The three main commercial gold colours are yellow gold, white gold and rose gold.
The typical carat options available commercially are 9, 14, 18 and 22 carat gold.
The carat denotes the amount of pure gold in the piece of jewellery. For example:
22k is 91.6% gold
18k is 75% gold
14k is 58.3% gold
9k is 37.5% gold
The balance are different metals that, through their properties provide certain characteristics.
As a foodie, I like to use a food analogy. There are hundreds if not thousands of different recipes for cakes. Each cake has a taste, texture and a host of other characteristics. And most importantly some taste amazing and others are down right terrible.
The same applies to gold mixes/alloys. Each manufacturer has their own “recipe“ for the properties they would like their gold to have, for example hardness.
In a natural or gold state is 24k gold, which is 'pure' gold. Typical metals that are used as alloys include copper, silver zinc, platinum, Palladium and in mass production depending on the market within which it has been sold, Nicolla is also used.
Because it is easy to change the colour of gold, different quantities of the added metals determine the colour of the gold.