I have repaired and restored a great deal of jewelry over the years, and many of the pieces that have stood out for me were vintage jewelry from Europe. They were special partly because of their designs and how well they were made, but mostly because many of those pieces, crafted a hundred plus years ago, had a higher copper content than we typically see today. This type of metal, often described as rose gold, has visual warmth seldom seen in today’s commercial jewelry.
Melting and mixing a combination of fine silver and copper with pure gold creates what we know as yellow gold. Rose gold uses less of the fine silver in the alloy, giving the metal a redder appearance. In experiments with alloying gold, I have eliminated the fine silver completely and added only copper to the pure gold to create the red gold I use in my rings.
Each grade of red gold has a slightly different tone, with the higher karat golds (more pure gold in the alloy) having a richer color. My very favorite these days is 22 karat red gold, which is nearly 90% pure gold and about 10% copper. This metal is luscious and unequaled in color. You can see the richness of color in this unique set of commissioned wedding rings for a couple in Florida pictured above.