Perhaps you have heard of Black Hills Gold, and you may wonder whether this is yet another variation of gold, just like white or red gold. Let’s see what Black Hills Gold is and how it is made.
What Is Black Hills Gold?
Black Hills Gold is a type of gold jewelry that has a distinctive design and is manufactured in the Black Hills area in South Dakota, United States.
A piece of Black Hills gold jewelry is typically handcrafted and is usually made with gold colored in more than one tone.
The Black Hills Area
Black Hills is a mountainous region in western South Dakota.
The hills there were considered sacred by the Native American tribes that inhabited the area.
In the 1870s, during the gold rush, there was an influx of prospectors looking for gold.
Many of them set up their camps in and around the biggest local towns: Deadwood, Central City, and Lead. Around that time, Hill City and Custer City were established in the southern part of the Black Hills.
History of Black Hills Gold
It is said that Black Hills Gold was first made in the 1870s by Henry LeBeau, a French goldsmith, who claimed that the idea for the jewelry design had occurred to him in a dream after he had passed out from starvation and thirst.
Other sources claim that Black Hills gold jewelry was created by S.T. Butler, a local goldsmith who lived in the area in the 1860s.
In 1919, Butler’s grandson, F.L. Thorpe, started a company manufacturing Black Hills gold jewelry in the city of Deadwood.
Today, there are many jewelers in the area making Black Hills gold jewelry.
In fact, for a piece of jewelry to be sold as Black Hills Gold, it must be made in the Black Hills area.
Black Hills Gold Jewelry Design
It should be noted that the term Black Hills Gold does not denote a particular type of gold (unlike the terms “white gold” and “yellow gold”).
The name is actually used to refer to the unique design of the jewelry.
The characteristic design of Black Hills gold jewelry features elements such as grapes, leaves, and vines.
The pieces themselves are usually made with gold colored in three main hues: pink, green, and yellow.
The pink gold used in Black Hills jewelry is made by mixing pure yellow gold with copper, whose concentration in the alloy determines how intense the pink color will be.
The green gold used to create the grape leaves and stems is made by adding silver and pure gold together.
Usually, the different elements of Black Hills gold jewelry, i.e., the leaves, grapes, and stems, are first manufactured separately and then soldered together onto a common base.