Step aside, diamonds, because rose gold is a girl’s new best friend! And rose gold coupled with diamonds? Now that’s a forever combination. If you’re anything like us, then rose gold has demanded your attention in the last few years. While jewelry stores are heavily lined with gorgeous sparkling rose gold pieces, it wasn’t the case just ten years ago when white gold and silver took center stage. Truth is, despite rose gold’s vibrant history, it has experienced its fair share of dry spells in terms of popularity.
It’s no surprise that rose gold is back in style, and we’re currently experiencing a relatively equitable market for rose gold, yellow gold and white gold. Still, there’s no denying that when it comes to jewelry shopping, rose gold is on your radar. Rightfully so, it is pink after all! Who doesn’t love pink? Even if your jewelry dreams aren’t rose colored, this attractive hue looks flattering on most skin tones.
Get ready to see the world through rose-tinted glasses because we’re about to discuss everything you need to know about rose gold. What is rose gold? Is rose gold a fad? Why is rose gold so popular?
From rose gold engagement rings to a chilled glass of rosé, everyone seems to have their sights set on this warm and romantic hue! Let’s peel the petals off this rosebud and get straight to the facts: here’s everything you need to know about buying rose gold jewelry.
Our first order of business is to explain what rose gold is. While this coppery shade has several names: rose gold, pink gold, red gold, it’s actually a combination of metals that give it its signature hue. Because rose gold does not occur naturally, it is mixed with alloyed metals comprised of yellow gold, copper and silver. The alloy is what strengthens rose gold and transforms it into a romantic shade of pink.
To create a more durable, long-lasting and rosey colored metal, gold needs to blend with harder materials. The alloy mixture is precicely what creates that feminine color we know and love. A dash of silver and copper delicately dim the bright yellow tone of natural gold, creating a gorgeous shade of pink that’s become an enticing flavor of jewelry we all want to get our hands on.
Is it red? Is it pink? Is it copper? The hue of rose gold varies depending on how much pure gold and copper it has. However, rose gold is generally regarded as pink, or rose colored. Why does rose gold work so well with jewelry? No matter what accessory you add to your collection, there’s no disputing that rose gold jewelry casts a delicate glow and femininity on your skin. Rose gold can thank copper for its dusty pink sheen, as well as its durability.
Think rose gold is a new trend? Think again. Rose gold has actually been around for centuries but it wasn’t always called rose gold. Thanks to its debut in Imperial Russia in the 1800s, rose gold was initially called “Russian Gold.”
Despite its popularity in the 19th century, rose gold fell out of trend until the roaring 20s gave it a rebirth. Thanks to the emergence of cutting edge designers like Cartier and the pioneers of Art Nouveau, rose gold was back in style. Unfortunately, the glitz and glamour of the era faded and with it, so did rose gold jewelry. So what made rose gold resurface in recent years?
Well, you may have noticed a mega new trend that spread like wildfire in 2016. It seemed like everything--and we mean everything --was suddenly available in rose gold. That makeup compact? Rose gold case. Cell phone cover? You guessed it! And every accessory on every shelf at every retailer? Cloaked in that signature soft rosey glow. Did you know there’s even a hair color called rose gold? As you can see: this subtle shade of pink packs a serious punch.
The appeal of rose gold is that it combines the ethereal soft element of romance with a modern metallic aesthetic. Bottom line: rose gold is perfect for jewelry.
We’ve established that rose gold is popular, but is it real gold? Because of the alloy metals, rose gold is not made entirely of 100% pure gold, but few gold jewelry items are. The closest to pure gold you can get is 24K gold, which contains nearly 100% gold.
Where does rose gold fall on the purity spectrum? It essentially boils down to how many karats the jewelry item is. As a reference, here’s how the most popular jewelry karats break down:
24K gold = approximately 100% pure gold
14K gold = 58.3% pure gold
10K gold = 41.7% pure gold
These same percentages apply when shopping for rose gold jewelry, however the alloy percentages will vary.
Got your eye on a princess cut rose gold engagement ring? You’ll have to decide whether you want it in 10K gold, 14K gold or 18K gold. That said, engagement rings are most commonly available in 10K rose gold or 14K rose gold, as anything above that will be too soft to wear daily. Speaking of which, what does purity have to do with durability?
As it turns out… quite a bit!
A soft metal like gold is likely to bend or even break because it is not strong enough to wear every day. That’s why alloy metals are added to gold to strengthen it.
However, rose gold is slightly different than yellow gold when it comes to durability because it contains copper. As far as durability, copper is an extremely strong metal. There is a reason why it’s used in industrial construction and engineering: this is tough stuff!
In that regard, you can rest assured knowing rose gold is highly durable and built to last. The same metal that gives rose gold its pink hue also makes it strong.
When jewelry metals start to show age or wear and tear, they lose luster and eventually rust. This type of reaction occurs as a result of metal mixing with air and tarnishing certain materials.
While certain metals are valued for their tarnish in the form of natural patina, this principle doesn’t apply to jewelry items because we want our jewelry to look brand new years after buying them.
Lucky for us, rose gold does not tarnish. However, as you wear your pieces over the years you will notice some changes to the saturation of your rose gold jewelry. It’s natural for rose gold to get redder and darker over the years. Fortunately, this type of aging actually creates a more charming and vintage look. And don’t worry--it won’t happen overnight. Any changes to rose gold jewelry will occur slowly and over time.
If you have sensitive skin you’ll want to pay attention to this part, because the same ingredient that gives rose gold its pink hue and durability can also cause allergic reactions. That’s right--copper has its drawbacks.
Ever worn a copper ring or bracelet and noticed a green ring left behind on your skin? The residue is actually a chemical reaction that occurs when sweat combines with heat and oxidizes. The bits of copper actually enter your skin and add a natural boost of copper to your body. However, the green discoloration on your skin is actually not an allergic reaction, as this happens to most people at some point when they wear copper jewelry.
A copper reaction may itch, hurt and be bothersome. This isn’t to say that all rose gold will cause an allergic reaction, but it essentially depends on how pure the rose gold is.
If you buy 10K rose gold, the alloy will make up a larger percentage than pure gold. Conversely, buying 14K rose gold or higher will mean less alloy metals are included in the jewelry.
To answer the question, rose gold is not entirely hypoallergenic because it contains copper. However, allergic reactions vary depending on the gold purity and quality of the jewelry. A good way to test if you are allergic to rose gold is to first experiment with wearing copper jewelry. If you are allergic to copper but are head over heels in love with rose gold, choose 18K rose gold jewelry that you don’t plan to wear every day.
Confused? Don’t worry, the differences between red gold, pink gold, and rose gold are very few. Basically, it boils down to the alloy mixture. Remember how rose gold is made from pure gold and copper alloy? Well, the amount of alloy incorporated determines the shade of rose gold.
The more copper in the alloy, the more rosy red the jewelry will be. For simplification, here’s how to discern between the three:
Pink gold has the smallest percentage of copper alloy and will be a light pink
Red gold has the highest percentage of copper and will be deeply saturated
Rose gold falls somewhere in the middle of pink and red gold
Are you at an impasse in deciding between rose gold and yellow gold? Don’t worry, we’ve all had to address this very important question during the jewelry buying process. Fact is, there are many factors to consider when choosing between the two, so much so that we’ve written an extensive buyer’s guide answering all your questions to help you decide between rose gold vs. yellow gold.
Perhaps, but what style craze isn’t? Truth is, rose gold has gone through many stages of popularity, but what metal hasn’t? Take a look at yellow gold, which nearly went extinct as little as thirty years ago. The point is that yellow gold bounced back and is currently in high demand. Rather than following trends which inevitably come and go, it’s more important to address your interests and priorities.
Do you want a feminine and romantic jewelry metal that glows on your skin? Then you should probably buy rose gold. Do you want to add a touch of warmth to your life? Then rose gold is a great option! In love with all things pink? Then buy rose gold jewelry to wear something pink every single day. If you’re not in love with rose gold, you can always choose another warm toned jewelry metal that has gone through its own experiences with falling off trend: yellow gold.
Now let’s get to the fun part! Styling rose gold jewelry gives you the opportunity to play around with different looks. A current trend is to wear rose gold, yellow gold, and white gold altogether in combination jewelry. The intermingling of metallics creates a unique and diverse style that’s fun to play around with and the combination of colors adds a neopolitan flare to your bling.
Or, if you love to match, you can always buy a rose gold engagement ring set, or wear a ring stack of varying rose gold bands. You can even wear rose gold jewelry with gold accessories because they both have a warm undertone. There’s really no limit to the ways you can style rose gold jewelry because frankly, it goes with everything.
Now that we’ve answered all your rose gold questions, let’s get to the most important one: should you buy rose gold? Bottom line: rose gold goes with a variety of palettes and patterns, looks flattering against all skin tones, and is highly durable and made to last. There's a feminine and delicate nature to rose gold jewelry that sets it apart from other metals.
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