As mentioned in some of my previous articles, gold per se is soft so you need alloys to make it hard. Metal alloys boost the hardness of gold and it can also modify some of its features such as value, color, and resistance to tarnish. Zinc, copper, and nickel are some of the most popular alloys used in making gold jewelry.
Individuals who have allergies to metal should in any way avoid low-karat gold jewelry because the high amounts of nickel in these jewelry pieces can activate skin reactions. Jewelry items that are 18k or higher are safe for those with sensitive skin. Below shows a list of some of the metal alloys used in gold as well as their corresponding attributions in making gold jewelry.
o Copper – copper is commonly used as a metal alloy of gold because of its softness. If other metal alloys are incorporated to gold to enhance its hardness, jewelry manufacturers often add copper into the mix to make it easier to bend and shape the materials to become jewelry. Copper, when mixed with gold, can create rose gold and red gold. When a piece of jewelry has a high amount of copper like twenty-five percent or even more then it warrants extensive care to prevent tarnish and patina from building up.
o Nickel – nickel is known for its strength and toughness, which is why nickel is regularly added to create white gold. Nickel can also be found in plated gold jewelry to reduce production expense.
o Zinc – Zinc like copper is added to jewelry to harden it and for increased durability. Most of the time, less than fifteen percent of the piece is composed of zinc. Zinc metal is also considered as a secondary bleaching agent in several colored gold jewelry in order to offset the alloyed copper. Continue reading