Rose gold is a beautiful precious metal with a rosy sheen. It’s a romantic choice for engagement rings and popular in other jewellery too. But what exactly is it? Find out below.
What is rose gold is made of?
Rose gold is a mixture of yellow gold, copper and silver. The copper gives it a redded color than yellow gold naturally has.
The silver helps to tone down the redness of the copper, achieving a subtle pink shade.
So is it real gold?
Yes. When it comes to purity, rose gold is no different from yellow gold or white gold.
UK hallmarked 18K gold contains 75% gold. 9K gold contains 38% gold. This is regardless of whether the gold is white, yellow or rose coloured.
Do check that the jewellery you buy is legally UK hallmarked though. It’s the only sure way to know you’re getting the real deal.
Why does it have to be mixed with other metals?
Gold on its own is too soft to be used in its purest form. A piece of jewellery made out of pure gold would quickly bend out of shape.
That’s why gold, whatever the colour variation, must always be mixed with harder metals. In the case of rose gold, one of the metals used to harden the gold is copper.
This does not take away from the value of the gold in any way, but simply gives the gold a rigid shape – and a unique rosy glow.
Does it chip or tarnish?
No, it does not chip. The copper within it can darken slightly with age, making its pink luster appear a little redder than when you bought it.
This is a natural feature that is considered desirable, because it gives rose gold jewellery an exquisite vintage look.
Is it suitable for engagement rings?
Yes, it is highly suitable for all types of fine jewellery items. Including engagement rings.
Copper is a very durable metal. When mixed in with gold it helps preserve the shape and surface of your jewellery.
There’s also a further benefit. When compared to white gold (which is rhodium coated to give it a whiter surface) rose gold jewellery won’t require any maintenance during its lifetime.
Who invented rose gold?
No one knows exactly who came up with the idea of adding copper to gold.
But we do know that rose gold first became popular in Russia at the beginning of the 19th century.
That’s why in history books it is often referred to as “Russian gold”.
Why do people say it has a “vintage look”?
Again and again, rose gold has peeked during famous historical design periods.
After it was first popularised in Russia during the 1800s, it next became fashionable during Queen Victoria’s time.
Later, this red variety of gold experienced another strong revival during the 1920’s Art Deco era. “Tri-coloured” rings with yellow, white and rose gold were particularly popular.
View Tri Colour Gold Ring with Diamonds
After the Roaring Twenties, the trend wavered. By 1935, platinum was the most popular precious metal used in jewellery.
However, World War II meant that platinum suddenly became a valuable mineral needed for war efforts.
Once again, this blushing gold tone made a comeback. That’s why it features so strongly in 1940’s and 1950’s retro jewellery.
Why is it so popular now?
In terms of fashion, rose gold is a subtle yet rich looking metal. Its recent use in watches and even iPhones has brought it back into jewellery.
For those of us who love to experiment with colour in jewellery, the trend’s return is a welcome change. Up until recently the market was dominated by white gold and platinum.
Gold with pink tones tends to complement all skin tones, so it’s very easy to wear. Many people also consider it the most romantic precious metal because of its pink lustre.
Above all, this beautiful variation of gold has a distinct vintage feel. It reminds us of Old World luxury. This makes it exclusive and desirable to modern day jewellery lovers.
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