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Pink Gold

Pink gold is an alloy of gold, copper and silver, and is popular for jewellery. Pure gold is extremely malleable and impractical for most purposes. To strengthen the metal, manufacturers such as jewellers, generally mix or alloy pure gold with harder metals.

Most items described as gold are then, strictly speaking, not gold but a gold alloy. The choice and quantity of metal alloyed with gold gives it distinctive physical properties and colours, and pink gold is one such alloy.

Pink gold is the result of mixing gold with copper and silver. Its copper content gives it a red tint and the silver lightens the overall colour. Red, rose, and pink gold jewellery has long been popular, with rose gold being far more common than pink gold, and slightly darker. Rose gold is also known as Russian gold. Between 1885 and 1917, it was used by Carl Faberge for his famous Faberge Eggs. It was also a favoured metal for Cartier jewellery.

Gold alloy chart showing the various colours of gold alloys.

Yellow gold, grey gold, and green gold alloys also use small amounts of copper. Other gold colours, not using copper, are white gold, green gold, blue gold and purple gold.

Pink and rose gold

Pink and rose gold may often be interchangeable, and could refer to either colour. Rose gold is certainly the more common of the two to be found. The term pink gold is not exact, it can refer to a number of alloys. It is generally accepted however as being in the ratio of 75% gold, 20% copper and 5% silver.

Closely related to – and often confused with – pink gold, are rose and red gold. These are both alloys also containing copper.

Red gold contains the most copper. This can be either 50% or 75%. With just 2.75% silver, rose gold has the same proportion of gold as pink gold but less silver and more copper. This gives it a slightly deeper red tint.

Carat is a measurement of gold purity. It describes the proportion of gold to other metals in units of twenty-four. Pure gold is therefore 24 carat. It is generally accepted that pink and rose gold are 18 carat. Red gold containing 25% copper is also 18 carat. Red gold with 50% copper is 12 carat.

Chart showing the ratios of pink gold and red gold.

Gold in its pure form is a noble metal, meaning it will not rust or tarnish. Copper is a base metal and can tarnish and corrode. By diluting its gold purity, pink gold loses some of its noble properties. If not cared for, it can tarnish or corrode.

The good news is that a simple wash in soapy water and a gentle wipe with a soft cloth is all the care that is required! With age even well cared for pink gold will become slightly darker. Many people find this ageing attractive and antique pink and rose jewellery, common from the 1920s, is now highly sought after.

The value of pink gold

Today, pink and rose gold is enjoying renewed popularity. Genuine rose gold jewellery is very popular. In the technology industries rose gold coloured hardware, popular with female buyers, is literally adding colour and variety to new product lines.

It is important to remember that, as fashionable as it is, pink gold is not pure. BullionByPost buys scrap gold, including pink rose and red gold, at market leading prices based on the pure gold content.

The pure gold content of most items is the major contributor to its value. The higher intrinsic value of 22 carat jewellery should then be balanced against the appearance, greater strength and practicality of 18 carat pink gold.