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Rose Gold vs Yellow Gold: What’s the Difference?

by Haley Anhut
Last updated on August 21, 2023

Rose gold is having a moment and, quite frankly, we’re here for it. From smartphones to smartwatches and even makeup palettes, it seems like everyone everywhere is loving this gorgeous shade of pink.

Rose gold is so popular that almost every Clean Origin product is available in rose gold. But, with new trends inevitably comes new questions. So, we’re here to break down some of the most frequently asked questions about rose gold vs yellow gold and white gold.

What is Rose Gold?

Rose gold is not pure gold. Instead, it is an alloy or a mixture of yellow gold and other metals. Rose gold is made of yellow gold and copper. The copper gives it the famous pink hue that looks good with all skin tones.

The lovely pink gold is becoming the go-to for engagement rings and even men’s wedding bands. You can now shop for rose gold engagement rings online and in major jewelry stores.

It is believed that rose gold first made its debut during the 19th century in Russia when jeweler Carl Faberge incorporated rose gold in his Faberge Eggs. This is why rose gold is sometimes known as Russian gold. Since then, rose gold has only grown in popularity.

Why is Rose Gold Pink?

Rose gold gets its pink tint from a mixture of pure gold and copper and silver alloys. The rust-colored copper gives the gold a unique pink tint. The specific amount of copper in the gold will determine how pink it is. More is not always better, as you want rose gold to still have a shiny luster that gold is known for.

Rose Gold vs Yellow Gold

Gold, in its purest form, is the color you likely think of when you think about blocks of gold. Yellow gold has a yellow/bronze-ish tint. Yellow gold is often created by adding sterling silver, copper, and zinc to gold.

The only difference between rose gold vs yellow gold is the metal mixture and what color it is.

Other Types of Gold

White gold was developed to imitate platinum and is usually about 75% gold and 25% nickel and zinc. If it is stamped 18 karat gold, it is 75% gold.

It is important to pay attention to what karat gold your engagement ring or fine jewelry is if you expect that it will hold value. If you invest in 18k rose gold jewelry you will have a family heirloom to pass down through generations, and it will hold its value as it is 75% gold. A 14-karat rose gold engagement ring will still hold a great deal of value and will be studied due to the higher copper content.

Is Rose Gold Really Gold?

Yes! Similar to white gold and yellow gold, rose gold contains a percentage of gold, mixed with other metals to create a harder material to work with (see other metals above).

At Clean Origin, most of our rings are available in 14kt rose gold. This means the gold used is 58.3% pure and the ring will be durable due to the amount of ‘other’ metals included. Buying 14k vs. 18k rose gold will give you a sturdier engagement ring or piece of rose gold jewelry.

Is Rose Gold Durable?

Pure gold is very soft and cannot be used in jewelry for everyday wear like wedding rings. It must include alloy metals suck as copper and silver. Rose gold is always a metal alloy so it is more a durable metal than pure gold.

The durability of gold depends on the karat amount. The higher the karat, the more pure gold is present. However, this also means that it becomes softer. For jewelry, 14 karat gold is stronger than 18 karat gold, yet it is worth a bit less.

All 14K rose gold has the same durability as 14k yellow gold. The type of metal does not matter when comparing precious metals of the same karat number.

Some of the most common metals used to mix with gold are copper, silver, nickel, palladium, and zinc. Depending on what metals are used and the percentage that they are present will result in the three most common colors: white, yellow, and rose gold.

What Is the Significance of Rose Gold?

When it comes to jewelry, any meaning or significance is going to depend heavily on personal experience and preference. Shopping for rings is a deeply personal experience and rose gold could signify the sunset on the day you and your partner met. You may choose rose gold wedding bands to show you are a fun and stylish couple.

That said, the commonly accepted rose gold meaning is that it stands for passion and refinement. Its slightly pinkish hue also lends it an air of femininity, while still retaining enough yellow to be considered gender-neutral.

Can You Wear Rose Gold With Yellow Gold?

This is really a personal preference, but due to the inclusion of copper in rose gold and most yellow gold, the colors do complement each other quite well. In fact, some people love the way they look together so much that they mix and match their wedding band color with their engagement ring color. So, for example, someone might purchase a rose gold engagement ring and add a yellow gold band.

The pinkish tones in rose gold will match well with most outfits and skin tones. Rose gold’s versatility is only beaten out by platinum or white gold. Just take some time to think about which metals will best match your personal style when considering what color jewelry is best for you.

Which Color Is Best for My Skin Tone?

14k Rose Gold Mayfair Ring

Since rose gold has a softness about it, it really looks good with just about every skin tone. This is why the color is having such success in the makeup industry. From highlighters to eye shadows, it’s likely that you’ll find rose gold on every shelf in your local makeup retailer.

Yellow gold, on the other hand, looks best on people with ‘warmer’ skin tones. If you have greenish veins or yellow undertones, then you likely have a warmer skin color.

You also may consider white gold or platinum while shopping for engagement rings and wedding bands. White gold compliments cooler skin tones better than yellow gold.

Is Rose Gold More Expensive?

The price of gold jewelry will depend on how pure the actual gold content in the ring is. As mentioned above, the higher the karat, the purer the gold. So really the price depends on the actual gold content vs. copper and silver or other metals.

So, when it comes to rose gold value (or the value of any color gold, for that matter), the price should only differentiate when the karat increases. At Clean Origin, all 14k white gold, yellow gold, and rose gold is priced the same.

Which Color Is Best for My Ring?

Again, the color of your metal is really going to be a personal preference. Rose gold is definitely a unique choice, as the metal color has only recently become popular in jewelry. Rose gold jewelry is certainly stunning and will get attention.

Yellow gold was actually extremely popular in the 90s and early 2000s. It’s making a comeback, but it is still not quite as popular as white gold. Some find the look of yellow gold to be classic and timeless. alternatively, white gold and platinum are going to be more understated choices.

How Active Are You?

The main thing to consider when choosing between rose gold, yellow gold, platinum, and white gold is the level of activity your ring will experience.

If you are big into gardening, working out, or other hands-on activities, a lower karat (and thus a more durable ring due to the ally metals added) will be a good choice. Platinum is also very durable. If you think you’ll be extremely mindful of removing your ring during these types of activities, and you want a higher percentage of pure gold in your ring, then go with a higher karat.

When in Doubt, Ask for Help

If you’re stuck between rose gold vs yellow gold, give them both a try to see if there is one that you prefer in person. You can bring a trusted friend to help as you try on white gold and rose gold jewelry.

Our diamond experts are always available to help with any questions you might have about metal color or your rose gold lab grown diamond jewelry. You can schedule a virtual appointment to learn more about rose gold jewelry and engagement rings.

Looking for a Rose Gold Engagement Ring?

Elia Ring

14k Rose Gold Elia Ring

The Elia boasts stunning romantic details such as round and marquise shape lab created diamonds delicately arranged on a curving open band, available with the round center stone of your choice.

Surrey Halo Ring

14k Rose Gold Surrey Halo Ring

Rows of diamonds gently tapering in size grace the top and bottom of the round lab created center diamond of your choice in this beautifully unique halo design.

Brooke Solitaire Ring

14k Rose Gold Brooke Solitaire Ring

The Brooke Solitaire is a picture of modern elegance featuring dainty claw prongs, a row of diamonds hidden in the gallery, and an extra slim 1.5 mm band.