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Yellow gold is the most common type of gold used in jewellery, perhaps due to its timeless appeal. For centuries, humans have coveted this precious metal, adorning themselves with bracelets, necklaces, rings and more.

While yellow is the natural colour of gold, yellow gold found in the jewellery you love is not the same as pure gold. Since pure gold is very soft, it is not suitable for jewellery, unless it is mixed with other metals to make it harder. Gold used in jewellery is a combination of several metals, so it’s technically referred to as an alloy.

The yellow gold jewellery you wear has varying degrees of purity depending on how much actual gold it contains, as measured by its carat (ct). The most common carats of jewellery in Australia are 9ct (37.5% pure gold), and 18ct (75% pure gold). The maximum possible number of carats is 24.

The colour of a gold alloy depends on what other metals are included in the mix. Below, you’ll find the most common varieties of coloured gold.