Black is chic and always on trend. This is why we constantly gravitate to that perfect little black dress, black leather moto jacket, or those go-to, go-with-everything pair of black high heels. In jewelry, black gold is a dramatic choice for individuals who demand an engagement ring that strays far from convention.
Black gold is the lesser known of the toned gold hues, and its rose and white counterparts consistently dominate the style scene. Rose gold has provided the blushing backdrop for everything from tech gadgets to jewelry, white gold has remained the ever-popular dupe for platinum, and, yet, black gold hides in the shadows. But this dark darling is ready to bust out from behind the shadowy curtain.
But what is black gold? And how do jewelers conjure up such black magic?
The Secret Behind Black Gold
Unlike white and rose gold, black gold is not the result of mixing metals. Warm yellow gold serves as the base of the black gold, but, according to the World Gold Council, the color of black gold comes from cobalt oxide. The cobalt oxide is heated on the surface of the gold, blacking out the gold with the shadowy depth that defines this dark metal. Jewelers also may use electroplating or laser treatment to darken the gold. Electroplating involves adding a layer of a dark metal like rhodium to the yellow gold; however, laser treatments rely on energy to create the dark color.
Each method for creating black gold has its advantages and disadvantages. Any plating methods will wear down over time, so the underlying yellow gold will begin to peek out from the setting. Laser treatments, according to The Jewelry Shopping Guide, are more expensive. Most buyers will typically choose a cobalt oxide coating that utilizes a heat treatment to cover the gold. For budget shoppers, plated black gold is the cheapest option. High-fend shoppers may choose laser treated black gold, which may offer the best color payoff.
Measuring The Value of Black Gold
Like all forms of gold, black gold is also labeled for its purity—or karats. Black gold will traditionally be labeled as 10 karat, 14 karat or 18 karat gold. For any fine jewelry—especially an engagement ring—choose either 14 or 18 karat gold. A karat designation below 14 means that the metal is less than 50 percent pure gold.
Designing Your Own Custom Black Gold Engagement Ring
Ready to make your own custom black gold engagement ring? No matter how the blackened hue is created, a black gold backdrop for an engagement ring creates a stunning setting for showcasing clear white diamonds and colorful gemstones. The beauty of black gold lies in its darkness, and the details of the ring should complement the dramatic night-inspired hue. Diamonds nestled in the metal should be close to colorless as the budget allows; any warmth within the diamond will be magnified by the intensity of the black gold.
Gemstones set within black gold should be bold in hue and bright enough to not remain hidden in the metal. Red rubies pop against the darkness and create a goth style for the ring. Pearls, turquoise, sapphires, pink diamonds, emeralds and even topaz or citrine also pop against black gold. For a streamlined and seamless design, drop black diamonds into the metal. You could also accentuate a white diamond with a black diamond halo.
Although yellow, rose and white gold dominate the engagement ring market, black gold offers a sleek and unique option for buyers who want a dark and eye-catching statement for their ring. Different processes may be used to create this metal, and each process affects the price point for the ring. No matter how the blackened hue is achieved, though, be sure to accent your ring with colorless diamonds, brightly hued gemstones or streamline your design with a seamless line of black diamonds.