The type of metal from which the key is made directly determines the list of rewards the player can obtain from the chest. For example, bronze keys will generate low level armour and weapons such as steel and black, silver keys will generate higher value items such as rune, adamant, and rarely mithril armour and weapons. There is a long list of items obtainable from each type of chest, including runes, jewelry, clue scrolls, and melee armour and weapons. The colour of a key will not change the natural drops of a key type, for example, a bronze key purple will still only generate low level armour and items, but has a better chance of generating 'good' low level armour. Gold keys are the exception and do not have colours, coming in only one variety.
The colour of the loop of the key determines the probability of generating each reward from its list. Better key colours have a higher chance of generating better rewards, worse key colours have a lower chance of generating better rewards. However, it is important to note that all keys of the same metal type have the exact same reward list. The only thing that changes across key colours is the probability of obtaining better rewards. For example, a silver key purple has a much better chance of generating a rune scimitar then a silver key red, both keys can generate the exact same items. From lower (worst) chance to higher (best) chance: Red, Brown, Crimson, Black, Purple.
Occasionally, after receiving the reward from the chest within the tombs, players will receive a message that they have found a number of doses of swamp paste in the bottom of the chest. This is random and seems to happen about 50% of the time. Usually players will receive less than 25 paste, more often in the range of 7-10 paste.
Ring of WealthEdit
After the update on 15 March 2011, the ring of wealth now has an effect on the rewards gained by using a shade key. Currently this activity suffers from the same glitch that causes the ring to "shine more brightly" every time a slayer monster is killed.
Shade Key ChartEdit
Use the chart to find the exact sort of key you wish to learn about. The more down and right you go in the table, the better the key, though the gold one is the best. Press the key to go to that page: