Shopping for an Engagement Ring

What Is A Black Hills Gold Ring?

Black Hills jewelry is known for its pink, green, and gold colors as well as its leaves, vine, and grape designs. It is only made in the Black Hills of South Dakota, hence its name. 


Black Hills jewelry is said to be the invention of a French gold miner and goldsmith named Henri LeBeau. LeBeau moved to the United States in the 1870s when many people were rushing to California and South Dakota in search of gold. The story goes that LeBeau came up with the distinctive design and coloring of Black Hills jewelry when he was dreaming in a haze while nearly starving to death somewhere in the Black Hills of South Dakota. The vine and grape design is reminiscent of the vineyards of LeBeau's homeland. The popularity of Black Hill's jewelry has grown, and in 1980, it was decided that only jewelry created in the Black Hills had the right to the name "Black Hills jewelry." It became the state jewelry of South Dakota in 1988. 


The most popular form of Black Hills jewelry is rings. Traditionally, a Black Hills gold ring features a gold band with intricate green gold leaves and pink gold grapes. The placement and designs are diverse; some rings have a square design, placing leaves around a single cluster of grapes. Other rings feature flowing vines that wrap delicately around the gold band and highlight a precious stone, like a diamond or emerald. Nowadays, variations on the traditional are popular, and some rings feature a pink gold flower, usually a rose, framed by the green gold leaves. Some rings are made of white gold and feature the signature green leaves and pink grapes or flowers. 


Most of the early Black Hills gold was actually mined out of the Black Hills themselves, but now, after mine closures, most of the gold is sourced from elsewhere and brought to the Black Hills to be crafted. The gold band of the ring is forged and shaped first. Then, the details are hand-soldered onto the ring or they might be added to the original cast depending on the manufacturer. The distinctive colors of Black Hills jewelry are made by combining gold with other metals. To get the green for the leaves, silver is added to the gold, creating an alloy with a green cast. To get the pink shade, craftspeople add copper to gold which produces a nice dusty pink alloy. 

Look online to see examples of Black Hill gold rings