An engagement ring will be one of the most important pieces of jewelry you ever buy. On the one hand, you want to dazzle your partner with a beautiful ring that fits their personal tastes and styles. On the other hand, you want the ring to last a lifetime without losing any of its luster.
Engagement rings are available in any number of materials, but we’re here to shed a little light on the three most common: rose gold, yellow gold, and white gold.
What’s the Difference?
When you look at a gold ring, you’re not looking at pure elemental gold. Pure gold, also referred to as 24-karat (24K) gold, is soft and easily scratched, so it will lose its shine and start to show its age fairly easily. For that reason, jewelers rarely use pure 24K gold.
Instead, gold is mixed with other metals to make it stronger and more durable. Most jewelry is made with either 14K or 18K gold, meaning that the material is at least 14 (or 18) out of 24 parts gold. A 14K gold ring will be no less than 58.3% gold, with the other 41.7% made of other metals. Usually, gold is mixed with a white metal — zinc, silver, or palladium — and copper, which bond well with gold.
How does this affect the color of a ring?
White gold has a higher concentration of the white metal. At Perry's Jewelers, we make our white gold by mixing yellow gold with palladium, giving it a brilliant silvery grey color. Whether it’s mixed with palladium, zinc, or another white metal, white gold tends to have a paler look, similar to silver.
Yellow gold has a more even mixture. There’s no exact definition of how “yellow” an alloy has to be considered yellow gold, but the mixture is intended to match the natural color of the gold itself. At Perry's Jewelers, we mix gold with silver and copper to make yellow gold jewelry.
Rose gold simply has a higher concentration of copper. Copper has a darker, more reddish hue than gold, so when it’s mixed with gold, the gold takes on a rich pink or rose tint.
In some cases, nickel is mixed with the alloy. Nickel is inexpensive and bonds well with many metals, which is why it’s so popular in jewelry and industrial applications, but it can also cause unpleasant skin reactions. At Perry's, we don’t use nickel in any of our jewelry alloys.
When it comes to cost, there’s usually not much of a difference between white, yellow, or rose gold. Some of our premium rings at Perry's are a blend of platinum and gold, which comes at a higher price, but displays a gorgeous clear white color unmatched by any other alloy.
Rose, Yellow, or White Gold?
Any ring will need occasional polishing and cleaning to retain its luster. Exposure to the oils of your skin, sweat, lotion, soap, and hard surfaces will slowly create microscopic pits and scratches that reduce the metal’s shine.
When it comes to durability, rose gold is slightly stronger and less susceptible to scratching than its white and yellow counterparts. Copper is a sturdy metal, and its addition makes the gold stronger as well. A rose gold ring will need the least care and attention and might be the best for someone who works with their hands but still wants to wear their ring.
White gold is less strong than rose gold, but stronger than yellow gold, thanks to the hardness of the palladium in its alloy. Yellow gold is the softest of the major gold alloys, so it will require slightly more care and attention.
The rest is up to you! You can get any setting, any stone, and any shape of ring in any of the colors of gold that you like the best, so it’s simply a matter of personal taste. Some people think that yellow gold looks better on olive and darker skin, while white gold and rose gold complement fair skin in a more striking fashion, but your personal aesthetic should be the deciding factor.
Having trouble deciding? Come visit us or have an online conulstation! We have a wide variety of rings in rose, yellow, or white Gold, with different-colored stones, so you can try them on and find the ring that suits you best. Once you’ve decided, we can craft a custom ring that combines the exact metals, settings, and stones that you want most for the perfect ring.