In the 1870s, gold was discovered in the Black Hills of South Dakota. The resulting gold rush brought thousands of people to the area, with famous cities such as Deadwood popping up practically overnight. As prospectors worked to mine as much gold as possible out of the area, a French goldsmith named Henri LeBeau stumbled upon an innovative idea for creating one-of-a-kind gold jewelry.
The designs that he created incorporated natural themes such as leaves, vines, and clusters of grapes. What really set this jewelry apart from other pieces that were currently on the market, however, was the fact that they were made from multiple colors of gold.
Instead of just being made from yellow gold, they also incorporated pink and green gold. The different colors of gold were created by using different alloys. To create the warm, pink gold, he added a copper alloy to 24 carat gold. The green gold was created in a similar fashion, except that he added silver instead of copper to give the gold a greenish color.
All of the different colors of gold were then combined into pieces such as rings and necklaces. The distinctive style of these pieces made them instantly recognizable. Because this style of jewelry was originally created using gold that was mined in the Black Hills, it became known as Black Hills gold jewelry.
Today, this jewelry remains as popular as ever. Although all of the gold in this part of South Dakota has long since dried up, jewelers in the area continued to create pieces in this style using gold that is sourced from elsewhere.
The unique colors and nature-inspired designs of these pieces make them quite versatile. They have a delicate, organic quality that is often lacking in other types of jewelry made from precious metals.
Caring for Black Hills gold is relatively easy. You should avoid wearing it if you are going to be in any situations where it could become scratched or damaged. Gold is a relatively soft metal that can easily be dented or scratched. By taking off your jewelry before performing any type of manual labor, you can minimize the chances of any damage occurring.
You can also keep it clean by periodically scrubbing it with a small brush and a little bit of dish washing liquid. Be sure to use a gentle touch and thoroughly rinse away any dish soap before allowing the piece to dry.
If you have older pieces that are dull and lifeless, you may be able to have them professionally restored. Contact a jeweler in your area who specializes in Black Hills gold to see if they can clean and restore the piece for you. Depending on the extent of the wear or damage, they may be able to restore it back to like-new condition.
Black Hills gold jewelry is truly unique when compared to other types of jewelry. The nature-inspired designs combined with the subtle pink, green, and yellow gold make this style of jewelry easy to identify and incredibly versatile to wear.