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My 14kt yellow gold turned orange, did I get ripped?

Q. I had a ring made a few months age, nightmare! I used the shop because it was supposed to be a reputable one.

I took the several rings pendants and other stuff 14 dwts of gold and misc diamonds. They said my diamonds where bad quality and they couldn't use them but would trade 7 dwts of my gold for better diamonds and use 7 dwts of my gold for my wedding set. I also left a 1 1/4 carat vvs white princess sapphire.

I was supposed to get back all my stones, except for the white sapphire. It was supposed to take 2 weeks. It took a month, I paid $240 for labor, I did not get my stones back but a little package of tiny diamonds. I know they were not mine because there was no colored stones like I left; and there was princess stones in there which I did not have any of those. They lost my sapphire and replaced it with one that 3 days later had a huge crack in it.

I took the ring back 2 weeks after I got it from them for them to replace it, when I took it out of my safe I notice my gold was orange. They told me it was from my lotion. Just like they said I touched a heating element and broke my stone (I have a propane stove, no heating element!) They keep it for 2 days and said they fixed it, put an even worse stone in it and said they would promise to replace it and gave me a note that says so, but would not warranty my gold. They said it wasn't finished properly, but gave their word it would not do it again, but not on paper.

I picked it up Friday. Sunday morning, Mothers Day, I look down at my ring and it is orange again! So now they are telling me it was something wrong with the gold I brought them. I have asked for my appraisal 5 different times and they tell me they mailed it. Now they want papers on the stone they lost or they don't want to replace it or give me an appraisal. As many problems I am having with everything else, does it sound like with the gold turning orange they may have ripped me off as well on my gold, because I sure do feel like it at this point? I filed with the BBB, and am considering a small claims court. They won't even buy the ring back, I asked them to make me an offer they said they are not interested.

Violet F [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
buyer - Mabank, Texas, USA
May 21, 2008

? Hi, Violet. Good luck with this, and we feel for your hardship, but this was pre-programmed to be an absolute disaster even before you set foot in the door of the store...

You bring in a pile of old stuff, to have it melted into a half-size pile of different stuff for you, with the jeweler to be paid $240 plus half the pile, but not before intermediate trades of your scrap gold for his stones, and your stones for his labor. Nobody can possibly advise whether sapphires were changed or diamonds were changed, or your diamonds were low quality as claimed, or what the karat was of the pile of stuff you brought in, or when the jewel cracked, or when the alloy changed color, or what will appraise for what. I am not even sure what your question is. Are you implying that your new ring is copper rather than gold and they just put a thin plating of gold on the copper? I can well appreciate that you are venting, and why, but I don't even know what are you asking or how anybody could possibly help. Sorry.


Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey
May 21, 2008

Which acid makes the color of gold orange?

Q. Hello
I have a problem with the color of gold pieces, really I want to know which acid can make the color of gold orange?

Shirin Vardak
- Tehran, Iran
November 2, 2016

November 2016

? Hi Shirin. Please introduce yourself and explain your situation. We don't know if you are a buyer unhappy with a ring that turned orange and the seller says it was your fault for exposing it to a bad environment, or you are a plating shop who has made a bad addition to your plating tank and the plating is now coming out orange, or it's not orange enough for you, or whatever. I am lost, sorry.


pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

Q. Dear Ted,
As a matter of fact I am a researcher and work in an institute. I have a client that is a goldsmith and asked me to represent him on a special method to make the color of their 18k gold bracelets orange-ish like Indian ornaments. For the final step they use sulfuric acid that makes their bracelets shiny and more yellow, but it doesn't make them orange. Is there any chemical substance that will give them orange color (like nitric acid)?

Shirin vadak [returning]
- Tehran, Iran
November 11, 2016

18Kt Gold Bracelets Aren't the Same Color

Q. Hello. I have 3 gold bangle bracelets that are 18k yellow gold, all from the same company, bought at a very reputable jewelry store -- one was bought for a Christmas gift, and the other two were bought a few months later. All 3 had to be special ordered due to sizing. They are all from the same collection, but slightly different styles/weights.

My problem is that one of the two that were ordered together has a more orange tint to it than the other two. I want to wear all 3 together, but the one being slightly off-color really bothers me. The jewelry store told me that is normal and just because they're all 18k, the colors can be slightly different. Is that true? Here's a picture, although it's really hard to tell in a photo. Thank you.


Mary Burton
- Bedford, Indiana USA
January 4, 2018

simultaneous replies

A. Mary,
18k gold is not a precise alloy definition, it only means it contains 75% gold. The other 25% can be a number of different things in a number of different proportions, and that is what determines the exact color of the alloy.

Google can find you a number of different pages that describes this, here's just one of them:

ray kremer
Ray Kremer
Stellar Solutions, Inc.
supporting advertiser
McHenry, Illinois
stellar solutions banner
January 4, 2018

A. Yellow karat golds are alloys of gold, copper, and silver. In most, there is also a little zinc added, which I believe is to improve the melting characteristics.

18K gold is 18/24, or, 75% gold. The copper in the 18K alloy usually varies between 5 to 15% and the silver between 10-20%. Different amounts of copper and silver will cause marked differences in the final color. If you were to gather 100 examples of 18K yellow gold items from the marketplace, you might have 100 slightly different colors, even though all contain the same percentage of gold, 75%.

The actual mixture of gold, copper, and silver is sometimes determined by what color the jeweler thinks would look the best for that particular item. Also, as mentioned in the posts above, acids can be used to dissolve away a little of the copper and/or silver on the immediate surface, usually to make the color richer, or more golden looking.

A jeweler's trick. It is hard to see the actual color of polished gold, due to the glare. This glare can be eliminated by placing a Kleenex or other tissue over the item and then putting a drop or two of water on the tissue over the item, so the wet tissue adheres and conforms to the item. This works best if you do 2 or more items, side by side, to compare their colors. Small differences become obvious.

Chris Owen
- Benton, Arkansas, USA
January 5, 2018

thumbs up sign Thank you so much for the information!

Mary Burton [returning]
- Bedford, Indiana USA
January 5, 2018

Q. Hello, I had my wedding band (which was broken in the back) and the mounting on my engagement ring repaired...

The jeweler told me that the mounting was breaking away and that I could lose my diamonds. I am pretty physical, so I'm sure I have hit it a couple of hundred times. It has turned orange around the new mounting. I've been told that this is likely due to low grade solder. The jeweler claims that I had used cleaner that may have caused it. I have worn them for 28 years before the repair. Thanks, Joyce.

Joyce Renteria
- Denton, Texas
March 9, 2018

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