Rose Gold vs. Yellow Gold – The Differences

Rose Gold vs. Yellow Gold – The Differences

If you’re curious about the contrast between rose gold and yellow gold jewelry, you’ve landed in the perfect spot. We’re about to explore this subject in detail, aiming to address a few intriguing inquiries like:

  • Does yellow gold possess a higher level of purity compared to rose gold?
  • Is it necessary for rose gold to have rhodium?
  • What causes certain rose gold variations to appear more pink than others?

Differences Between Rose Gold vs Yellow Gold

Let me provide you with a brief comparison between these two types of ring metals. For a more comprehensive understanding, I encourage you to explore the article I’ve shared below.

  • Rose gold is predominantly offered in 14K, while yellow gold is commonly available in 14K or 18K.
  • Yellow gold has a long history dating back to ancient times, while rose gold originated in the 1800s.
  • Yellow gold is associated with a vintage aesthetic, whereas rose gold has a trendier appeal.
  • Rose gold may not look as flattering on pale undertones, whereas yellow gold is generally considered suitable for most skin tones.

Origin – Rose Gold vs Yellow Gold

Rose Gold

In the jewelry industry of Russia in the 1800s, a new kind of jewelry called rose gold emerged. Initially referred to as Russian gold, it later came to be known as rose gold as its production expanded worldwide.

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Originally, all gold used in jewelry was made up of 24 karat pure gold, which is the purest form of gold. However, there was a drawback to using pure gold—it was a very soft metal and not suitable for creating long-lasting jewelry.

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To address this issue, a durable metal mixture called a metal alloy was developed by combining pure gold with other metals. When creating a rose gold engagement ring, yellow gold is mixed with copper. The presence of copper gives the rose gold ring its distinct pink tone.

The composition of rose gold alloy typically includes:

  • Gold (75%)
  • Copper (22%)
  • Silver (3%)

The proportions of copper and silver can be adjusted to achieve a deeper pink color (more copper) or a lighter hue (more silver).

In present times, there is a greater availability of rose gold engagement rings in jewelry stores compared to two decades ago. However, they are not the only option available. Numerous online platforms offer engagement rings in various gold colors to cater to different preferences.

Yellow Gold

Yellow gold has a special place in the history of jewelry metals. In fact, all types of gold, including white gold and rose gold, have yellow gold as their foundation. The key difference lies in the alloys used and their proportions. White gold, for instance, incorporates white metals like palladium and platinum into the alloy.

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Let’s take a closer look at the composition of yellow gold alloy:

  • Gold (75%)
  • Copper (12%)
  • Silver (12%)

As you can observe, yellow gold shares the same metals as rose gold, but with different ratios. In rose gold, copper plays a more significant role, constituting a higher percentage in the alloy.

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In the past, yellow gold engagement rings could be found almost everywhere. However, the popularity of platinum rings grew, despite their high cost. As a result, white gold rings were introduced as an alternative.

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Finding a wide variety of in-store yellow gold engagement rings may be a bit challenging nowadays, but you will have greater success locating yellow gold wedding rings or wedding bands.

Appearance – Rose Gold Jewelry vs Yellow Gold Jewelry

Yellow Gold

Yellow gold possesses subtle variations in its appearance, although many individuals may not readily notice them. Yellow gold engagement rings can exhibit differences in their yellow tones. For instance, an 18K yellow gold engagement ring will display a deeper and more vibrant yellow hue compared to a 14K or 10K yellow gold ring.

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The tone of your yellow gold piece is determined by its karat gold content. The higher the gold content, the more pronounced its yellow color will be. It is worth mentioning that an 18K yellow gold ring, with its bright radiance, might appear excessively vibrant to some, potentially giving the impression of fake gold. On the other hand, a 10K yellow gold ring may exhibit a softer yellow shade and may not appear as luminous. The conventional gold carat for a traditional wedding ring is typically 14 karat, known for its balanced yellow tone.

In the world of jewelry, yellow gold is a popular choice. It’s often used to give a shiny and expensive appearance to various metals, without the high cost of solid gold. There are different types of gold applications in jewelry, such as gold filled, gold plated, and vermeil gold. Gold plating involves using electricity to coat another metal with a layer of gold.

When gold plating is applied to sterling silver, it’s known as vermeil jewelry. If the gold plating is about .5 microns thick in any karat, it falls under the category of gold filled jewelry. On the other hand, if the gold plating is less than .5 microns thick in any karat, it’s referred to as gold plated jewelry.

Yellow gold is versatile and can be combined with other metals to create a two-tone look. It pairs well with rose gold, white gold, and sterling silver. While yellow gold is known to complement most skin tones, it looks especially stunning on individuals with darker skin tones. It also suits warmer skin tones beautifully.

Rose Gold

Rose gold often gets mistaken for copper, which is understandable since it’s actually made from a mixture of copper and silver alloys. When you go to fine jewelry stores, you’ll usually find rose gold available only in 14K. However, even within the realm of rose gold, there can be subtle variations in shades. People may also refer to it as red gold or pink gold, with the latter two having a higher concentration of copper alloy.

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Just like yellow gold, rose gold can also undergo a plating process, although it’s not as commonly seen. Nevertheless, you can come across jewelry with a rose gold plated finish. Rose gold can also be combined with other metals, such as:

  • Rose gold and yellow gold
  • Rose gold and white gold
  • Rose gold and sterling silver
  • Rose gold, yellow gold, and sterling silver
  • Rose gold, yellow gold, and white gold

Furthermore, rose gold is often chosen as the setting for colored gemstones. Morganite rings, for instance, are frequently placed in rose gold settings to enhance the pink and red hues of the gemstones. It’s worth noting that Russian gold may not suit individuals with cool or fair skin tones as well, but it tends to look better on those with darker skin or warm skin tones.

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Price – Rose Gold vs. Yellow Gold

In terms of pricing, rose gold should ideally have a similar cost to yellow and white gold. The determining factor for the price of gold isn’t its color, but rather its karat value.

Although it can be said that yellow gold tends to be more expensive than rose gold, it’s mainly because yellow gold is available in a wider range of karat options. Most places typically offer 14K rose gold, while yellow gold comes in various karat options.

However, when comparing a 14K rose gold ring to a 14K yellow gold ring, they should have a similar price. The only exception would be if a company had to specially create a custom ring design in a gold color that isn’t commonly available.

Estimating the price of a plain gold band is relatively easier compared to a diamond engagement ring. The cost of the gold itself is not separate from the stones set in it. A plain gold band has fewer cost factors to consider. Aside from the karat gold, the price of both rose and yellow plain wedding rings may also depend on the width of the band, but there won’t be a difference in price between the two colors.

The additional cost of one colored metal over another may arise from the details of the band. Just because a ring doesn’t feature gemstones doesn’t mean it can’t have intricate designs on it. Carved, etched, hammered, and satin-finished gold wedding rings, for example, may cost more than a plain band of a different color. Two-toned wedding bands often carry a higher price tag compared to single-color gold bands.

Value – Rose Gold vs Yellow Gold

Unlike white gold, both rose gold and yellow gold jewelry don’t need a special coating called rhodium plating. This coating is used on white gold to prevent its color from fading over time. However, the natural colors of rose gold and yellow gold don’t fade, so you don’t need to spend money on rhodium plating for those types of jewelry. By not needing rhodium plating, you can save some money, usually between $40 and $120 per year, unless you have a warranty that covers it, like the James Allen warranty.

Now, let’s talk about rose gold. It doesn’t tarnish, meaning it doesn’t lose its color or shine easily. However, if it gets scratched, it may become a bit dull.

The same goes for yellow gold. It also doesn’t tarnish, just like rose gold.

When you’re thinking about the value of your gold ring, you should also consider the risk of allergic reactions. Gold is generally recommended for people with mild allergies. One common cause of metal allergies is nickel alloys.

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But neither of these metals can be considered completely hypoallergenic. They both have copper in them, which can cause allergies in some people, although copper allergies are not as common. If you have very sensitive skin and are specifically allergic to copper, yellow gold would be a better choice than rose gold. Rose gold has a higher copper content, so it might not be suitable for you. In reality, platinum would be the most suitable option for individuals with severe metal allergies.


Choosing between rose gold and yellow gold can be a difficult decision. Both are types of gold that are mixed with different metals because pure gold is too soft for jewelry.

In terms of cost and overall durability, both gold colors should be similar. They both look great on warm or dark skin tones, but yellow gold tends to suit fair skin tones better than rose gold. On the other hand, yellow gold is often considered more flattering on cool skin tones than rose gold.

When it comes to shopping in physical jewelry stores, you’re more likely to find a wider variety of yellow gold options. Yellow gold is the traditional color for wedding bands.

Both rose gold and yellow gold can create stunning pieces of jewelry. Before I started working at a jewelry store, I used to prefer white gold. Now, I appreciate all types of gold, and the choice depends on the specific piece itself.

If you’re specifically looking for a wide range of rose and yellow gold options, it would be best to search online. Brilliant Earth and James Allen are both excellent choices for finding engagement rings in yellow and rose gold.

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