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Rose Gold: How to Style a Classic Metal for Modern Trends

Rose gold: the best metal for bold yet understated style...

If you like to stand out among the crowd, finding the right piece of jewelry to compliment your unique style can be difficult. The boldness of yellow gold or refined color of white gold just may not send the right message for your look. If these metals just don’t fit the bill, it may be time to try a rose gold piece that can breathe new life into your personal style.😘

Rose gold is delicate, whimsical, and full of deeper meaning, and its color is unlike any other jewelry metal. In fact, rose gold has taken the fashion world by storm, becoming a popular choice among consumers in a matter of years. But where does rose gold come from? And, how can I style my rose gold? Let’s discuss the origins of rose gold, styling methods, and how it’s reshaping current fashion trends.🤖

Wedding Bands in Rose Gold Metal: Showed With Floral Decor

The popularity and symbolism of rose gold

Why is rose gold so popular?

Although Pantone’s “rose quartz”—also known as “Millennial Pink”—was the color of the year in 2016, the hype surrounding this rosy tone has yet to die down.

The major influence seems to be Apple’s release of the iPhone 6S in rose gold. Buyers clamored to purchase the pink phone, and Apple added a rose gold option for their watches soon after. Since then, rose gold has become a popular option for all electronics.

The color is no longer reserved for just metal either: every day a new rose gold fashion trend seems to appear. 👚Women around the world wear rose gold clothing, bags, and other accessories, transforming the color’s meaning in each instance. The trend has even reached other areas of beauty and body modification, with new fads such as rose gold hair color. Rose gold can even be found on appliances, in home decor, and in pet accessories. The tone has taken the world by storm, but what does this color even mean?

What does rose gold symbolize?

Many people enjoy wearing rose gold because of the color’s symbolism. First and foremost, rose gold is tied to images of love and romance. Its pink hue reminds the wearer of hearts, flowers, and many of the other amorous symbols. Similarly, rose gold symbolizes endearment, and it’s a perfect gift for a loved one. The pinkish tones also signify femininity, though rose gold is not reserved for just women and looks great on men as well.

Groom and Bride Hold Their Rose Gold Wedding Bands

Rose gold often symbolizes affluence, though the metal itself is an affordable option due to the cost of its alloy components. Despite its budget-friendly price tag, rose gold has an elegant look that appeals to high-end designers, and their inclusion of rose gold in fashion has created an elevated image of the alloy.

Rose gold means different things to different people, and you may even find your own meaning in your rose gold piece!

A brief history of rose gold and its place in fashion

Rose gold’s rise to fame

Originally called “Russian gold”, jeweler Carl Faberge is reported to have created the alloy in the 19th century while trying to blend metals to create a blush tone. If the name Faberge sounds familiar, that’s because this is the same man who created the elaborate Faberge Eggs beloved by the Czar and his family!

Although rose gold became a favorite metal choice for some, it didn’t become truly popular until the 1920’s. During that time, Cartier adopted rose gold into its classic Trinity Ring. However, the hype eventually died down with the financial crash of 1929, and white metals became the crowd favorite once more.

At the onset of World War II, the most precious white metal, platinum, became a strategic metal used in war efforts. Due to military demand for platinum, popular opinion shifted back toward yellow and rose gold. This trend would last almost another decade before giving way to white metals again.

Love of rose gold revitalized once more in the mid-2010’s, and the color has been on the rise ever since.📈

Rose gold in fashion

Oftentimes, fashion focuses on the generation most likely to buy into new trends, and the current focus generation is Millennials. Millennial fashion focuses on colors, patterns, and jewelry that compliment the wearer’s specific skin tone and features.

Additionally, Millennials tend to choose items based on whether they will be able to use them in multiple settings—casual, professional, formal, etc. Rose gold is the perfect metal for such fashion requirements, as its color looks great on all skin tones and can be dressed up or down with the right accessories.

High-end jewelers still use rose gold metal to transform classic looking pieces into works of art. For instance, Tiffany & Co., in addition to selling rose gold has even created their own version of rose gold called Rubedo. Other designers have also followed the rose gold trend by adding it to handbags, clothing, and even wedding accessories to provide an elevated pop of color.

Rose gold is also extremely popular in “influencer” culture on Instagram, where every aspect of someone’s outfit, activities, and life must look perfect. Rose gold photographs well and always shows up vibrantly in photos. As a result, it is a staple color for props, clothing, and accessories to make images appeal to viewers.

Finally, rose gold offers an antique, romantic look when used in engagement rings. The trend has become so popular that even Hollywood stars have become fans. Famous women such as Lauren Conrad, Blake Lively, and Leighton Meester proudly wear rose gold engagement rings!

Alison Brie and Her Rose Gold Round-Cut Diamond Engagement Ring
Source: Brides

Rose gold FAQ

What is rose gold?

In short, rose gold is an alloy, and it’s a combination of gold, silver, and copper. Because gold is so naturally soft, silver and copper are added for strength, and copper gives rose gold a reddish tint. Similar to white and yellow gold, the percentage of each metal in rose gold depends on its karatage.

There is no 24K rose gold, as it is a heavily mixed alloy. As such, the most common karatage is 18K rose gold, which is 75% gold, 22.25% copper, and 2.75% silver. You can also find 14K rose gold—about 58% gold, 10% silver, and 32% copper—and 10K, which is about 41% gold, 20% silver, and 40% copper.  

Karat Composition
18K Rose Gold 75% gold, 22.25% copper, and 2.75% silver
14K Rose Gold 58% gold, 10% silver, and 32% copper
10K Rose Gold 41% gold, 20% silver, and 40% copper

Is rose gold durable?

While pure gold is very soft, rose gold is actually very durable. Rose gold is the strongest metal alloy due to its copper content. Experts suggest copper is one of the most durable metals, so adding it to gold makes for a sturdy alloy that can easily withstand daily wear.

Is rose gold hypoallergenic?

The one major drawback to rose gold is it is not hypoallergenic. Despite copper creating a solid rose gold alloy, unfortunately, it is a common allergen and may cause a reaction for some wearers.

If you are unsure whether or not you are allergic to copper but definitely want to try rose gold, just be cautious and watch for allergy symptoms. Copper can cause itching, burning, small bumps on the skin, and a greenish stain on sensitive skin. If you have any of these symptoms, consider trying another metal that is more suited to allergies: white and yellow gold as well as platinum are hypoallergenic.

Groom and Bride's Hands With Rose Wedding Rings

Does rose gold tarnish?

Rose gold does not tarnish naturally. However, that does not mean it doesn’t require regular upkeep to maintain its glow. If not properly taken care of, rose gold will darken with age, and its bright pink color will begin to fade. Make sure you learn how to clean rose gold below to properly care for your pieces!

Even with proper care, rose gold will eventually dull after many years of wear. However, this is not a sign of negligence! Rather, the copper in rose gold alloy eventually darkens over extended exposure to oxygen. As this process happens, your rose gold will acquire a darker, antique look that you may even prefer to the original color.

How do I clean my rose gold?

When cleaning rose gold, you should stick to water and dish soap or commercial cleaners. Do not use a vinegar mix or anything similar to avoid damaging your product.

Simply add about two inches of warm water to a bowl and add some dish soap. Next, swirl the dish soap around in the water with your hand and add your rose gold pieces. Then, let your rose gold sit in the water for two minutes.⏱

Once the two minutes is complete, remove your piece and examine it for any additional debris. If it’s still dirty, lightly brush it with a soft toothbrush to loosen dirt. Finally, run your piece under lukewarm water to rinse it, and dry it with a clean cloth.

Rose gold alternatives⚖️

Rose gold vs. red gold vs. pink gold

In addition to rose gold, red and pink gold also exist. These metals provide much of the same appeal as rose gold, but they are slightly different. While their colors are almost identical, these three alloys contain varying amounts of copper.

If we use rose gold’s copper content—22.25%—as a baseline, red gold has more copper at 25%. This higher copper content gives it a deeper tone when compared to rose gold. In contrast, pink gold has less copper at 20%, which means its color is delicate and may have a slightly yellowish hue in certain pieces.

This means these pieces also have more or less silver. For instance, compared to rose gold’s 2.75% silver, pink gold has 5% silver and red gold has no silver at all.

Ternary Plot of Different Colors of Ag–Au–Cu Alloys
Ternary plot of different colors of Ag–Au–Cu alloys | Source: Wikipedia

Rose gold vs. yellow gold

Some buyers may prefer the sunny shine of yellow gold to the pink tone of rose gold. Other than color, 18K yellow gold and 18K rose gold have the same amount of gold in their alloy, but the other ingredients vary slightly. For instance, yellow gold alloy may also contain nickel. Individuals with skin allergies should be wary of either metal, depending on whether they have copper or nickel sensitivities.

Rose gold vs. copper

As previously discussed, copper is a component in rose gold, but it is also a standalone metal. Dating back to the 8th century B.C., copper is a redder, cheaper alternative to rose gold jewelry. Copper does appear as the primary metal in some pieces, such as stamped jewelry, but it is infrequently used in high-end products. Unlike rose gold, copper will turn green over time, and it can even turn the wearer’s skin green temporarily! If you’d prefer a lower maintenance alloy, stick with rose gold.🧐

Wearing rose gold with other metals or gemstones

Mixing metals with rose gold

Rose gold complements both white and yellow metals to provide a refined, mixed metal look. Together, yellow and rose gold bring out each other’s brightest tones, and the mix looks sleek with monochromatic outfits.

Additionally, white and rose gold are perfect for professional settings and casual looks, as the bluer notes of white metal make rose gold’s shine more subtle and elegant. Or, combine all three metals to create a beautiful blend of gold. Because rose gold looks great with every metal, you can pair it with anything in your jewelry box to create a completely unique look each day.

14K Trio-Color Italian Gold Love Knot Earrings
Find more details of this trio-color love knot earrings.

Rose gold and gemstones

When it comes to gemstones, rose gold also looks great with both warm and cool stones.

For instance, warm stones like morganite—such as in this ring from Brilliant Earth—and garnet bring out the pinker hues of rose gold. In contrast, cooler stones like amethyst, emerald, and sapphire accent the icy tones of silver within rose gold. And, of course, diamonds look incredibly luxe when set in a rose gold setting.

14K Morganite Rose Ring by Brilliant Earth
See this morganite halo style diamond ring.

If you’re looking for something striking, consider mixing rose gold with something bold like black diamonds. The sunny metal looks chic and sharp when paired with a deep stone!😎 Or, add pearls, opals—like in this ring at Nordstrom Rack—or other opaque stones to create a classic, airy look.

What will look best on you depends on skin tone, features, and personal style, so mix and match stones with rose gold to find the best look for you!

Styling rose gold: occasions, colors, and more

What occasions are perfect for rose gold?

Rose gold looks amazing in any setting, but styling it properly can make a huge difference. For instance, for a casual look, consider pairing a delicate rose gold necklace—like this one from Blue Nile—with a v-neck t-shirt. Or, wear something higher necked and opt for a thin, rose gold chain to complete your look. You can also stack rose gold rings or wear a classy rose gold solitaire ring instead.

Classic Solitaire Diamond Ring in Rose Metal: Kay Jewelers
Photo: Kay Jewelers

For more formal events, rose gold looks great whether you choose dainty or bold pieces. 🤩A long formal dress looks great with large rose gold earrings, whereas any outfit with a plunging neckline pairs well with long rose gold necklaces.

For the office, small accents, such as rose gold stud earrings, add a bit of flair to any outfit without overdoing it. A rose gold watch is also a perfect accessory to draw attention in a business meeting!

For special occasions, such as your own wedding, consider making rose gold your metal of choice for any bridal jewelry. For men wanting a unique wedding look, a rose gold wedding band will flatter any color suit, especially black or dark navy. The sweet pink tone of rose gold pairs well with white and ivory wedding dresses, and it will complement any skin tone or hair color.

What colors look good with rose gold?

Colors

Although rose gold clothing and accessories look great with any color, there are certain tones that will make your whole ensemble pop. Neutral colors, such as white, cream, black, and gray, look chic when paired with rose gold.

If you’re looking to make a bolder statement, consider deep colors such as blue, scarlet, or even purple. Or, you can assemble a lighter, professional look by adding rose gold to teal, light blue, or lilac-colored outfits. Finally, if you just want to embrace all the glory of rose gold, consider pairing it with a light pink outfit.👗

Patterns

Outside of colors, you can add patterns to your rose gold look to create an entirely different outfit. Floral patterns make rose gold pop, and geometric patterns paired with large rose gold pieces make a big statement. Or, you can try a metallic top or shoes with your rose gold pieces to achieve that “mixed metal” look.

Rose gold means forever

Rose gold is a perfect blend of gold’s royal legacy and modern interest in new and exciting ways to express one’s self. It’s perfect for daily wear, and it can even last for decades as a family heirloom. Rose gold engagement rings are also a perfect way to express true love, as the alloy’s pinkish hue calls to mind images of romance.❤️

While rose gold may have taken a little longer to finally reach popularity, it is here to stay as a common staple in fashion. From Apple Watches to engagement rings, rose gold is a versatile metal alloy that has captured the imagination of the masses.