Let’s talk about the color on everyone’s minds: rose gold. Is it red, or pink, or gold? Well, the answer is all of the above! Whatever the shade — there’s no denying the apparent intrigue of this rosy, feminine, gold-kissed hue. From rose gold jewelry to hair color treatments, we’re peeling the petals off this irresistible shade and discussing the variances of rose gold color.
Speaking of which: what color is rose gold, and how much does it vary? There are several shades of rose gold, and it has to do with the mixture of elements in the chemical composition of rose gold jewelry.
Ready to fall in love? Then keep reading to learn all about rose gold color.
First of all: what color is rose gold? You may already know that it’s a combination of rose, or pink, and gold. But what causes its signature color? Rose gold is a specific type of metal that’s highly popular in jewelry and engagement rings. You’d be hard-pressed to find a jeweler whose product line doesn’t include a collection of rosy-hued jewelry.
The term “rose gold” describes any pink and gold combination of color. In jewelry, this unique color comes from a concoction of gold-copper alloy metals. Alloy metal is any combination of metals used for jewelry making.
Rose gold is sort of a spinoff of yellow gold. It’s got the same purity, but a specific metal transforms it from gold to pink. Any guesses as to what that metal is? If you guessed copper — you’re right!
Copper is a naturally orange metal (the color of a penny), and when you add it to gold, it shifts the color from gold to reddish-pink.
On the contrary! The exact color you get depends on the mixture of gold-copper alloy. The most common blend of rose gold is 18k rose gold, which includes:
75% of pure gold
22.5% of copper
A dash of silver
This combination is the truest variation of rose gold that exists and creates a stunning shade of rose that’s simply irresistible. When you envision rose gold, you likely see this color. However, the amount of copper in the mixture will influence how pink or red the gold is.
For example, if you use less copper and more pure gold, the color will be much more gold than pink. Conversely, more copper in the mixture will deeply saturate the gold to look almost reddish.
While there is one standard for rose gold, variations depend on how much copper is in the metal alloy.
Technically, rose gold refers to jewelry metals that have a rose-colored tint. However, the presence of alloy has a considerable influence on the actual shade of rose gold. With this in mind, the color varies from soft, light pink to warm, rich red.
Let’s break down each caratage of rose gold alloy to see what types of shades you’ll get. We covered the mixture for 18K gold, but let’s dive into each of the variations of the most popular caratages for jewelry.
24K rose gold - This one is a bit misleading, but we’re mentioning it to help you avoid any buying mishaps. 24K gold contains 99.5% of pure gold. As you can see, there’s not much room for any presence of copper. So, if you ever find a jewelry item labeled as 24K rose gold, stay away because it’s likely a fake.
14K rose gold - Contains 58.3% gold and 36% copper, with the remaining alloy containing silver and zinc. Because there’s more copper present in 14K rose gold, it’ll be more warm and reddish than 18K gold, which has 22.5% copper.
12K rose gold - Now we’re getting into a class of rose gold called “red gold.” As you might deduce from the name, 12K rose gold will be red, not pink. That’s because this mixture is split right down the middle, containing half pure gold and half copper.
10K rose gold - Lastly, 10K rose gold contains more alloy metals than pure gold and will be the reddest of them all. There is 41.7% pure gold in 10K rose gold, 38.3% copper, and 20% silver.
As you can see, the variations are broad. Rose gold is a popular color, but there’s diversity within that name, depending on the caratage you choose. True rose gold will be mostly pink, but it’ll also be the most expensive because it contains the most pure gold. However, there are additional factors that shape rose gold color.
As you wear your rose gold jewelry, it may darken over time. This aging effect is desirable because it deepens the color of your jewelry. That’s because the copper develops a natural patina seen in vintage jewelry.
Despite its recent resurgence in popularity, rose gold (originally called Russian Gold) is an old metal first popularized among the 19th-century Russian nobility. During Queen Victoria’s reign, when fashion favored the decadent, lavish, and dramatic.
What better color to commemorate the style of this time than pink? However, every trend has an expiration date, even if temporarily. Rose gold fell out of fashion until a renaissance in the roaring 20s when art deco glitz and glam revived the beloved pink metal.
Rose gold is an exquisite jewelry metal that beautifully accentuates diamonds and gemstones. Did we mention it’s also highly durable? The more copper alloy in the metal, the stronger it’ll be.
That’s because gold is a naturally soft material that can easily tarnish or damage. When you add copper to the alloy, you don’t just get a more robust metal, but a beautiful pink-hued one too! What’s not to love?
There are several shades of rose gold, from light pink to reddish-brown. Ultimately, choosing the best rose gold color depends on your budget and preference. So, which pink hue will it be for you?
Browse rose gold jewelry today!
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