Yellow Gold vs Rose Gold: A 2020 Comparison

Yellow Gold vs Rose Gold: A 2020 Comparison

You've picked your stone, cut, and setting. But one question remains: Which precious metal will you choose?

And now that yellow gold is back in style, you have more choices than ever. So, to help you make your decision, we’ll be comparing classic yellow gold to a metal that resurged more recently in the market: rose gold. 

What is the difference between yellow gold and rose gold?

To begin with, we need to establish the difference between these two shades of gold. And it turns out, it comes down to composition. 

Pure gold already has a yellow hue, but it is actually not suitable for jewelry. It’s just too soft. So to prepare this precious metal for jewelry design, we mix in percentages of other metals. This is how we make up the three most popular hues of gold: white, yellow and rose. 

So how are yellow and rose gold made? First and foremost, both of these hues have the exact same percentage of pure gold in them (depending on the karat weight, which we’ll discuss later). This means that they are equally valued. The choice between these two is therefore completely up to personal preference. 

Yellow gold includes a mix of pure gold, silver, copper and zinc. Rose gold, on the other hand, is made up of just pure gold and copper. That being said, some rose gold items will include a small amount of silver too. 

Which has the better price point?

As noted, both yellow and rose gold are equally valuable. Both unlike diamonds, their price is determined by karat weight (yes, that’s karat with a “k”, not a “c”). Karat weight refers to the percentage of the mix that is pure gold. There are three dominant karat weights: 24 karat (100% pure), 18 karat (75% pure) and 14 karat (58.3% pure). You’ll need to keep these in mind when making your selection.   

But there are some drawbacks to opting for a higher purity metal. Since pure gold is soft, jewelry with higher percentages of pure gold will be less durable. 

And is there a difference in durability between rose and yellow gold? The answer is a resounding “yes”. While this is affected by karat weight, yellow gold is slightly softer and therefore generally less durable. 

But it is worth noting that yellow gold is more hypoallergenic. This is because people with sensitive skins do not always respond well to copper, which is a component of rose gold. In yellow gold, on the other hand, you can opt for a mixture without copper.   

Which gold will suit me best?

But since jewelry is made to be worn, you should consider which hue of gold will suit your skin tone best. Rose gold is considered an excellent all-rounder for all skin tones. Yellow gold, on the other hand, is arguably a better choice for those with warmer skin tones. 

The choice of metal should also take in consideration their proximity to stones. For example, it’s an excellent idea to pair yellow gold with a diamond. The yellow hue in a less expensive diamond will be masked by the yellow gold band and setting. 

So while there are certainly pros and cons to both rose and yellow gold, ultimately it is up to your personal taste. So what will it be?