking your skin undertone is easy. In natural light, it is enough to hold a sheet of white paper to your face and look in the mirror. Which shades are most noticeable? Pink or bluish? This means your skin tone is cool. Golden or olive – warm.


Be sure to pay attention to the inserts, if any. Yellow gold goes well with richly colored garnets and rubies, amethysts and tourmalines. In yellow metal, their radiance becomes brighter, and the tone of colored stones becomes deeper.

The red tone of gold will ideally highlight the soft shine of pearls and amber, enhance the sunny hue of golden topaz, the noble shine of emerald and the depth of sapphire. A red gold setting is good for transparent and white stones: ruby, zircon, opal, moonstone.

Fig 4. Diamond rings in red and yellow gold

Let’s talk about diamond inserts separately. A diamond is an ideal and truly royal stone. It looks great in yellow, pink, or white frames, which means it will suit any appearance perfectly.

If you are looking for matching diamond earrings or rings with inserts of these precious stones, welcome to our store. Maybe you are looking at diamond pendants – for yourself or as a gift? This is also for us.

All diamonds in our collection are obtained directly from the manufacturer and have certificates confirming their authenticity and declared characteristics.

Fig 5. An example of a certificate, expert opinion and protective packaging of a MSU diamond (click to enlarge the image)

Can you wear red and yellow gold together?

What a woman wants is what the Higher Powers want. And modern fashion completely agrees with this statement. If you want to put together and wear an ensemble of yellow and red gold jewelry, don’t deny yourself. The main thing is to follow a simple rule. Here it is: decorations must be in the same style. That is, an elegant chain bracelet made of red gold should not be worn with a massive ring made of yellow. And God forbid you, if it’s only on one hand.

Fig 6. Ring made of combined gold: red, white and yellow

But decorating yourself with a thin yellow chain with an openwork pink pendant is quite comme il faut, as is a mix of rings made of alloys of different shades on one hand. This tandem will look especially good in the company of the third – a combined piece of jewelry made from different types of gold. Today there are many of these on sale, and it won’t be difficult to find something that suits your heart.

And the most important advice. Be guided by your own sense of beauty and style, your taste. In the end, the only person who is a priori obliged to like you is yourself.

Gold jewelry has different shades: from the usual yellow and red, to delicate pink and rich emerald. This is due to the fact that pure gold (aurum) is not used to create jewelry: earrings, bracelets, rings, chains, cufflinks and watches. It is too soft and has low resistance to deformation. One awkward move and the accessory will become scuffed, chipped, deformed or torn. To strengthen gold, it is always mixed with other metals to create alloys.

The most popular shades of gold alloys are red and yellow. How does red gold differ from yellow gold, which one is better and is it possible to combine jewelry from different types of metal with each other? The article will give answers to all these questions.

Why does gold have different shades?

Gold jewelry is always created from an alloy. Other metals are added to gold – they are called alloys. The color of the finished jewelry changes depending on the ratio of ligatures in the composition. You can determine the presence of a particular metal in an alloy, without using special tests and checks, using a shade.

  • Red – copper is added to the alloy, which gives the jewelry a red tint. The more copper in the alloy, the brighter and more saturated the red color. It ranges from pink to dark burgundy, almost copper.
  • Yellow – silver and copper are added to the alloy. Such material can have different depths of tone and shade: from almost white with a metallic sheen to bright yellow.
  • White – White gold indicates the presence of palladium, nickel or platinum in the alloy. When platinum is added, the accessory turns out to have a slightly yellow tint. Palladium imparts a white color and the jewelry becomes similar to silver, only with a bright shine.
  • Green – You may be surprised, but to obtain a green tint, silver is added to the gold alloy. If the jewelry has a bright emerald hue, then cadmium was probably added to the alloy. It is difficult to find jewelry of this shade in Russia. It is sometimes used to create floral designs on earrings, rings and bracelets, but jewelers more often choose enamel coating to add color.
  • Black is an amazingly beautiful and rare metal. To obtain a rich dark color, cobalt is added to the alloy, and then the material is oxidized at high temperatures.

As you can see, the main difference between red gold and yellow gold is the presence of copper in the alloy as the main alloy. It is sometimes present in yellow gold, but in lower concentrations.

In addition to external differences, all gold alloys have not only different compositions, but also strengths. Some are suitable for daily wear and will last for decades without losing their shine and attractiveness. Others may quickly fade or even bend. Let’s compare the two most popular shades of gold – red and yellow.

What are the hallmarks of red and yellow gold?

Gold fineness is the percentage of aurum content in a precious alloy. There are several hallmark systems, but most jewelry in Russia is marked with metric hallmarks.

The highest sample value is 1000. This designation is given to pure metal without impurities. To determine the percentage of gold in other samples, you need to divide the existing figure by 10. For example, in sample 333 there will be only 33,3% of the precious metal.

Samples of red gold

Red gold is presented in five varieties:

  • 333 – not used in Russia. Many jewelers do not even consider such an alloy to be precious, but call it “copper with gold admixture” or “German gold”. This is not strange, because it contains more than 60% ligatures.
  • 354 – contains a large amount of copper and silver, and therefore has a bright copper tint. With regular wear, dark spots quickly appear on the alloy due to oxidation. If the jewelry has small parts, it will be difficult to restore it to its original condition.
  • 583 – “Soviet gold”, which ceased production in 1995. It has a bright red tint, which is popular with antique lovers. Jewelry of 583 standard can still be found in some pawn shops and when purchasing accessories “from hand”.
  • 585 is the most popular alloy. Most mass-produced jewelry is made from it, as well as custom-made accessories. The shade can be from pink to rich copper, depending on the percentage of ligatures. 585 gold has excellent performance characteristics: it does not wear off, does not bend, and is difficult to scratch or deform.
  • 750 is the highest standard of gold from which jewelry is made. It has a pink or light copper tint, since no more than 20% copper is added to the alloy.

Hallmarks of yellow gold

To obtain the desired shade, at least 17% silver is added to the alloy. Therefore, gold with a yellow tone can be 375, 585 or even 750.

Argentum (silver) makes jewelry durable and resistant to negative external influences. They are more difficult to bend or scratch. The most vulnerable of the yellow alloys is 750. It contains 75% gold, and therefore the jewelry can be easily damaged and requires careful care.

Which gold is more expensive: red or yellow?

First of all, the cost of an accessory is influenced by the grade of the alloy from which it is made. Red and yellow gold can have the same percentage of precious metal. Therefore, it is impossible to say which one is more expensive. It all depends on the specific decoration.

The price can be influenced by the brand, as well as the name of the artist. Accessories from the French company Cartier may have a simple design, but they will cost many times more than earrings, rings and bracelets created in mass production.

What stones go with red and yellow gold

Precious and semi-precious stones look elegant on metal of any shade. It all depends on the preferences of the future owner of the jewelry and fashion trends. However, it is possible to distinguish a certain color of stones, which are most often used to inlay metals of different colors.

Red metal is “friends” with:

  • rubies;
  • pomegranate;
  • amber;
  • sapphires;
  • topaz;
  • pearls (natural or artificial).

Yellow gold can be decorated with:

  • emerald;
  • peridot;
  • zircon;
  • cubic zirconia;
  • sapphire;
  • moonstone.

The inlay must be durable. The stones should not wobble or sag when pressed. In this case, jewelry with any stones will last a long time and delight its owner.

Is it possible to combine gold of different colors?

During the Soviet era, it was customary to wear jewelry of the same shade, but today this is not only acceptable, but also encouraged. Many rings, bracelets and earrings, consisting of intertwined metals of different colors, have appeared on the shelves of jewelry stores.

Some companies offer unusual combinations. For example, they decorate chains made of white gold with pendants made of a red alloy and vice versa. Bracelets and watches with different tones will complement the look.

Myths about red gold

The red-hued precious metal has been used by people for centuries. It is not strange that over time, many myths and misconceptions have appeared regarding the alloy and accessories made from it. Let’s look at which of them have a basis, and which are nothing more than a delusion.

Myth No. 1 – “White gold is more expensive than red and yellow, because platinum is added to it.”

Platinum can indeed be present in white gold. However, the content of this metal in the alloy is not high, and therefore it almost affects the final cost of the accessory.

The price of white gold is higher due to rhodium plating, during which rhodium is applied to the surface of the jewelry in a thin layer. It protects it from damage and gives it a bright shine.

Myth No. 2 – “Copper in jewelry can cause allergies.”

Copper itself is safe for people suffering from partial allergic reactions to metals. However, nickel is often added to jewelry along with copper as a ligature. It makes the alloy more durable, but can actually cause redness in areas in contact with the body. If you have an allergic reaction, you should discard the jewelry.

Most manufacturers value their reputation, and therefore choose hypoallergenic ligatures: silver, platinum, titanium and others.

Myth No. 3 – “Red gold is cheap because it contains a lot of copper.”

The cost of a metal is affected not by its color or the added copper alloys, but by the percentage of aurum in the composition. Red gold can have a 354 standard and be really cheap, or it can have a 750 standard – the price of such jewelry will be high.

The myth about the low price of the red metal stems from the fact that yellow gold was rarer in the USSR. Therefore, some thought that its price was different from the usual red one that was widespread in those years.

Myth No. 4 – “Jewelry 750 is the most expensive, which means it is the most durable.”

Despite the high price, 750 sterling silver jewelry is less resistant to damage than 585 sterling metal. This is due to the fact that 750-carat accessories contain 75% pure gold. This is an expensive but soft metal.

If you plan to wear the jewelry every day (for example, a wedding ring), then it is better to opt for 585. The metal will remain in its original form longer and is more difficult to damage: erase, scratch or bend.

Accessories made from 750-karat alloy are best purchased as exquisite decoration for special occasions.

Myth No. 5 – “Red and red gold are the same thing.”

In fact, these are different alloys. The name “chervony” originated in Tsarist Russia and came from the name of the coins – chervonets. To verify their authenticity, coins were often heated, causing the metal to take on a red tint.

The coins were almost pure gold, and to test their originality without heating, traders would lightly bite them. A dent remained on the soft gold, which indicated the absence of impurities.

After such coins went out of use, red gold continued to be called “red gold”. Modern “red” gold is an alloy above 900, while red gold is no more than 750.

How to Clean and Care for Red Gold

Precious jewelry can bring joy for decades, but if it is not properly cared for, it will quickly lose its original appeal. To avoid darkening, scratches, abrasions and deformations, you need to follow a few simple tips.

Store jewelry in a dark, dry place. Accessories should be kept separate from each other to prevent scratches. You can use individual cases or buy a special jewelry box with soft fabric compartments.

To clean accessories from dirt or darkening, it is better not to use mechanical methods. A good option for cleaning is to buy a specialized product at a jewelry store and a felt cloth. All you need to do to give the product its original shine is to dip it in liquid and leave it for a certain time. Then gently polish with a cloth.

If there is no special product in the house, and the decoration needs to be cleaned urgently, soak it in a soda solution (1 tablespoon of soda per half glass of warm water). Afterwards, as in the previous option, wipe the ring, earrings, bracelet or chain with a soft, lint-free cloth.

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