Rose Gold vs. Yellow Gold: How To Decide

rose gold vs yellow gold - rose and yellow gold stacked rings

Did you know all types of gold are naturally yellow? Jewelers and designers regularly manipulate its standard appearance to more than ten different colors of gold. In addition to yellow and rose gold, white gold, champagne, and green gold are stunning jewelry choices. 

Rose gold and the similar color millennial pink have dominated jewelry, fashion, and interior design trends for the last several years. 

Rose gold and yellow gold contrast significantly in composition, durability, and hypoallergenic qualities. Read on to learn what makes these two metals different and discover which gold fits your lifestyle.

What Is Rose Gold?

 rose gold diamond heart necklace

Rose gold is a romantic and innocent choice for jewelry that is enjoying a recent renaissance. Rose gold appeals to many for its charm and versatility. Consider rose gold a gift for all ages to celebrate anything from baby showers to an engagement.

Rose Gold Pros

Rose gold may feel like a recent trend, but the advantages of this precious metal have been known for centuries. Rose gold is:

  • Flattering to a diverse spectrum of skin tones
  • Appropriate for any gender or occasion
  • More durable than other metals with a higher composition of yellow gold
  • A more affordable option than other precious metals
  • A romantic and charming pink-red color 

Rose Gold Cons

  • For allergy sufferers, it is vital to note rose gold is not hypoallergenic. Rose gold may trigger nickel or other allergy reactions to the wearer's skin. Platinum is a hypoallergenic option for sensitive skin, although it is a much more expensive metal than rose gold.
  • Unlike yellow gold, rose gold is much less ordinary. While rose gold is more affordable than other metals, achieving the perfect style may require a custom design.

What Is Yellow Gold?

yellow gold accessories flat laid on a table

Yellow gold holds a deep, rich color commonly used in jewelry design. Most engagement rings, wedding bands, and other jewelry styles contain yellow gold. 

The composition of yellow gold refers to how much gold exists in the alloy versus silver or copper. A 24-karat gold piece represents a 99.9% purity rating. However, it is a very soft metal, and you're likelier to see a piece of jewelry made from a stronger 18-karat gold. An 18-karat gold item indicates a purity rating of 75%, while 14 karat is 58.3% gold. 

Yellow Gold Pros

Yellow gold is common, and for good reason! The advantages of yellow gold are:

  • Easy for jewelers to manipulate or re-size due to softness
  • Mostly hypoallergenic
  • Simple to clean and maintain
  • Flattering for olive and darker skin tones
  • Purest gold color
  • Appropriate for vintage or modern designs
  • Complements and elevates lower-grade diamonds 

Yellow Gold Cons

  • While yellow gold is durable and straightforward to maintain, this metal requires frequent cleaning and polishing to maintain its luster. 
  • Yellow gold can be quite soft, especially above the 18-karat gold level. Yellow gold risks dents, scratches, and other imperfections.

Rose Gold vs. Yellow Gold

gold heart necklace on pink background

Now that we know the basics let's dive deeper into the similarities and differences between rose gold and yellow gold.

Rose Gold vs. Yellow Gold: Alloys

The composition of rose gold refers to the amount of copper in the metal's particular alloy. An alloy is a mixture of two or more elements, commonly metals. To make rose gold, copper is mixed with yellow gold to make an alloy. The more copper exists in the alloy, the rosier the final metal will appear. 

Crown gold contains 22-karat rose gold. This gold, used commonly to make gold coins and other currency throughout history, offers a warmer yellow color for rose gold. Comparing centuries-old crown gold to its very pink rose gold counterparts demonstrates the vast spectrum of rose gold colors.

A 10-karat rose gold represents the lightest rose gold hue. This rose gold variety truly lives up to its name, delivering a sweet, pale pink metal backdrop for your favorite diamonds and gemstones. Because of the high composition of copper to yellow gold, 10-karat rose gold costs significantly less than alloys with a higher karat number.

Rose Gold vs. Yellow Gold: Skin Tone

Yellow gold contains a deep yellow hue, so it can be less attractive against pale skin or those with yellow undertones. Yellow gold flatters those with olive or dark skin tones best.

Unlike yellow gold, rose gold complements all skin tones. Pale skin tones or those with blue undertones shine with 10-karat or other very pink options. Warmer skin tones look gorgeous with higher-karat rose gold pieces with abundant copper in the alloy.

Rose Gold vs. Yellow Gold: Durability

gold stamp 750 on a gold jewelry with scratches on the surface

Yellow gold and rose gold differ in durability. Yellow gold is notoriously soft and prone to dents and scratches. Yellow gold requires regular polishing and maintenance to keep its original luster. 

Yellow gold can be rhodium plated, which gives it a white gold appearance The rhodium plating will provide extra protection, but remember that rhodium plating fades with time, so you'll have to get your jewelry replated.

Rose gold, on the other hand, is more resilient. It also requires less maintenance than yellow gold.

Rose Gold vs. Yellow Gold: Popularity

Throughout time, yellow gold has represented wealth, power, and status. Many ancient cultures manipulated yellow gold for decorative and practical items. Gold has communicated the level of royalty for centuries.

Rose gold is more recent and became a popular choice within the last few decades. During the 21st century, as gold prices reached historic highs, rose gold increased in popularity. During the Great Recession, investing in rose gold jewelry with a high composition of copper became more realistic than the much more expensive yellow gold pieces.

Rose Gold vs. Yellow Gold: Value & Price

Yellow gold and rose gold jewelry prices are based on several factors, including karat, gemstone inclusions, and customization. The karat refers to the ratio of gold to other metals like copper or silver. Higher karat gold will be more expensive and harder to maintain.

Yellow or rose gold jewelry embellished with gemstones will fetch a higher price. The clarity of the gemstones combined with the purity of the gold can significantly alter the piece's value. 

Customized jewelry may cost more based on the design. Highly personalized jewelry can lower the price because the piece is unlikely to appeal to everyone.


a set of rose gold wedding band on light pink background

Here are some frequently asked questions about gold.

Why is rose gold pink?

Rose gold combines yellow gold with copper in varying ratios. The higher the copper in the rose gold composition, the pinker the final product will appear.

Is rose gold really gold?

Yes! Rose gold contains gold in different percentages. Even though rose gold may look very pink, all rose gold includes gold.

What is the significance of rose gold?

Rose gold communicates luxury, romance, and delicateness. This hue also represents elegance, calm, and refinement.

Can you wear rose gold with gold?

Yes! Mixed metal jewelry is quite fashionable. Combine rose gold with yellow gold or other white metals for a fresh fashion statement. Experiment with your jewelry to find your unique style. 

Rose Gold vs. Yellow Gold: Which One Is for You?

a woman getting a piece of gold necklace from the display

Both rose gold and yellow gold offer elegant and flattering looks to fit any style. When choosing a precious metal, consider your priorities. 

Those looking for durable, low-maintenance, affordable styles should explore rose gold jewelry. It's versatile and flatters every skin tone. Yellow gold provides the traditional option and the price tag you can expect from a commodity. Remember that it requires more maintenance and is more delicate than other alloys. 

Ultimately, your personal preference is what matters most. 

Explore your style and have fun discovering all of the beautiful rose gold and yellow gold jewelry options. Speak to our expert jewelers to help you find the perfect jewelry that will suit your personality, turn heads, and won't hurt your budget.