Pure gold (100% 24 karat gold) is yellow, but other colors can be created in the form of gold alloys. Gold can be alloyed with silver and copper to produce white, yellow, green and red gold.
White gold has been popular since the 1990s, as an alternative to platinum, especially in engagement and wedding rings. However, the trend is now leaning toward yellow gold, rose gold and even a mix of white, yellow and rose gold. This fashion for mixed precious metals and pink gold is not a new thing.
Rose gold first became popular in Russia in the early 1800s and was then known as "Russian gold". The Georgians and Victorians of Britain also produced a number of beautiful rose gold jewelry items, some of which were encrusted with closely-set Bohemian garnets. During the Art Deco period of the 1920s, rose gold gained popularity due to the Cartier "Trinity" ring, which used interlinked white, yellow and rose gold bands. However, the prevalent metal of Art Deco jewelry was platinum. Rose gold took a backseat until the war, when the US deemed platinum to be a strategic metal and the use of rose gold rose. Now rose gold is undergoing a revival. Boucheron in collaboration with Vertu produced a mobile phone with rose gold and pink sapphires. These bling phones were made to mark the 150 year anniversary of the jewelry house in 2008. This was the world's first "high jewelry" phone made with gold and precious gemstones.
Rose gold is sometimes known as "pink gold" or sold under the trade name of "Strawberry Gold". "Pink gold" actually contains less copper than rose gold and therefore has a lighter color, whereas the darker colored "red gold" contains more copper than rose gold. 18 karat rose gold typically contains 75% gold, 22.25% copper and 2.75% silver. Silver imparts the rose hue. The purest rose gold is 22 karat gold and is called "crown gold". This was used by the British Crown in the 1500s to replace gold sovereign coins. Crown gold coins were harder and more durable than gold sovereigns.
The price of rose gold is similar to that of yellow and white gold alloys, since all gold is priced according to the content of pure gold. This means that 18 karat rose gold will be more expensive than 14 karat rose gold because it contains a higher amount of gold.
Rose gold diamond engagement rings often use white precious metal prongs. This helps to keep the diamond looking white. The perfect accompaniment to rose gold is pink gemstones, such as pink sapphires, kunzite, morganite and rose quartz. Also, warm toned red, golden, orange and brown gems look wonderful set in rose gold, such as spessartite garnet, rhodolite garnet, imperial topaz, champagne and cognac diamonds, enstatite, moonstone and smoky quartz.
Some organic gemstones, such as pearls are enhanced by the color of rose gold. Black and white gemstones, which look good in any metal also compliment rose gold very well. On the other hand, blue, purple, green and turquoise colored gems provide a strikingly beautiful contrast with rose gold, especially demantoid and tsavorite garnet in the vintage Russian style.
It is really a matter of personal preference, but rose gold is considered by most to be somewhat softer than stark white gold, and a little mellower than yellow gold. Some may think that rose gold is a little feminine, but it is also available for men's jewelry and looks equally attractive on men. Unlike white and yellow gold, rose gold jewelry looks good on all skin tones. Therefore, it could be thought of as the happy medium or middle metal.
- First Published: July-14-2015
- Last Updated: August-29-2017
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