Nov 10

Rose Gold, the Blushing Gold, For Your Engagement Ring

By Calla Gold

Rose-Gold-Engagement Ring

Ladies wedding band with Norwegian Rosemaling hand engraving with black rhodium finish.

How About Rose Gold For Your Engagement Ring?

I’ve talked a lot about yellow and white gold engagement rings in other posts. While I’ve touched briefly upon various types of gold, and how they are made, I felt that rose gold deserved its own post.

Rose gold has a little secret that impacts how your engagement ring will perform for you.

Rose gold is such a beautiful , and popular gold color, it draws many to it as their chosen gold color for their engagement ring. Is it right for you?

In this post I’ll let you know about how rose gold’s unusual quirks could spell trouble for your engagement ring’s longevity. First I’ll get a little technical.

Tanzanite-set-in-rose-gold

Tanzanite set in rose gold. Notice the prongs are pretty and strong.

What Makes Rose Gold Pink?

Rose gold is also be known as “red gold” or “pink gold.”  This is because rose gold is a man-made alloy, “pure” rose gold does not exist in nature.

Generally speaking, the rose color is achieved by combining gold with a copper alloy metal mix.  Copper’s bold, almost orange-like color allows gold to achieve that nice rosey pink color.

The varying percentage of copper used determines the color of the gold. The more copper that is used, the stronger the rose color.

Here is the alloy composition of rose gold:

Simple-rose-gold-engagement-ring

Simple rose gold engagement ring with strong basket setting with prongs. This ring looks wonderful with stacking wedding bands on either side

14kt Rose gold
58% gold
32% copper
10% silver

18kt Rose gold
75% gold
22.25% copper
2.75% silver

22kt Rose Gold – aka: Crown Gold
91.667% gold
The percentages vary depending on who makes it. These percentages are one company’s percentages.

Rose-gold-chain-pendant

A rose gold chain and pendant. This is a prong set rose quartz crystal. Prongs are great on a pendant which gets little stress from daily wear.

So What Does This Mean?

What this means, is that with Rose gold’s higher copper content it is a more difficult metal mix to work with technically, than yellow or white gold.  The high copper content makes rose gold susceptible to color changes if it comes into contact with certain chemicals.

Next Year You’ll See More Rose Gold Engagement Rings

The Pantone color palette for 2015  has gentler tones with pink and red. With these softer

colors, the warm tones of rose gold will be a natural fit. I foresee a rise in the demand for rose gold engagement rings based on the fashions and furnishings colors that are coming out in 2015.

I wanted people to know about the special needs of rose gold especially from a maintenance standpoint.  If you are used to yellow gold and white gold jewelry, you are used to leaning on a certain level of sturdiness.

Rose Gold Wedding Ring

Deb and I Discussed Rose Gold’s Issues Before We Made This Awesome Rose Gold Ring for Her

What Could Happen to my Rose Gold Engagement Ring?

Rose gold, with its large addition of copper in the alloy mix is, a different animal.

If abused, which isn’t hard to do, a rose gold ring can develop a different texture at the area of repair or heat work. Sometimes when soldering is done on a rose gold ring, the area of solder changes color or texture or in the worse case becomes weaker in that area.

Why Does Rose Gold Have These Issues?

My bench jeweler explained it this way, he said, “Calla that copper is all mixed up in the gold, but you heat it up and it wants to separate from the gold and migrate to itself. You know how badly copper oxidizes, well discoloration isn’t the only problem that can occur when copper molecularly moves around on you. An area weaker than the surrounding gold can be created while the work with heat is done. This can cause future cracking and problems.”

Pick Your Jeweler Carefully for Your Rose Gold Engagement Ring

rose-gold-ring-wedding-diamond

This is a rose gold ring I designed to re set a client’s wedding diamond. We went for fun texture and shapes. For strength my client opted for a rose gold bezel setting rather than prongs.

Rose gold has to be heat worked more carefully. When your rose gold jewelry needs to be repaired, be sure to go to a jeweler experienced in working on it.   Preferably a jeweler who can offer laser welding as an alternative to open flame soldering.

Also, know that your rose gold ring will probably need repair more often than yellow or white gold, due to the fact that it’s alloy composition makes it susceptible to becoming brittle in places. It is also softer than yellow and white gold. Where this makes the most difference is at the point of tiny prongs holding tiny diamonds.

In my experience, tiny prongs made up of rose gold need more maintenance than do their white gold and yellow gold brothers. Rose gold is more malleable than yellow and white gold. Malleability is movableness. If you hit your ring prong just right, it could move to the side and your tiny diamond could go flying. That’s not something that’d happen with white gold, which is a much harder and less yielding metal mix.

rose gold with u set diamonds

Side View of Classic “U” Set Design for Setting Tiny Diamonds

Are You Trying to Rain on my Rose Gold

rose gold ring set

Top View of Morganite and Rose Gold Wedding Set with U Set Diamonds in Halo and Shank

Engagement Parade?

I’m seriously not trying to rain on your parade. I custom make many rose gold engagement and wedding rings.

While I’m designing them I’m letting my client know that if they choose the popular  “U” set prong design, that like a fine sports car, their ring will need maintenance more often that same design in yellow or white gold.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve loved the beauty of rose gold for years. I just like people to be informed. And wearing rose gold daily requires a bit more forethought and perhaps design tweaks.

You’ll be wearing your ring every day, it will get banged around and loved. I just wanted you to know about rose gold and its little quirks!

Rose Gold Jewelry Designer,
Calla Gold

15 thoughts on “Rose Gold, the Blushing Gold, For Your Engagement Ring

  1. Is there a difference in color between 14kt and 18kt gold? Is one more rose colored?
    I have an inherited chain with an oval engraved pendant from my grandmother. It is rose hued, but when I hold it up to today’s rose gold, then it looks more yellow gold. What’s that all about?

    • Hello Patricia,
      You’ve brought up a good question and observation!
      The color difference between 14kt and 18kt yellow gold is noticeable, with 18kt yellow gold looking more deeply yellow and the 14kt being a lighter gold.
      The difference in hue between rose gold 14kt and 18kt can be even more pronounced over time. The high copper content in the alloys of rose gold causes it to be a more reactive metal combination. There is actually more copper alloy metal in 14kt rose gold than in 18kt. So more change can be seen in 14kt rose gold pieces. If your curious about the percentages of copper and other alloy metals present in rose gold see my blog:
      http://www.callagold.com/education/gold-jewelry-alloys/
      I had a hair stylist who loved rose gold. Occasionally her rose gold wedding ring I’d made her would come in contact with her hair work chemicals and she’d get a noticable color deepening where some harsh chemical had stuck to her ring. I’d need to polish it up to get it looking right. We ended up making her a yellow gold salon wear ring. It didn’t discolor. Her comment was, “hmm, I’ve lost my canary in the coal mine.”
      To address your comment about the not quite rose, not quite yellow gold inherited necklace, I see a lot of that. I’m not sure if they were trying to make rose gold or they just made a pinker yellow gold then. It is not an uncommon occurrence to see examples of that.
      Your Personal Jeweler,
      Calla

  2. Hi. How can I get a men’s wedding band made like the Ladies wedding band with Norwegian Rosemaling hand engraving with black rhodium finish? And how much would it cost?

    Thank you very much.

    • Hi Bryan,
      I’ll email you privately. For anyone else curious, I make a couple of subtle changes for men for this ring. I don’t change the rosemaling though because that just looks awesome!
      Your Personal Jeweler,
      Calla

  3. I have the same question as Bryan above. I’d love to get one like this for my fiancé.

  4. Hi
    I love rose gold and thought of having it for a wedding ring. In fact a very unusual wedding ring. It is two rings, one on top of the other with diamonds along the edge (6 in total on each edge I think) but obviously they need to be soldered in place to keep the two rings in place. Is it a bad idea to have something like this seen as it will be worn every day?

    • Hello Andrew,
      I’m not being able to visualize this design the way I’d like to. The more important issue is the thickness of the rose gold since rose gold is the weakest of the cast golds.
      If you’d like to sent me pictures of your design idea, my best email for that is callagold@gmail.com.
      I’d be happy to give you my opinion.
      Your Personal Jeweler,
      Calla

  5. Actually my experience with rose gold has been nothing but amazement. Rose gold takes the same level of care as yellow gold, the copper makes rose gold a tougher metal than yellow or white gold plus it doesn’t require rhodium plate like white gold. Rose gold created from pure gold n copper will last a life time and will not tarnish instead a rich patina is created over time but again this takes a life time to develop this actually adds to the value of the ring giving it that vintage look. I have a 2 carat oval on a 14k rose gold ring with platinum prongs from Cartier, the ring is from 1920…my fiancée n I found this gorgeous ring at Cartier Paris exceptional collection. Just saying this is what the Cartier jeweler told us, and as you know Cartier are the masters of creating that perfect rose gold jewelry and some!

    • Hello Adrian,
      Thank you for sharing the words of the Cartier jeweler. My caveats for using rose gold in wedding jewelry and everyday wear rings comes from my observation of the softer, more delicate quality of the rose gold. I’m pleased that your prongs are in platinum as opposed to rose gold as they will hold up much better.
      I have had to rose gold plate a number of rings as the darkening patina of the rings was unpleasant to some of my clients.
      I’m glad you are having a good experience. Rose gold is beautiful.
      Your Personal Jeweler,
      Calla

  6. Wow you gave me some interesting insights there ! December 2017 will be our 40th ie ruby anniversary and as I am not fond of rubies .. or garnets etc I was wondering if it would be possible to make my present 18 carat yellow wedding ring (that needs to be enlarged anyhow!) into rose gold ? Is that possible or .. would it be very expensive ? If it is possible, would I be better going to make it down to 14 carat to make it stronger as I never take my wedding ring off and my beautiful etched pattern has just about worn away! (I don’t take it off due to sentimental reasons AND because of the shape of my knuckles! If I buy a ring big enough to slip comfortably over my knuckles … it also slips straight off my finger and that would be that !

    Thank you for your help !

    • Hello Teal Rose,
      Let’s assume your ring is a simple band style, as I have no other information about it. Your current ring cannot to converted into rose gold. It is yellow gold which as its specific alloy metals. Rose gold has a lot of copper in it to create the rose gold color. However if you have a band I could cut it in half and put a rose gold section in the center.
      Since your engraving is faded it may be time to re-engrave it. Check out this example:
      http://www.callagold.com/dear-calla/12915/
      Your large knuckles are another issue entirely and you may want to see some articles I’ve written on that, starting with this one:
      http://www.callagold.com/jewelry-repair/big-knuckles-and-spinning-rings-try-the-butterfly-spring/
      It’s one of three possible solutions to the large knuckle and spinning ring problem.
      Your ring could be rose gold plated, but that is a temporary solution and needs to be re-done from time to time. If your ring is a band style I do not recommend plating.
      If your ring is a different style my above idea wouldn’t work.
      Thanks for your kind feedback as well.
      Your Personal Jeweler,
      Calla

      • Thank you so much for your reply and sorry it has taken me so long to get back to you!

        Another idea I had .. as I now know I can’t mix golds, is if the ring is remade (it’s a wide band D shaped at present) maybe in the same shape, but with the yellow gold top and bottom and a rose gold stripe through the middle ? And then maybe etched again. Would that work ? I see so many multi coloured gold, gold rings these days …

  7. Hi! I just had my rosegold engagement ring 3 days ago i frequently spray alcohol on my hands and it turned the inside of my ring to yellow any remedies?

    • Hi Merrie,
      I am not familiar with alchohol’s effect on rose gold, but as you read, rose gold is pretty vulnerable to color change due to its high copper content.
      Your Personal Jeweler,
      Calla

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