White vs Yellow vs Rose Gold: What’s the Difference?

Those already familiar with the jewellery market will know that the real value is in the detail of every piece. One of the more challenging base details to master is colour and material. These can vary greatly between different pieces and items of jewellery, including rings, necklaces, and more.

Often overwhelmed with variety, the type of gold and its colour creates the base for all other decisions about a piece of jewellery. There are three colours of gold – white, yellow, and rose – and each carries different benefits and meanings bestowed onto the user.

Over the millennia, different styles and designs have thrust gold jewellery into the popular conscious and it has largely remained a key symbol of old-world luxury, prestige, and wisdom. So, why does the colour of gold matter?

The Different Shades of Gold

Gold can be classified by its carat weight (8 – 24k). When other base metals are introduced to gold, it can create variation in both colour and weight. The greater the presence of gold, the richer and warmer the tone of yellow in the final product.

Jewellery from India, for example, is a key source for high concentrate gold items. Softer, brighter gold products usually carry a higher carat weight (up to 24k).

As far back as the 19th century in Imperial Russa, Peter Carl Fabergé added copper as a base metal to create what become “Russian gold”. This is now what is known as rose gold, popularised in wedding bands.

In the 20th century, white metals (such as silver or palladium) were added to gold to create white gold. This colour and type of gold became especially popular when there were restrictions on platinum during WWII.

Rose gold vs yellow gold

Yellow Gold, explained

The primary colour associated with gold is a rich hue of yellow. It’s the type of gold most often associated with nature, spirituality, and royalty. Read on for a breakdown of yellow gold jewellery.

How “Pure” is Yellow Gold?

The colour and vibrancy of yellow gold has created something of a false perception that it’s the purest gold on the market. That’s because it looks natural, as if it were panned from a riverbank, or mined. In fact, yellow gold does contain metal alloys.

Why Does Yellow Gold Contain Alloys?

The type of yellow gold most often used in jewellery is an alloy, because it’s too soft to maintain a durable shape over time without this. When it comes to jewellery, yellow gold is the combination of other metals and pure gold, to give it lasting shape.

What’s the Difference Between Rose Gold vs Yellow Gold?

Yellow gold is more hypoallergenic than rose gold, which is determined by the alloys used in the metals.

Where rose gold gets its blush hue from copper, this can be an allergen for sensitive skin. If you have a copper sensitivity, many users may prefer yellow gold jewellery.

Is Yellow Gold Right for Me?

Yellow gold makes for an enchanting item of jewellery. Like other types of gold, it can feel eternally beautiful, but it has a versatility and durability associated with natural metals. Whether traditional or modern, yellow gold jewellery offers an adaptable look.

Rose gold

Rose Gold, explained

Rose gold is not considered a “pure” gold. The pinkish hue, which is now very popular for wedding rings, is the result of copper and gold combined. The colour of the gold will depend on its elemental composition, where other metals introduce different features and shades to the final product.

Where rose gold is predominately a copper and gold mix, white gold is most often composed from 75% gold, 25% nickel, and zinc. If it bears an 18-karat gold stamp, it’s composition will contain 75% gold.

White Gold, explained

A symbol of the modern market, white gold has become a popular choice for those searching for a sleeker, luxurious look. Here is a breakdown of white gold jewellery.

What’s the Main Difference Between White and Yellow Gold?

The difference between these types of gold comes down to elemental composition.

White Gold and Maintenance

Unlike yellow gold, white gold may require more maintenance to ensure its lasting sheen. In fact, to keep its appearance, white gold should be professionally “dipped” in rhodium, usually every two or three years.

Why Choose White Gold?

White gold and platinum look very similar, which makes this colour of gold look even more precious and coveted. Yet, unlike platinum, white gold is more affordable, making it a great alternative.

Why is Gold so Popular?

Where the affordability of silver and the durability of platinum has caused other materials to grow in popularity in wider fashion, gold remains a desirable option for jewellery.

Other materials offer practical benefits, but gold conjures an image of treasure, affluence, and a connection to regality, power, and enduring beauty. These connotations are well established in its history, its modern popularity, and its association with artisanal craftsmanship and innovation.

In recorded history, ancient gold has its roots as far back as 4400BC, but it’s role in crafting could date much earlier. The subject of discovery from an archaeological dig in modern-day Bulgaria, gold was uncovered from the Thracian Era. Gold has been used, traditionally, as an indicator of status and wealth, and has long been an area of fascination for historians. Due to its beings a comparatively softer metal, and for its resistance to tarnishing, the warm colour of gold has endured. Over the years it has been melted and shaped into coins, crowns, and jewellery.

Historians have collected stories associated with gold throughout its history, from the Etruscans (6 BC) to Elizabethan England (1558 – 1603), where it’s been viewed as something more than decorative, but also a sign of inventiveness and civilization.

Engagement ring

Gold Wedding and Engagement Rings

A popular choice for celebrating and cherishing key life moments, gold rings carry an enduring beauty and timelessness unlike other precious metals. Where silver and platinum are modern and sleek, gold invokes charm, royalty, and luxury that many brides have become enchanted with.

Shop Gold Jewellery at Chelsea Bijouterie

If you’re inspired by gold jewellery, explore timeless pieces with The Chelsea Bijouterie.