Rose gold is a precious metal used to create a variety of decorative and wearable objects, including jewelry. Favored for its blend of both rosy and golden hues, it is distinctive from yellow, white and green gold, and much warmer in tone than sterling silver and platinum. Rose gold gets its appealing color due to a combination of different metals.
Composition of Rose Gold
Rose gold is composed of both yellow gold and copper. Copper is a reddish metal; it lends rose gold its rosy tone. Rose gold is available in a variety of karats, ranging from 10 to 22. Karats measure the purity of gold jewelry. For example, 14 karat gold is about 58 percent pure gold and 42 percent other metals. 24 karat gold is 100 percent pure gold; rose gold cannot be 24 karat because it always contains some copper. Eighteen karat rose gold is more yellow in color than 10 karat rose gold, because it has a greater percentage of pure gold. A typical 18 karat rose gold piece of jewelry contains 75 percent gold, 21 percent copper and 4 percent silver. Silver is often added to rose gold jewelry to enhance its durability.
Uses of Rose Gold
Virtually any type of jewelry may be fashioned with rose gold, including necklaces, bracelets, earrings, brooches, and cuff links. Rose gold is sometimes present in small quantities, such as in the posts and backs of a pair of diamond stud earrings, or in large amounts, such as in the chain and pendant of a necklace. Rose gold may be combined with other metals in pieces of jewelry, such as platinum, with which it contrasts nicely.
Other Terms for Rose Gold
Rose gold is sometimes called by other names, including red gold and pink gold. These terms are less common, and are typically used by jewelers and jewelry manufacturers, but they refer to the same combination of yellow gold and copper that most people know as rose gold.
Popularity of Rose Gold
Rose gold is a consistently popular type of metal. In the Victorian era, rings, brooches, bracelets and necklaces were often fashioned with rose gold, and many contemporary pieces of rose gold jewelry are made in the Victorian style.
Black Hills gold jewelry, a distinctive and well-liked style of jewelry that developed in the late 19th century, often features leaves, flowers and grapes, and these motifs are represented in rose, green and yellow gold. Currently, rose gold is a popular choice for wedding and engagement rings.
Caring for Rose Gold
Care for rose gold jewelry in the same way that you would other gold jewelry. Commercial gold jewelry cleaning fluids and cloths are safe for rose gold jewelry. You can also clean gold jewelry by soaking it for a few minutes in a solution of mild soap and sodium-free seltzer water or club soda, lightly scrubbing it with a soft toothbrush, rinsing it under running water, and patting it dry. Avoid exposing rose gold jewelry to household chemicals, chlorine, soap and perspiration, all of which can dull its glow.
References and ResourcesRose Gold: What is Red, Rose and Pink Gold?
Jewelry Genius: Rose, White and Green Gold
eBay: Rose Gold