Wondering about black gold jewelry?
Perfect in this LearningJewelry.com guide you can expect to learn:
- What is black gold jewelry?
- How much is black gold worth?
- Where can you buy black gold jewelry?
- And much more!
Sometimes blackened using various surface treatment methods.When we think about gold, the picture that comes to mind is the yellow-colored metal. Interestingly, it is supposed to be referred to as ‘yellow gold’.
Most people think engagement rings and wedding rings come in yellow or white gold. If they know about white gold jewelry. Some people still think white gold engagement rings are sterling silver, not real gold.
Gold comes in a variety of colors from white gold to fancy rose gold. There’s a trend that’s slowly bursting out and you may have heard whispers of black gold.
Yes, black gold jewelry is already making its name out there and just like its counterparts, this metal has a lot of interesting features.
In this review, we’ll go straight into what black gold is all about and how exactly scientists came up with this interesting reality. Yes, black gold cannot occur naturally (spoiler alert). Anyways, scroll on as we unravel the nitty-gritty…
What Is Black Gold Jewelry?
Black gold is made from yellow gold and two or more alloys. We call these black metals black gold alloy.
Black gold can also be made my surface-changing methods. It does not occur naturally.
These days, we have a lot of choices in black metals. Alternative metals like tungsten, stainless, ceramic, titanium, etc. Unfortunately, black metals are used mainly for men's wedding bands in the jewelry market.
But black gold is much less common. Black engagement rings in general are pretty scarce in fine jewelry stores. There aren't any other black precious metals.
To understand how they create black gold, we need to look at several processes.
Laser application is a recent discovery and uses the latest technology to create black gold. Scientists discovered by applying high levels of energy to a spot of a metal, microstructures occur and capture nearly all light that falls in it. The result is a pitch-black area.
Well, I’m no geek but that seems like some pretty high-tech application. Unfortunately, this method is intensive and requires high amounts of electricity and a special femtosecond laser, so we’re not expecting to see this unravel in jewelry anytime soon.
Rhodium plating is widely used to create black gold. The metal’s black color is obtained from plating ruthenium or rhodium, which brings out the black finish. A rhodium-plated gold is eye-catching but will wear quicker than other methods.
Creating black gold is the same as how they create white gold. Rhodium makes white gold a white metal, black rhodium turns a gold ring into black gold.
But the rhodium will eventually fade off the base metal. Rhodium isn't scratch resistant, but it is heat resistant.
Read Also: What is rhodium plated jewelry?
Despite its durability issues, rhodium plating is a standardized process and gives dazzling and perfectly finished pieces of jewelry. The problem is, you might have trouble finding a jeweler that replates black gold.
I remember when I worked at Kay's, they had special shops they had to send blue rhodium and black rhodium jewelry pieces too.
We never carried black gold though. My manager said black gold takes way too much maintenance when I asked about it.
In alloys, certain metals are mixed as the base for filled jewelry and with black gold, the ideal ratio is 1 part metal to 3 parts gold. Metals are mainly used to create different colors of gold. Cobalt is mostly used for black gold jewelry.
How Much Is Black Gold Worth?
Black gold is no different from other variations of the precious metal. This is mainly because it is made from yellow gold, and the price depends on how much yellow gold was used. Black gold is a mixture of yellow gold and other black metals.
All gold is valued separately and so are the other alloy metals. So the value of black gold that is 14k will still be cheaper than 18k black gold.
If it’s a black gold engagement ring, or any other black gold jewelry containing embellishments such as diamonds, or other gemstones will affect its price.
The overall value of black gold is technically the same as white gold, depending on the gold karat of it. However, because there isn't a lot of demand for black gold or other dark metals, you might have to take a lower price for this jewelry metal.
Black Gold vs. Other Popular Black Metals
There are a couple of black metals available in the jewelry industry. Let's see how they and black gold compare.
Black Gold vs Black Carbon Fiber
Carbon fiber is extremely durable and one of the sturdiest materials used for wedding bands. While some metals like tungsten shatter or break when dropped, black carbon fiber stays in shape. It is an affordable, scratch resistant jewelry choice as it’s not entirely metal.
Black gold rings (and any other gold rings) present a hazard for those working hard labor jobs. If crushed, black gold can lead to ring avulsion in an accident.
You're also more likely to see black carbon fiber mixed with other alternative metals as an inlay. Metals like titanium, tungsten, and stainless steel rings often have carbon fiber inlays.
Black gold rings aren't very popular, so there's not going to be near as many designs for them as black carbon fiber.
Black Gold vs Black Titanium
Black titanium is a lightweight, but durable metal. Its shiny appearance is almost the same as enamel. Due to its durability, black titanium is not easy to resize. Titanium will also have scuff marks over time.
Black gold is much more expensive than black titanium. It's also heavier than titanium. People who aren't used to wearing rings might prefer a lightweight titanium ring over a black gold one.
Black Gold vs Black Ceramic
Black ceramic is famous for its consistent luster and has a uniform color throughout the ring if it is not surface replated. Black ceramic jewelry is fragile and breaks easily. I wouldn't recommend black ceramic rings for daily wear.
Black gold is a soft metal, but because its alloyed, it good enough to wear every day. Black gold rings can bend or dent when dropped, but that can be fixed. Black ceramic rings usually shatter and are unfixable.
Black Gold vs Black Tungsten
Black tungsten shatters easily and is resistant to tarnishing. Since the metal is hypoallergenic, black tungsten rings are a great jewelry metal, although not ideal for wedding rings (limited resizing options).
Black gold on the other hand can be resized up and down. However, you should try to only resize once or twice, as it will weaken the black gold. That's true with any color gold, not just black gold.
If you like the high polish shiny look, it might be difficult to find with tungsten rings. Many of them have etched designs, satin, or brushed finishes. They also look more industrial than sleek.
As you can see black gold has a slight difference from other black metals, but it's still generally expensive. Since they are hardly resizeable, other black metals might not be ideal options for lasting pieces like wedding bands or engagement rings.
Black Gold Jewelry Explained
Black gold jewelry didn’t get much recognition as white and rose gold did back in the 19th century. In fact, we’re not sure if, at that time, they were discovered yet. This interesting piece of black jewelry can only be understood by a couple of fashionistas. In jewelry, white and rose gold are more popular but black gold’s status is slowly on the rise.
Due to its unpopularity, a black gold ring can be a tough color to have on. If you’re looking to explore black gold jewelry, I’d suggest you start with smaller pieces like black gold pendants and or a nice pair of black gold earrings, which requires minimal maintenance and may last longer.
For black gold rings, consider the choice of stone carefully. Diamonds should be as clear as your budget can allow. It magnifies the stone’s intensity in contrast to the black gold ring.
Colorless diamonds would be best for a striking appearance. Gemstones should have a bold saturated hue but still bright enough not to get hidden in the black metal.
Lab created pink diamonds from Clean Origin with a vivid pink would look beautiful in a black gold setting.
Red rubies look great and add a goth style to the ring. For a classy yet eye-catching look, drop black diamonds, moissanite, or black onyx as side stones. Gems like pearls, topaz, or even turquoise will glow when nestled in black gold rings.
Read also: Where To Buy Black Diamonds
Can’t seem to find black gold? No worries, just take your yellow gold and blacken it! Since black gold is an alloy, you can easily blacken your gold jewelry. On the contrary, you can always turn it back to your desired color whenever you feel tired of the black metal.
How To Replate Black Gold Jewelry?
Now that we know black gold is actually a plated version of yellow gold, there come durability issues like all black plated jewelry. The process of creating black gold plating takes a lot of polishing, cleaning, and some science too!
Before we dive into replating, let’s look at the black rhodium plating process first.
Rhodium Plating Process
First off, black rhodium is also not naturally occurring! It is obtained in the lab from adding a mix of additives which scientists decided not to share at the moment. Essentially, black rhodium is medium grey to darker shades of black.
Unlike most plating processes where jewelry is dipped in an electrolysis solution, rhodium plating involves covering the top part of the base metal rather than combining molecularly. Take it as dyeing your hair. You’re just adding an extra layer of color which may last a while but not permanently.
With that in mind, there comes a time to replate your black piece of jewelry. I’d recommend replating whenever you notice the color of the base metal peeling up beneath the black gold, commonly known as “bleeding.” Replating brings back black gold’s color and you may have to do this after a couple of months or years depending on the depth of rhodium metal.
Although rhodium replating is not as expensive, you should consider the process as an aftercare cost for all black gold jewelry.
Read also: How Long Does Gold Plated Jewelry Last?
How To Clean Black Gold Jewelry?
You need to take good care of black gold, as it is delicate and not as sturdy as a piece of black metal jewelry. Since we’d expect the jewelry to wear off over time, we can prolong its lifetime by following certain cleaning processes.
But before we jump right into it, I’d like to share a couple of tips to keep your black gold jewelry as good as new.
- Avoid directly exposing your black gold jewelry to make-up, perfume, or hairspray
- Remove your black gold jewelry while preparing acidic foods
- Avoid wearing black gold jewelry while swimming in chlorinated or saltwater pools
- Excess sweating may corrode the rhodium and you might want to avoid wearing black gold during exercises
- Store your black gold jewelry in a separate encasement to prevent damage from other jewelry items
Now that you’re a step ahead of preserving your black gold jewelry, it’s time to see how you can keep it clean and shiny:
To remove body oils or other solutions, use a damp cotton ball, or a jewelry cloth once you feel your jewelry was exposed. If your piece of black jewelry feels sticky, try to clean with warm soapy water. Just mix one cup of warm water and two drops of dishwashing liquid. Place your black jewelry into the bowl and soak for about 10 minutes and clean dry piece by piece.
Remember, you can only clean black gold jewelry that doesn’t have embellishments like pearl and other gemstones. If your jewelry has center stones, use a cotton ball soaked in the liquid and rub gently as you wipe it clean.
For any jewelry design that is carved or engraved (e.g gold engagement rings ), never use sharp objects to remove soil or other dirt. Just use a smaller cotton swab to do away with the dirt. Sharp objects can potentially damage the outer black rhodium layer.
Where Can You Buy Black Gold Jewelry?
Black gold jewelry is still breaking in the jewelry market and not as popular as other ‘colored’ gold jewelry. However, the metal is getting some space in jewelry stores across the United States and beyond. Because of its rising popularity, black gold is turning into wedding and engagement favorites. It's a very unique piece to have in your jewelry collection.
Unfortunately, finding black gold jewelry locally is difficult. It would cost jewelry stores a lot to keep replating a black gold engagement ring. There's not a huge demand for a ring with a dark metal. Local stores only keep the popular engagement ring styles in stock.
They are available in select mom and pop jewelry stores, but you can get hold of a variety through online searches. Since you're more like to find a black gold wedding ring online, it goes without saying that there are scammers out there and you should be careful.
Make sure your black gold engagement rings have real gold underneath the black plating. Many black gold engagement rings are plated over a cheaper metal, or sterling silver. You'll want real gold throughout for black gold jewelry you plan to wear everyday.
Always check reputable sellers with warranties, free maintenance, and reasonable return policies. Again, anything too good is also a possible red flag. Routinely ask questions throughout your search, check customer reviews (verified if possible), ask more from sellers and demand things like certificates or appraisals. These are the ultimate markers of high quality. Though these steps may sound obvious, they really help!