Rose gold has enjoyed a phenomenal increase in popularity over the past few years. It has gone from rather an unfashionable colour choice (more popular in Italy and other European countries) to a classic in both accessories and home interiors, and shows no signs of disappearing any time soon.
What is rose gold made of?
Rose gold metal (also known as red or pink gold) is a gold alloy similar to white or yellow gold. This means it’s made up of a series of additional ingredients: pure gold (37%), copper (43%) and silver (20%) alloys. Together, they help to give the metal its unmistakable rose colour.
What colour is rose gold?
It’s a soft pinkish colour with golden tinge to it. The depth of the pink hue will change depending on how much copper alloy features in its composition – becoming deeper and more reddish in rose gold featuring a higher amount of copper.
Is rose gold real gold?
Yes, rose gold is real gold. Despite the fact it’s made from a mixture of pure gold and other alloys, it’s still considered gold.
Rose gold vs yellow gold vs white gold
So, what is rose gold in comparison to white and yellow gold? It is the specific combination of ingredients that determines the gold alloy produced and will affect not only the carat, but also the colour.
Recipes vary from one bullion producer to another, and most are quite closely guarded secrets. But generally speaking, when it comes to white and yellow gold vs rose gold, 9ct alloys can approximately be broken down into the following base ingredients:
Basic 9ct Gold Composition
9ct gold alloys are all made up from essentially the same ingredients but in varying quantities, namely gold, copper and silver. Gold is obviously the consistent factor in each, and for 9ct has to make up 37.5% of the total alloy (for the purposes of the pie charts percentages were rounded down for simplicity).
Copper and silver are added to improve workability and enhance the colour. You can see that white gold has a greater percentage of silver and rose gold contains more copper – this, in simple terms, is how the different colours are created. Palladium, zinc and nickel are also sometimes used, particularly in white gold.
Did you know that 9ct gold actually contains more of the additional metals than the gold itself? This is why some designers and consumers don’t like to use it. However, while demand for handmade rose gold jewellery remains high, it’s unlikely we will see 9ct disappearing from stockists any time soon!
Does rose gold tarnish?
No, rose gold won’t tarnish provided it’s made from a mixture of pure gold, silver and copper alloys. You might find its appearance changes slightly over time – turning darker and slightly redder over time. However, this is a gradual and moderate change caused by the copper within the alloy oxidising and developing a darker patina.
How to clean rose gold jewellery
Although rose gold jewellery is durable, it still needs to be treated with real care. As with any piece of jewellery, you should avoid using any harsh chemicals to clean your pieces – as this can result in damage. Instead, soak in lukewarm soapy water for around 10 minutes, remove and scrub with a soft-bristled brush, and rinse with clean, lukewarm water before leaving to air dry.
You can also get specialist products, such as gold cleaning cloth, impregnated with cleaning agents, to bring the lustre back to your rose gold pieces, or gold jewellery polish, which you can simply dip your jewellery in and rinse.
Why is rose gold so popular?
Rose gold is the happy medium between the stark and modern appeal of white gold and the traditional and classic feel of yellow gold; in many ways, it almost feels like a new option for those looking for something different. Rose gold has a romantic feel to it which retailers have turned to their advantage using names like, blush, pink (and not forgetting rose) in descriptions, to capture the imagination of consumers to great effect.
Rose is a subtle and gentle colour which is luxurious and glamorous, without being as brash as some high carat yellow gold can be. Yellow gold has also suffered in popularity since the 1990s largely due to our associations of it with older generations. Despite a gradual comeback in recent years, yellow gold still has some way to go before it outsells the infinitely more contemporary white gold.
Creating handmade rose gold jewellery
Rose gold metal, however, cannot be pigeon-holed so easily, and has really come from behind to be the metal of choice during recent years. Only time will tell how long our love affair with rose will continue, but for now it is well and truly riding high.