Gold is attractive and everyone wants to own at least one piece of gold jewellery. Gold jewellery can be traced back into history. It has been popular since then and has always been in trend. Though the jewellery designs may have changed with the changing times, gold never went out of fashion. Gold jewellery has always been admired and loved by everyone. Gold has inspired many artists throughout the ages. The gold jewellery designs that you can see today are mostly inspired from the historical era.
Gold jewellery is made in various ways using different types of metals. These metals help the jewellery to be in a perfect shape and remain strong. With the help of these metals different jewellery designs can be made easily. A jewellery made of pure gold is very fragile and can be broken easily. This inspired many metallurgists and goldsmiths to experiment with other metals. Generally, gold is mixed with different metals to create various jewellery designs that are durable and strong.
Let’s have a look at the different types of metals used in gold jewellery making.
a) Yellow Gold Alloys
As pure gold is very fragile and is easily breakable, it is mixed with some other metal to create an alloy. Gold is mixed with different metals in their molten state based on their strength and colour. The most common type of gold alloy is yellow gold. It mostly consists of metals like zinc and silver. The material which comes out as a final product is generally strong and can be easily taken care of. Yellow gold is very popular because it is comparatively cheaper and greatly resembles real gold.
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b) Coloured Gold Alloys
We usually think that the colour of gold is yellow and when mixed with other alloys it will always retain its colour. But that is not the case. You can get a different range of colours if you vary the amount of metal mixed with gold. White gold contains a huge amount of nickel. If a copper alloy is added to molten gold it gives a nice rose gold colour. Rose gold jewellery designs are very much in trend today.
2.Copper Based Alloys
Brass and bronze both are made up of copper. These base metals are used to create heavy pieces of jewellery. As brass and bronze are low-cost metals the resulting final product is also not very expensive.
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Brass is a reddish alloy that is made up of copper and zinc. Brass is an inexpensive and attractive metal that has a golden tone. It can be easily molded to create jewellery. There are two variations of brass alloys that are used in making jewellery, red brass and yellow brass. Red brass has more copper which gives it a red tone. It contains 15% zinc and 85% copper. Yellow brass contains approximately 33% zinc and 67% copper due to which it has a yellow shade and is brighter and shinier than red brass.
Bronze is an alloy that contains copper and tin. Bronze has a warm, brown tone. It is also brittle. Bronze items are generally made thicker to avoid breaking. Bronze also expands when it freezes from the molten state, so the makers must keep this in mind before mixing it with gold and carving jewellery out of it.
Layered metals are one of the most affordable and the best alternatives to gold alloys. Most of the layered gold material contains gold as a core metal and other metals used in equal quantities. These materials cannot be casted so they are layered.
Two- or three-layers form gold filled jewellery pieces. The core metal is generally brass which is 10% zinc and 90% copper. Heat pressure is applied to connect the gold and the brass alloy. Single clad is used to deposit a single layer of gold on the one side and double clad splits the gold content on both the sides.
Rolled Gold is always confused with gold filled. It is a watch-making material in which thin sheets of gold are fused together with a brass core to make a rolled gold. The content of gold in rolled gold is much lower than in gold filled jewellery and it needs to be almost 1/40 of the gold by weight.
c)Gold Plated or Gold Dipped
Gold plated jewellery has the least amount of gold when compared to rolled gold and gold filled. It has approximately 0.05% of gold that is plated on a base metal which is mostly brass. Gold plated jewellery items have a short lifespan and the gold layer can fade away with the time. However, gold plated jewellery is more popular and in demand as it fits in the budget of the majority and looks good when it is new and fresh.
It was developed in Japan in the 1600s for Samurai sword hilts. It is one of the most popular forms of decorative layering, which creates interesting patterns for decorative use. The literal meaning of ‘Mokume Gane’ is ‘wood grained metals’ and the jewellery that is made from these sheets resemble the same meaning.
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This was all about the types of metals that are used to create gold jewellery designs. Each type metal has its own demand and popularity in the market. You can know more about jewellery designing from our online courses.
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