Yellow, White, Red, and Green: Gold Jewelry, Color, and Value

May is the month for gold. Every year in May, some of the biggest jewelers run sales on their gold jewelry and encourage consumers to buy something a little sparkly for their collection.

If you've been shopping around, however, you’ve likely noticed some new trends in gold. Instead of just plain yellow gold, there's a lot of white gold on the market. Plus, more exotic colors are starting to move mainstream, including red gold and green gold.

How do jewelry designers get all these different colors of gold? Does the color affect the value of a piece? Here is what you should know.

How the Color of the Gold Affects the Value of Your Jewelry
The color of your gold jewelry affects its value only in terms of how much you personally like the shade of gold you're buying and wearing. If you're selling your gold jewelry for the value of the gold itself, then the color won't affect the price at all. Gold is valued according to its karat, or true gold content, and weight.

How to Determine the Amount of True Gold in Your Jewelry Pieces
If you examine your jewelry pieces closely, you'll find a small mark in a discreet spot that indicates the number of karats of gold in each piece using a number that usually ranges from 8 to 24 has "K" or "kt" next to it.
Pure gold is 24 karats, but you will rarely see jewelry with that marking because pure gold is simply too soft to make durable jewelry. In the United States, items have to be a minimum of 10 karats pure gold in order to be sold as gold jewelry.

How the Composite Metals Affect the Color of Your Gold
Natural gold is bright yellow—it's the composite metals that change the hue and make it brighter or mellower in tone. In fact, some designers will purposefully use a specific mixture of metals in order to get a yellow hue that's unique and call it something like "honey" or "vanilla," depending on the shade produced.

The alloy metals used in yellow gold are copper and silver, with more copper being used than silver. Red gold has a much higher content of copper than silver in its composite. The copper gives the gold the reddish hue. Green gold, by contrast, has no copper and uses only silver as an alloy.

White gold has long been an alternative to yellow gold and is often worn by people who generally wear a lot of silver or who prefer a cheaper alternative to platinum. White gold is an alloy of yellow gold and at least one white metal, usually nickel, manganese, or palladium.

How a Jeweler Sets a Value on Your Gold
If you have an exceptionally pretty piece or a popular designer's piece, the jeweler may agree to a consignment sale or may offer to purchase the piece for a bit more than its metal value. That's only if the jeweler believes that the piece can be resold, however. The vast majority of jewelry pieces that are sold back to jewelry stores are sold for their karat and weight alone.
Using a jewelry scale, the jeweler will weigh each piece and calculate the value of the gold in it according to the current gold market, which changes daily. On any given day, the price offered for your pieces could change if the value of gold rises or falls in between your visits.

For more information on how jewelry is valued when it is resold, check with companies like Whittier Loan & Jewelry.