If you’ve followed style trends, you’ve likely noticed the fashion phenomenon known as rose gold. Since rose gold emerged as a stylish force in the jewelry world, an upheaval has sprouted and intersected into different markets selling rose gold everything. From rose gold engagement rings to keychains to watches to tech accessories, rose gold is the new “it” fashion trend.
Does that make rose gold better than traditional yellow gold? Is rose gold a buzzing trend that’ll inevitably go out of style? Is rose gold more expensive than yellow gold?
The answers aren’t so black and white, or rose and yellow. Yet somewhere in the middle, there are pros and cons to both rose gold and yellow gold.
Read on to discover everything you need to know in this buyer’s guide to rose gold vs yellow gold.
Best part? You’ll have a comprehensive understanding of the merits and pitfalls of both rose gold and yellow gold. With this knowledge, you’ll be able to make an informed decision on whether to buy rose gold, yellow gold, or both!
Gold in its natural form is—that’s right—yellow. Rose gold is actually not a product of nature but rather manipulated with a mixture of metals to get its signature rosy hue.
In fact, gold can be altered into a variety of different colors including rose gold and white gold. Pure gold alone is rather soft, meaning it’s not hard enough to be used in jewelry. Inevitably, jewelry worn daily is prone to take a beating, which is why gold must be manipulated into a harder form to uphold its shape without tarnishing.
How does that happen? To make pure gold stronger, it needs to be mixed with other metals into what is called an alloy.
Silver, copper and zinc are mixed with pure gold to create a metal alloy. This process creates a more durable, strong and long lasting gold. Correspondingly, the karatage of a piece of gold jewelry relates to how much pure gold is used in the mixture. For example, the gold purity is higher in 14K or 18K gold, however they also contain less alloy which makes them less durable.
Conversely, 10K gold has more alloy in the mixture, and therefore is more durable.
So, what about rose gold durability?
Rose gold is a unique combination of metals that creates its attractive rosy hue. The most popular rose gold ratio is 75 percent of pure gold with 22.5 percent of copper and a dash of silver.
That’s how rose gold gets its gorgeous pink shade. You’ll also encounter a rose gold spectrum, with lighter and darker rose gold jewelry available. Similar to yellow gold, the shade of rose gold depends on how much pure gold is used in the mixture.
Between yellow gold and rose gold, yellow gold is more hypoallergenic. Essentially, it comes down to the alloys used in both metals.
Rose gold’s metal alloys must contain copper to get that blushy hue we know and love. Unfortunately, copper is an allergen for sensitive skins. If you have a copper sensitivity, you may want to avoid buying rose gold jewelry.
Yellow gold also contains metal alloys that can sometimes have nickel—another metal allergen. However, with yellow gold you have the option to purchase an alloy mixture that doesn’t use copper or nickel. Also, higher karat gold has less alloys that can cause an allergic reaction.
Ultimately, yellow gold is the most hypoallergenic of the two.
Is yellow gold old-fashioned? You might recall how yellow gold went out of fashion pretty drastically in the mid-90s. In fact, white gold and silver took center stage as yellow gold was considered tired, tacky and altogether outdated.
Now, yellow gold is back in style in full force. Despite yellow gold falling into the shadows and rebounding its way back into the spotlight, it’s been a beloved metal for thousands of years. In fact, yellow gold is a historic and traditional wedding ring. Who has parents or grandparents that wear an understated yet elegant yellow gold wedding band? Bottom line: yellow gold is in style and highly popular.
In fact, it has been for millennia.
Gold dates back to the Paleolithic age of 40,000 B.C. and is literally as historic as recorded history itself. It wasn’t until ancient Egypt incorporated gold into the Pharaoh stratum that gold became a currency exchange and eventually, a symbol of status, wealth and ornament.
Centuries later, the U.S. congress officially allocated gold as a fixed price currency. The 19th century welcomed a slew of gold rushes and voila—gold became an economic enterprise.
History has demonstrated that yellow gold is a time-honored metal. While even gold itself has gone out of trend at times, it’ll likely always be relevant and timeless.
So, where does rose gold fall on the popularity scale? Undeniably, rose gold is dominating the jewelry industry. Considering its sudden rise to the top in recent years, it’d be easy to mistake rose gold as the new kid in town. Is rose gold trendy? Definitely. However, rose gold dates back to the 1800s when it was popularized in Imperial Russia. In fact, rose gold’s first name was “Russian Gold.” That said, rose gold’s history is more spotty than yellow gold, surfacing in major peaks like the opulent 1920s only to be replaced by white gold and silver during the Art Nouveau era.
While rose gold seems to surge and simmer, there’s no disputing its current status. It’s no secret rose gold is experiencing a mountainous peak in popularity, which leads to our next point:
We already know what happened to yellow gold in the 90s, and let’s just say, it’s a wonder that gold came back into fashion so tenaciously after being cast out.
With any style trend that saturates the market seemingly overnight, there’s a chance of it going out of style just as quickly. Remember shag carpets and parachute pants? Anyway, let’s address the elephant in the room.
Rose gold is the new black, right? Which poses the question: do all trends have an expiration date? Is it a risk to buy a rose gold engagement ring that might go out of style in ten years?
There’s no way to predict the style forecast, but the rule of thumb is to buy what you love. If you’re head over heels for a rose gold engagement ring and can’t imagine wearing any other metal, by all means buy it. Who cares if it goes out of style? The important thing is that you love it.
The bottom line is that with buying any fine jewelry there is a risk of trends going out of style. Let’s look at yellow gold as an example. For centuries, yellow gold was the dominant engagement ring choice. When it went out of style in the 90s did everyone toss out their gold rings? No. Because as we all know, gold came back around and it’s now majorly popular again.
While it’s important to acknowledge style trends, it’s more vital to pick jewelry that speaks to your heart. Let that bond carry you through the peaks and valleys of trends. If we’ve learned anything, it’s that trends ebb and flow, but ultimately timeless pieces are always in style, no matter the metal.
When choosing jewelry you’ll want to consider which colors and metals best complement your skin tone. Some metals beautifully complement certain skin types and undertones, whereas others might look washed out.
Rose gold looks gorgeous on all skin tones; it gracefully highlights blush undertones and adds an ethereal luminance to golden, tan, and dark skin.
Yellow gold looks radiant on warmer skin tones, including olive and dark skin. However, against pale or cooler skin tones it’s simply too harsh and can look flat or washed out.
How do you know which one looks best with your skin? Really, it’s best to try each one on and see which one best suits your skin tone.
If you plan to wear your jewelry daily, you’ll want to ensure it’s durable enough to withstand wear and tear. Which is more durable, yellow gold or rose gold?
The verdict: rose gold. Why? Due to the incorporation of copper in the metal mixture, rose gold is quite durable. As such, rose gold doesn’t require much care to keep it in great condition with the exception of inevitable scratches in the long run. Does rose gold tarnish? Not easily.
On the other hand, yellow gold is susceptible to losing its shape and developing scratches and scuffs. Due to the purity of yellow gold, it requires regular polishing to uphold its shiny luster.
As you can see, rose gold is more durable than yellow gold and optimal for daily wear. That said, yellow gold is still a great option, it simply requires more care and maintenance to keep in like-new condition.
Some gold variations, mainly white gold, require rhodium plating to enhance the durability and strength of the metal. However, rose gold is highly durable thanks to its copper alloy. This means that rose gold does not require plating to strengthen it, and the color will not easily tarnish.
Yellow gold is only rhodium-plated to turn it white and add a layer of protection. However, rhodium plating gold jewelry is not always recommended because with time, the plating will wear off and the yellow beneath will permeate through, meaning it will need to be replated.
When comparing rose gold vs yellow gold prices, you’ll find a rather equitable market. Of course, embellishments such as diamonds and stones increase the price of an individual piece. However, simple rose gold value against yellow gold is fairly comparable.
As gold is the main ingredient in both yellow gold and rose gold, the value and price relates to karatage. For instance, 18K gold will be more expensive than 12K or 14K gold. Because the same percentage of gold is used in both rose or yellow 18K gold, the value is relatively equal.
Now that you know all about rose gold vs yellow gold, which one is right for you? Here’s a quick summary of the pros and cons of rose gold vs yellow gold:
Yellow Gold Pros:
More hypoallergenic than rose gold
Flattering for olive, tan and dark skin tones
Retains long-term value
Yellow Gold Cons:
Less durable than rose gold
Requires more maintenance
Can wash out pale or cool skin tones
Rose Gold Pros:
Flattering on all skin tones
On trend and highly stylish
More durable than yellow gold
Rose Gold Cons:
Not hypoallergenic due to the copper in the alloy
A trend that may lose its appeal over time
As you can see, there are a lot of variables to consider in the rose gold vs yellow gold comparison. The bottom line is that it’s an individual decision that ultimately depends on what you love most.
Does the romance of rose gold send your heart aflutter? Are you connected to the timeless elegance of classic yellow gold? Perhaps you want to experiment by mixing the two?
The interplay of mixed metals is currently trending, and now more than ever style trends center around pushing the boundaries of convention.
If you’re deciding between a yellow or rose gold engagement ring, you’ll be wearing it for a lifetime and it may become a family heirloom. Whether you choose rose gold or yellow gold, the best thing you can do is follow your heart.
Ready to shop? Browse our beautiful collection of rose gold and yellow gold jewelry!
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