Rose gold and yellow gold are both beautiful, practical choices for your jewelry–but how do you pick between the two if you like both? There are a few things that set these precious metals apart, including their composition, how they wear over time, what skin undertones they tend to pair best with, and their overall style. Understanding these differences will help you narrow on what you’re most drawn to so you can choose the right gold for you.
What are Rose Gold and Yellow Gold?
Rose gold and yellow gold are both gold alloys, which means they’re made of a mixture of gold and other metals. Pure gold is a rather soft metal, so it needs to be mixed with stronger metals in order to be durable enough to create jewelry.
You can tell how much pure gold is in an alloy by looking at its karat. Pure gold is 24 karat. The closer an alloy is to 24 karats, the more pure gold it contains. For example, 18 karat gold is 75% pure gold, while 14 karat gold is 58.3% gold.
So, 18k rose gold and 18k yellow gold both contain 75% pure gold, but the composition of that remaining percentage is what makes them different from one another.
Rose gold is a mixture of pure gold, copper, and a small amount of silver. The high copper content in rose gold, also called pink gold, is what gives it its pinkish yellow color.
Yellow gold is a mixture of pure gold, silver, and copper. The balance between silver and copper in yellow gold keeps its color close to that of pure gold.
Durability of Rose Gold and Yellow Gold
Which is more durable: rose gold or yellow gold? Rose gold contains more of the very strong metal copper, giving it a slight edge in durability over yellow gold. However, both of these gold alloys are impressively durable, suitable for someone with an active lifestyle, and excellent for everyday wear.
If you want a more durable gold, we’d recommend thinking about gold karat rather than gold metal type, since karat has a larger effect on strength. Lower karat golds contain a higher percentage of harder metals, making them tougher. If higher durability is your goal, 14k gold would be a better fit for you than 18k gold.
Are Rose Gold and Yellow Gold Hypoallergenic?
Yellow and rose gold contain different proportions of metals, but the metals themselves are the same. Both typically contain pure gold, silver, and copper. Having an allergic reaction to these metals is uncommon, but it is possible to be allergic to any metal.
Yellow and rose gold are more allergy friendly compared to another popular gold alloy: white gold. White gold is a mixture of pure gold and various white metals. The white metal mixture in white gold often includes nickel, which is the most common metal allergen. Those with a nickel allergy may want to avoid white gold and opt for yellow gold, rose gold, sterling silver, or platinum jewelry instead.
Caring For Rose Gold and Yellow Gold
Rose gold and yellow gold are easy to care for over time. Both are resistant to tarnishing due to their high pure gold content, so they can be worn daily. Because they contain other metals, they can tarnish slowly over time, but gold tarnish is easily removed with a gentle cleaning. Avoid exposing rose and yellow gold to harsh chemicals like bleach and chlorine, which can cause rapid tarnishing and structural damage.
As a high copper alloy, rose gold develops a specific type of tarnish called a patina. This patina has a deep coppery color and is often considered desirable due to its vintage look. However, if you don’t like the look of your rose gold jewelry’s patina, you can easily clean it and restore its original luster.
Skin Undertone and Your Choice of Gold
Some find that certain types of gold are more flattering on their skin than others. Rose gold and yellow gold are both warmer precious metals, so both tend to look lovely on people with warm skin tones. Those with strong yellow undertones may prefer yellow gold to rose gold, as the pink tones in rose gold give it a touch of coolness.
Rose gold can range from warm to neutral depending on the balance of yellow to pink in the specific alloy. If you have a cooler skin tone, you may prefer how 14k rose gold looks on you compared to 18k rose gold. Lower karat rose gold is pinker and more neutral, making it more flattering on those who have green or blue undertones.
Style of Rose Gold and Yellow Gold
Yellow and rose gold are associated with different styles, so you may connect with one over the other depending on your personal taste. Yellow gold has a more traditional or classic style, while rose gold has more of a vintage style. Rose gold jewelry also looks more unique compared to yellow gold jewelry, as yellow gold is the more popular metal of the two.
Rose Gold and Yellow Gold Price
When you compare rose gold versus yellow gold, is one a more affordable option? No, because the price of gold metal alloys is largely determined by actual gold content. Alloys with a higher percentage of gold are more expensive because they contain more 24k gold. Whether a piece of jewelry is made out of 18k yellow gold or 18k rose gold, it will contain the same amount of pure gold and therefore have the same price. The same is true for jewelry made from 14k yellow gold or 14k rose gold.
Rose Gold and Yellow Gold Engagement Rings
If you’re shopping for an engagement ring, should you go with a rose gold or a yellow gold setting? Both are excellent for daily wear and beautiful choices for wedding rings, but one may suit your unique sense of style more than the other.
Yellow gold has been the traditional wedding ring choice for centuries, so yellow gold rings are considered the most classic option for engagement rings and wedding bands. If you typically prefer more classic jewelry styles, yellow gold is an excellent choice for your wedding jewelry.
Rose gold is thought to have a more vintage or romantic style due to its pink color and popularity in vintage eras. It also has a rather distinctive look, as both yellow and white gold are more popular for wedding rings. If you love romantic, vintage, or unique jewelry, rose gold is a gorgeous choice for your engagement jewelry.
Choosing the Right Type of Gold For You
Ultimately, the right type of gold for you comes down to personal preference. If you’re still not sure which gold you prefer after reading this guide, visit our Beverly Hills showroom and compare your options in person. Most of our jewelry is available in your choice of yellow gold, rose gold, or white gold, allowing you to try on the same piece in different metals and see which you love the most.