Yellow Gold vs Rose Gold: What is the Difference?

Yellow Gold vs Rose Gold: What is the Difference?

Yellow Gold vs Rose Gold: What is the Difference?

Posted by Sharif Khan on 8th Jan 2020

Yellow Gold vs Rose Gold

Did you know that the average American spends $ 6324 on an engagement ring? A recent study by the Business Insider shows that engagement ring expenditure can be as much as $ 2,793 in Missouri and as high as $ 9,809 in California. However, master  jewelers in New York’s diamond district will tell you; engagement ring prices can skyrocket upwards of $ 20,000. Of course, it all goes back to how deep your pockets are. But one thing is for sure: stop by 47 street, Manhattan with an engagement ring budget of hundred grand or more, and it’ll only take a couple of minutes to satisfy your love for opulent jewelry.

Typically, the diamond itself makes up the bulk of the cost of the diamond ring. But setting prices can range from reasonably-priced (for the casual, standard designs) to considerably high for the high-end made-to-order settings. Setting designs can be intricate, especially for clients who like a mounting explicitly made for their diamond cut and shape. It’s even more daunting when you’re in a dilemma of choosing between yellow gold and rose gold settings.

The band and prong color go a long way in personifying the brilliance of your diamond as per the  GIA diamond color code. A diamond can be colorless (as should be for the highest value) or have varying levels of a ‘warmth’ of yellowness or brownness. The color of the diamond in itself should inform your choice between yellow and rose gold for a perfect complementary look. The main factors you’ll also have to consider are the price (obviously), alloy proportions, and durability.

James Allen

Most of the other elements—if any—that’ll influence your pick between yellow and rose gold will be tied mainly to preferences. They include your tastes and partialities that you may be steered to by a trusted setting consultant. For instance, all factors constant, which is your favorite color between the two? What are jewelry experts and clients of the major jewelry brands saying on Yelp and Google reviews of yellow and rose gold mounts? Before making any appointments with a jeweler, take a look at the analysis below to get a head start.

Yellow vs. Rose Gold: Alloy Percentages and Appearance

In its natural form, yellow gold is a shiny yellow precious metal. The pure the gold, the darker its characteristic yellow color. Almost everybody knows yellow gold. You’ve either had a piece of yellow gold jewelry at one point in your life or at least seen one. It’s the most popular financial commodity for backing up or guaranteeing currency value. And this text sheds more light on it as a popular jewelry metal, which has been the case for hundreds of years.

No sample of yellow gold is 100 percent pure. Miners use mercury in the extraction of gold, and in rare cases, yellow gold can have traces of mercury impurities. The atomic and chemical properties of gold render it too soft and malleable. While this feature enables yellow gold to be pressed and hammered into different shapes, it’s common to come across slightly altered gold. Alteration means, the introduction of small amounts of hardening elements such as copper and silver to the yellow gold.

As a result, you’re likely to see different yellow gold karat ratings in the market. The most common karat measurements are:

●24k (99.99 percent gold)

●22k (91.7 percent gold)

●20k (88.3 percent gold)

●18k (75 percent gold)

●14k (58.3 percent gold)

●10k (41.7 percent gold) and

●9k (37.5 percent gold)

The marking on the yellow gold jewelry will either be the number of karats or a stamp based on the yellow gold percentage: a 999 stamp for 24k or 99.9 percent gold, 917 for 22k or 91.7 percent gold, and so on.

By dictionary definition, a karat is a measure of gold purity equated to a twenty-fourth (1/24) of 100 percent pure gold. So, 24k gold is considered the purest form of yellow gold. Copper and silver are purposefully added to yellow gold to increase weight and strengthen it for use in jewelry. But that copper or silver component is always controlled to maintain the signature deep lustrous yellow color of gold.

For instance, a goldsmith can mix 2.5 percent copper, 12.5 percent silver, and 75 percent yellow gold to make 18k yellow gold jewelry. Or 10 percent silver, 15 percent copper, and 75 percent yellow gold to create an alloy of darker 18k gold jewelry. Jewelry with a lower number of karats has a smaller percentage of yellow gold. It’s just a matter of altering the alloy proportions to get your desired yellow gold karat rating .

The same case applies to colored gold. Rose gold, white gold, or other differently colored gold settings are a variation of yellow gold. In other words, yellow gold is the base metal for all colored gold jewelry. When making colored gold settings, jewelers either use alloys or inter metallic compounds (a fixed composition of metals).

Alternatively, they can also opt for a simple, quicker method—surface treatment such as oxide layers or color coating and plating. The aim is to strike a balance between the metals or elements included and produce the ideal colored gold.

Rose gold is a blend of yellow gold, copper, and silver. Yellow gold is alloyed with different portions of copper and silver to create a range of rose gold shades. The color tone synonymous with rose gold can be light or dark, depending on the yellow gold and copper ratios used in the mixture.

For that reason, the term rose gold encompasses red and pink gold. The most common rose gold composition usually has 2.75 percent silver, 22.25 percent copper, and 75 percent gold.



When it comes to yellow gold jewelry and rose gold, the gold component is mainly responsible for the setting’s pricing. Most jewelry vendors like to separate the  price of the diamond or other cut and polished gem from that of the setting. It enables the shopper to have a clear picture of what they are about to purchase. It can be useful for the buyer, especially if they want to spend more on diamond cut and carat weight and less on the setting.

Gold is priced and sold by the karat. A karat is equivalent to 0.2 grams of gold. According to, the current market price for gold is approximately $ 47 per gram of pure 24k gold. The prices are lower for blended gold. Due to frequent trading in the financial markets, the prices regularly fluctuate.

Don’t expect the same pricing strategy from jewelers, though. The jeweler has to account for the alloys used in rose gold and the labor employed. Even if you are buying 22k yellow gold jewelry, there are associated costs of producing that yellow gold piece. The jeweler must pass that cost to the consumer to turn a profit.

For instance, Blue Nile sells this 18k solitaire yellow gold engagement ring setting for $ 680, while this cathedral pave yellow gold diamond ring mounting goes for $ 1610. Not only does the price of raw gold matter, but the jewelry design also affects the price of the finished product. The same analogy applies for these 14k different design rose gold engagement rings on Blue Nile.


Unfortunately, more karats in gold jewelry mean a lack of durability. Yellow gold wears out quicker than rose gold. The tarnishing has a lot to do with the metallic structure of the jewelry. Pure to near pure yellow gold tends to have lower amounts of strengthening elements in its composition. 18K yellow gold has greater longevity than 24k or 22k.

Longevity means that rose gold jewelry doesn’t need extensive care to maintain its appearance. The copper and silver incorporated in the alloy harden it to withstand abrasions. However, even rose gold jewelry eventually develops scratches and dents that can be straightened out by a jeweler.

Yellow gold requires regular maintenance. You don’t want your yellow gold ring or bracelet to lose its shape and glow over time. To prevent that, polish it every few weeks. Be cautious while out and about to avoid the ring catching on stuff (dirt and oils). Remember to take the ring off when doing certain kinds of activities such as gardening or working out at the gym.

Both yellow and rose gold are popular jewelry trends in the market right now. Yellow gold is timeless and still makes for an excellent choice of setting despite its flaws. It may be the most brittle of the two, but poses no risk of allergic reactions.

The issue with rose gold is that the must-have copper component is an allergen. If you have sensitive skin, rose gold may be a dangerous choice for you. Skin irritation due to contact and exposure to copper can lead to a condition like dermatitis. It’s not worth it, especially when yellow gold is a readily available option.

The ring design can set you back a couple of dollars. Make sure you consult your budget not to go overboard. Get a decent, casual off-the-shelf ring to save on cost or a fancy custom design if you have the buying power to match it.

Yellow gold complements the yellow hue on a faint diamond but isn’t the best choice when it comes to near-colorless stones. Rose gold would bring out the glassy look of an F color (colorless) diamond much better. If your jeweler has the knack for it, go hybrid. Get a yellow or rose gold engagement ring with rhodium flashed (white coating) prongs. It’ll make your white diamond look brighter.

All in all, a yellow gold setting is a great option, but it’s so common and doesn’t bring much to the table in terms of a trendy look. Rose gold, on the other hand, portrays style and elegance. It’s a romantic color perfect for creating engagement rings and fine jewelry. Make the sophisticated choice and grab yourself a rose gold setting!