What is Rose Gold? The Essential Guide

When thinking about engagement rings, rosy, pinkish-red colors are symbols of romance, comfort, and warmth. But that’s not the only reason that rose gold engagement rings have grown in popularity so much over recent years. Although most people can say they’ve heard of rose gold, they can’t tell you much more. Let’s explore all about rose gold and what makes it so appealing.

This precious metal, also sometimes referred to as pink gold, achieves its unique pinkish-red color by mixing classic yellow gold and copper. The higher the copper content in the mixture, the more depth of color of the pinkish hue of rose gold.

Some can get confused between copper and rose gold. However, copper is a more of an orangish-brown color when seen next to the pinkish hue of rose gold.

It is absolutely real gold. The main component of rose gold is pure yellow gold. In fact, almost all gold jewelry is mixed (or alloyed) with another metal to make it more durable because pure gold is generally too soft for fabrication, stone setting, and wearing. The karat quality signifies the percentage of pure gold present alongside the other metal.

For instance, most people know that 24 karat (k) is pure gold; so 14k gold simply means 14 parts 24 karat gold, which calculates to roughly 58% pure gold, and the rest are alloys such as copper.

The most common make for rose gold in the United States are 14k and 18k rose gold, with 14k rose being the more popular choice of the two. Since most clients who choose rose gold want to see that distinctive pink hue, choosing 14k rose gold with a higher relative copper content accomplishes this goal. Whereas clients who like both rose and yellow gold (and cannot decide which to choose) usually love 18k rose gold because it is the perfect blend of the two colors and has a more subtle rose hue.

While most jewelers use a commonly accepted mixture of alloy, some like to experiment with their own alloy content, thereby changing the color of the final product (by making the rose gold more or less red). If you have any questions, we encourage you to ask your jeweler.

At Ken & Dana Design, our rose gold comprises of the following mixture:

14k rose gold: 58.3% gold, 38.3% copper, 2.1% silver, 1.3% zinc.

18k rose gold: 75% gold, 23% copper, 1.3% silver, 0.7% zinc.  

18k rose gold has a slightly less pink hue than 14k rose gold

Comparing Rose Gold vs. Yellow Gold & Platinum

14k yellow gold vs. 14k rose gold

14k yellow gold vs. 14k rose gold

14k rose gold vs. 14k yellow gold ring oval diamonds

14k rose gold vs. 14k yellow gold ring

satin finish 14k rose gold

14k rose gold in a satin finish

14k rose gold vs. platinum

14k rose gold vs. platinum

Where Did Rose Gold Come From?

Rose gold first made an appearance in 19th-century Russia. The famous Russian creator of Fabergé Eggs, jeweler Carl Fabergé, first used rose gold in his elaborate creations. The precious metal made its way to the United States during the Art Deco era of the 1920s when more elaborate and feminine jewelry reigned.

In the United States especially, jewelry designer Cartier proved instrumental in the increasing popularity of rose gold, particularly for fine jewelry and engagement rings. He featured rose gold with precious gemstones and diamonds before creating the “Trinity Ring.” Designed as three gold color bands - yellow gold, white gold, and rose gold - simply intertwined, the Trinity Ring was a hit and has lasting, classic appeal.

Rose gold is a very complimentary color for most people because we all have some pink undertones in our skin. Because rose gold looks great for so many of us, rose gold makes a great choice for many skin tones. And because it’s in the gold family and accommodates so many other colors, it can be mixed and matched with all types of metals and gemstones.  

Diamonds pop beautifully in rose gold, but other stones that complement nicely with rose gold include pink and peach sapphires, morganites, and cognac diamonds, just to name a few. Our Delphine, set with a peach color Morganite, is the perfect example of the harmony created when warm colors meld together.    

One misconception about rose gold is that women prefer rose gold more than men. Although the word rose may sound feminine at first, in reality, rose gold looks great on many men, and can be a slightly closer match to many people's skin color than yellow gold. Choosing rose gold for a wedding band is an exceptional choice and still allows for couples to match their bands.

Men's 14k rose gold band

We find that our vintage-inspired designs look especially beautiful in rose gold, as they add definition to all of the delicate and intricate elements that give these rings their old-world charm.

Likewise, our textured, natural designs, inspired by the bark of sequoia trees, look even more wood-like in rose gold.

Bottom line, rose gold is a beautiful, unique, and versatile choice for all types of jewelry, and especially engagement rings. It has a timeless look and appeal with the durability to last for generations and sure to be a standout of a piece of jewelry.

Have questions? We're happy to help.