Rose Gold Explained

Rose gold is sometimes referred to as pink or red gold. At the start of the 19th century, rose gold was introduced and became popular in Russia; as a result, at the time it was often called Russian gold. During the Art Deco period of the 1920s, rose gold was popular in the United States for the use in engagement rings and fine jewellery. Rose gold has regained popularity since the early years of the 20th century as a slightly unusual and sophisticated design choice. Rose gold is a generic name that includes red, rose, and pink coloured gold. Because all rose gold is an alloy of gold with other metals, there is no such metal as ‘pure’ rose gold. The highest degree of purity ever found in rose gold is 22ct.

What Is Rose Gold?

Rose gold is a mixture of pure gold with at least one other red metal. The metals used in rose gold is typically copper and silver. The reddish colour is derived from the copper content, and the silver mutes the red to an attractive pinkish hue. Although the different names are sometimes used interchangeably, pink gold has the lowest content of copper, the metal that gives the appearance. Red gold has the highest copper content.

Most rose gold is found with an 18k rating; common alloys for rose, red and pink gold include:

  • 18ct red gold: 75% gold, 25% copper
  • 18ct rose gold: 75% gold, 22.25% copper, 2.75% silver
  • 18ct pink gold: 75% gold, 20% copper, 5% silver

In the UK, all jewellery made with gold weighing over 1 gram must be assayed and stamped with a hallmark guaranteeing its authenticity. Rose gold has all the same purities as natural gold when going to assay. Below are the most popular rose gold purities used around the world when making an engagement ring:

  • 9-karat rose gold contains 37.5% gold the stamp for this is 375. This purity of rose gold is more reddish in colour.
  • 14-karat rose gold contains 58.5% gold the stamp for this is 585. This purity of rose gold is very similar in colour to 9k rose gold.
  • 18-karat rose gold contains 75% gold the stamp for this is 750. Most rose gold engagement rings and jewellery is found with an 18k rating

Some jewellery makers have their own blend of rose gold, which is identifiable to their brand’s colour.
Some consumers imagine that rose gold is more valuable than white or yellow gold. This is untrue. All rose gold with the same karat grade will have the same amount of gold as any other colour gold.

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Rose Gold in Jewellery

Rose Gold’s Advantages

  • Rose gold is currently in style for engagement rings and jewellery.
  • Many people think of rose gold as being the most romantic of precious metals due to its pinkie-red colour.
  • If durability is a concern, then rose gold is a reliable choice. The copper used to make the metal look red makes rose gold very hard-wearing and robust.
  • Rose gold looks great with all skin tones.
  • Rose gold needs no upkeep to maintain its appearance.

Rose Gold’s Disadvantages

  • Unlike yellow gold and many versions of white gold, rose gold is not hypoallergenic. Some people are sensitive to copper. There is no way to make rose gold without copper.
  • Although rose gold is currently in vogue, it is nowhere near as widely available as white or yellow gold. Unlike white and yellow gold jewellery where manufacturers often make pieces in both colours, they do not do so for rose gold.