Rose gold engagement rings offer a classic and elegant alternative to white and yellow gold. Although it’s definitely the least common type of gold, rose gold’s popularity has increase hugely in the past 10 years as people realise that it offers an unusual and stunning combination.
Read on and you’ll learn:
- A little bit of technical info about rose gold, so you know what you’re buying
- What’s good about rose gold engagement rings
- What’s not so good about rose gold engagement rings
- A selection of ring settings for you to choose from
At the end you should have everything you need to know to make an informed choice about rose gold engagement rings, as well as some inspiration for choosing your ring.
What is rose gold?
Rose gold starts life as regular ol’ yellow gold and is mined in exactly the same way as the gold found in yellow and white gold jewelry. Pure gold is naturally very soft, so in order for it to be tough enough to be worn in jewelry it is combined with other metals to form alloys. The different metals that are used in the alloys give rose gold its color and properties.
Rose gold karats
Pure gold is known as 24 carat gold, which means that 24 out of 24 parts of the gold mixture are actually gold. All of it!
But pure gold is too soft to be used in jewelry, so gold alloys are used. The amount of actual gold in the alloy results in the ‘karat’ number. Because it’s an old system of measuring the purity, the numbers are a little idiosyncratic.
Common gold alloys that are used in jewelry are:
- 18 karat gold = 18 / 24 = 75% gold
- 14 karat gold = 14 / 24 = 58.3% gold
- 10 karat gold = 10 / 24 = 41.7% gold
- 9 karat gold = 9 / 24 = 37.5% gold
Rose gold alloys are made with a mixture of yellow gold, copper and silver or zinc, although the actual proportions of each metal in the final rose gold depends on the karat rating.
Typically, 18 karat rose gold will have 75% gold, 4% silver, and 21% copper:
Rose gold karat and its effect on color
Pure gold is a deep yellow color and pure copper is reddish, so rose gold falls somewhere between the two.
The copper tint adds warmth and depth to the naturally yellow colour of gold, and the higher the amount of copper, the more pronounced the red color.
14 karat rose gold has a higher proportion of copper in it and a lower proportion of gold than 18 karat rose gold, which gives it a darker hue.
What’s good about rose gold engagement rings?
Rose gold is distinctive
One of the biggest advantages of rose gold is that it is distinctive.
Although it has become more popular over the last 10 years, it’s still much less common than either white colored (white gold or platinum) or yellow goldengagement rings. This means that you’re unlikely to find many people with the same engagement ring – rose gold is a great choice for those who value individuality.
Rose gold can also give classic engagement ring designs a new lease of life – it makes the solitaire setting on the right look much more modern and up to date.
Rose gold is flattering
While tradition dictates that yellow gold suits ‘cool’ skin tones best and white jewelry suits ‘warm’ skin tones, rose gold’s color looks equally good on any skin tone.
Rose gold is flexible
Rose gold is also extremely flexible with what it can be worn with. While it’s generally considered not-the-done-thing to mix wearing gold and silver jewelry at the same time, rose gold can be worn with any color of jewelry and will complement it all.
Rose gold is long-lasting and low maintenance
A key difference between rose gold and white gold is that the color of rose gold will never fade, unlike white gold’s color.
To make white gold white, gold is first combined with copper, nickel and zinc and then covered with a thin layer of another metal – rhodium – which gives white gold its bright white finish.
Rose gold’s color isn’t a result of a surface finish – it comes from the mixture of yellow gold and copper in the alloy.
This is an important difference because while rhodium will wear away on white gold, meaning that it loses its brilliant white finish, the warm rich colors of rose gold won’t fade. White gold needs to be replated with rhodium every 18 months to continue look at its best.
Rose gold doesn’t need to be replated and is much lower maintenance. The color is ‘baked in’ to the metal, so even 20 years from the day you purchase, your ring will still look just as beautiful.
What’s not so good about rose gold engagement rings?
Fashion is temporary
Rose gold first became fashionable in Russia in the mid-19th century, before making its way over to the West in mid-Victorian times.
It remained popular up until the rise of the ‘art deco’ school of design in the 1930s, which prioritised monochrome and geometric designs. This meant that white colored metals, particularly platinum, dominated jewelry design, and the fancier rose and yellow tones of gold fell out of fashion.
While rose gold engagement rings are extremely fashionable now, it’s too early to tell whether it will be a trend that will last 30 years, or one that will last five.
An engagement ring will be worn long after fashions have faded, so you need to think whether your ring could be the equivalent of cargo shorts in 10 years time!
Rose gold scratches easily
In the ‘what’s good’ section, we look at how the color of rose gold engagement rings won’t fade with time, which is awesome.
However, rose gold is actually the least durable of the three colors of gold and the most likely to pick up scratches in day to day use.
The hardness of metals is measured by something called the ‘Vickers scale’. Without going into too many details, it basically measures how resistant metal is to scratching. The table below shows the Vickers score for the three gold colours – the higher the number, the more resistant it is to scratching.
White gold tops the list because of the rhodium covering, which gives the gold underneath a considerable amount of protection. Yellow and rose gold are left to fend for themselves, and as the metals that are used to make yellow gold’s alloys are more resistant to scratching than the copper in rose gold, it’s a little more durable.
Either way, it’s clear that going with an engagement ring with a higher karat rating will make a ring more scratch resistant and more likely to remain beautiful for longer.
Rose gold engagement ring settings
While it’s important to get the best center stone that you can for you ring, it’s the ring setting that really defines the character of the ring.
This list below is by no means definitive, but it’s a representation of some of the different styles of settings that are available. If you see a setting you like, click through to find out more and you’ll also be able to see many more rose gold engagement rings at each retailer.
Rose gold solitaire engagement ringsThe classic solitaire engagement ring setting is the best seller year after year. Its mix of classic style and attractive price due to its simplicity can be hard to look past. Plus, the setting allows the most light possible to enter the diamond from all sides, ensuring that it gives off as brilliant a sparkle as possible.
One thing to take note of is the rings that pair a rose gold band with a white gold head. This minimises the possibility of any of the rose color from the ring setting being seen through the diamond and making it look ‘warmer’ in color than it really is.
Pavé rose gold engagement rings
The classic solitaire engagement rings do a great job of bringing focus to the center diamond, but they do mean that it has to do all of the impressing on its own. Adding supporting diamonds, like the ‘pavé’ set diamonds on the band of this ring, is a good way to increase the impressiveness of the ring without the large cost increase that a larger center diamond would bring.
Rose gold vintage rings
Classic and vintage designs are a great source of inspiration for jewelers – this ring features a ‘knife edge’ band and geometric shapes to hark back to the Art Deco period.
Rose gold halo engagement rings
Halo settings are another great way to improve the appearance of a ring, and can be used to make a ring with a modestly-sized center stone look really impressive. This example has 0.35 carats of diamonds in the vintage-style ring setting and while choosing an elaborate setting does increase the cost of the setting itself, it is usually much less expensive than increasing the center stone carat weight by the same amount.
Rose gold three stone engagement rings
Giving the center stone a couple of wingmen is a great way to take the pressure off it – it means that the center diamond doesn’t have to do all of the impressing on its own. The two side stones on this ring add up to a full half a carat, in addition to the carat weight that is chosen for the center stone, which would all add up to a seriously impressive engagement ring.
Rose gold is a great alternative to white and yellow colored engagement rings and as we can see above, ring designs that are a bit ‘ho hum’ when presented in white gold look much more modern and stylish in rose gold.
When buying a ring though, you’ll need to consider whether you want to go for the latest trend, or whether you want to go for a classic style that has remained popular for decades and is unlikely to fall out of favour in the future. As Coco Chanel said ‘Fashion fades, only style remains the same’.