How Pink Gold is Made- A History of Rose Gold
A Rich History
Rose gold was first used in the early 19th century. It is also known as "Russian gold" due to its connection to esteemed Russian Jeweler Carl Faberge, the creator of the infamous Faberge eggs. This fresh new style quickly grew in popularity, eventually enchanting the people of the United States during the roaring twenties. A main proponent of rose gold jewelry’s rise to fame was fashion label Cartier. The advent of their wildly popular “Trinity Ring” captivated the masses. The stunning ring was the first of its kind, featuring three colors of gold. Famed artist and writer Jean Cocteau was often seen wearing this Cartier ring which only fueled its renowned reputation.
Photo of a yellow gold ring next to a pink gold ring
Platinum jewelry overtook the market as the preferred metal throughout the 1930s. The onset of World War II in the 1940s meant platinum was needed for military use. Suddenly a scarce material, many countries forbid the use of platinum for non-military purposes. This gave rise to the popularity of rose gold jewelry once again. Since this time, rose gold has remained a popular style for wedding bands, engagement rings, necklaces, earrings, and more.
How Rose Gold is Made
Naturally formed gold can come in shades ranging from green to a yellowish red color. The intensity of these colors is usually dependent on other naturally occurring alloys and minerals in the area where the gold was unearthed.
Pure gold is too soft to be used in jewelry making so it is often mixed with copper alloys to help improve it’s durability. The amount of alloy metals added can change the karat, or unit of purity, of the gold being used. This is why jewelers will often note the purity of their gold jewelry by using terms like 14 karat gold or 18 K gold. The higher the karat, the higher the percentage of gold. This measurement helps people better understand the purity and price point of the item they are purchasing. Gold alloys include, but are not limited to: platinum, palladium, nickel, zinc, iron, copper, and sterling silver. These materials help to prevent scratches, dents, and blemishes.
The type and amount of compounds used to strengthen gold can also influence its color. Gold is naturally yellow-toned. When yellow gold is mixed with an alloy such as palladium or nickel, it will produce white gold which is later enhanced with rhodium plating. Similarly, rose gold, also called pink gold, is formed when yellow gold is mixed with a copper alloy. The amount of copper added to the gold will affect the gold tone. As copper is added, the gold will gradually take on more of its distinctive pink color.
Not only is rose gold a beautiful choice for any piece of jewelry, it is also a practical one. Nickel, a common metal additive found in white gold jewelry, is often noted to aggravate allergies. This is especially true for people with sensitive skin. It is important to note that not all white gold contains nickel. It may be important to discuss the composition of white gold with the jewelry artist. Since rose gold is made with copper, it is less likely to cause any type of reaction. This hypoallergenic combination unfortunately makes rose gold slightly harder to work with. As it is a very brittle metal, setting diamonds and other gems in rose gold requires a lot of time and patience on behalf of the jeweler. Rose or pink gold can require less maintenance than its yellow and white counterparts. This is due to the fact that rhodium plating used on white gold is prone to take damage over time.
Copper alloy rings may darken slightly as time passes, but the original color will simply change to a deeper red color. This can be seen as a benefit to some as they appreciate a more vintage vibe from their gold jewelry. Rose gold rings are a truly timeless style that pairs well with every skin tone, but gives fair skin tones a nice warm tone. The beautiful rose color makes perfect engagement rings and wedding bands, and also looks radiant when paired with both yellow and white gold. If rose gold is your style, our 18K Pink Gold Curb Link Chain Ring or 18K Pink Gold Rose Cut Diamond Neapolitan Ring might peak your interest!