What Is Rose Gold?

Learn more about the characteristics and history of this rosy-hued metal.

Last edited: 2/24/2020
Rose gold findings
Rose Gold Sheet and Casting Grain

Discover Rose Gold

In recent years you may have noticed an increase in demand for rose or pink-colored gold. Seen everywhere from smartphones to cookware to home décor, this blush-colored hue has dominated jewelry industry trends with its versatile look and near universal appeal. But what exactly is rose gold? Here we’ll cover the characteristics and rich history of this rosy shade so you can connect with customers intrigued by this coveted color.

Metallurgy of Rose Gold

Also known as pink gold, red gold or blush gold, rose gold is composed of a percentage of yellow gold alloyed with silver and copper metals to create a soft pink color. Depending on the amount of copper used, rose gold jewelry can vary in appearance from orange-yellow to dusky pink to red-orange. The components of true rose gold are approximately 75% gold, 22.5% copper and a small percentage of silver.

The karat amount of a piece of jewelry indicates the purity of gold in the piece. The higher the karat, the higher the purity of gold. For example, 18-karat rose gold is approximately 75% gold with the remaining 25% given to a combination of copper and silver. 14-karat rose gold is approximately 58% gold with the remaining 42% given to a combination of copper and silver. The more silver added, the more yellow the gold appears. The more copper added, the more rose the gold appears.

Lasting Durability

The added silver and copper metals serve not only to give a piece the signature rose color, but also to strengthen the piece for durable wearability. Gold on its own is a relatively soft metal that if worn alone will bend and dent. Adding copper—considered to be one of the most durable metals—to gold makes rose gold pieces stronger so that they can be worn daily. Unlike copper used in construction and home materials, the copper in rose gold does not tarnish. Instead, it may become slightly darker or redder due to age, but this takes many years of wear to occur. 

History of Rose Gold

Quickly becoming a new classic, rose gold can be seen today in a variety of industries from fashion to tech, auto to home goods, and of course, the jewelry industry. But this sought-after shade is nothing new. Rose gold got its start in 19th-century Imperial Russia where Carl Fabergé of famed Fabergé Eggs used rose gold in ornate creations for the Russian czars. First termed “Russian Gold,” the pink-hued gold soon became popular with jewelers around the world and later became known as “Rose Gold.”

Rose Gold took the stage once more in the 1920s, a decade of opulence, excess, arts and fashion. It was a time of new freedoms for women as they rebelled against traditional standards and dressed lavishly, accessorizing with jewelry. Jewelers inspired by these changes incorporated rose gold into their designs as a way of celebrating the femininity being embraced by the time. However, this all would come to an end with the ensuing recession and dwindling prosperity of the following years.

Variety of rose gold  stackable bracelets

Today's Trends in Rose Gold

Over the last several years rose gold has once again seen a huge boost in popularity, largely due to its versatility and ability to complement all skin tones and styles. Its subtle shades of pink complement both silver and gold jewelry, making it ideal for mixed-metal and layered looks, and its warm tones add a romantic feel to pieces, making rose gold a top choice for engagement rings and wedding bands.

With solid rose gold, rose gold-filled and rose gold-plated options, the ever-popular pink metal can be an affordable way to differentiate your line. It can also be used in both men’s and women’s jewelry, making it a versatile metal to work with.

With its rich history, it seems rose gold has never truly been out of style. And with so many industries and jewelers adopting the soft pink hue today, the color shows no signs of fading away anytime soon.