The Three Colors of Gold: Explained

    What is the difference between rose gold, white gold, and yellow gold? While all three metals are stunning in any setting, each shade of gold is best suited for different situations, skin tones, and lifestyles. This article will help you decide which color of gold is best suited for you.

    What Gives Gold Its Color?

    In today’s jewelry industry, gold is available in nearly every color under the sun. The most popular colors of gold are Yellow, Rose, and White. Different colors of gold are created by combining pure gold with a mixture of other metals. For example:

    • Rose gold is created by mixing gold and copper
    • Yellow gold is created by mixing gold, copper, and silver
    • White gold is created by mixing gold, nickel, and zinc

    Karat Weights Explained

    is 24k gold really the best gold

    You’ve undoubtedly heard the infamous Bruno Mars song “24k Magic”, but what does this number actually mean? Is 24k gold really the best gold? Surprisingly, no!

    The karat weight of gold refers to the purity of the piece. To help you understand, we put together a breakdown of the differences between gold’s many karat weights:

    • 14k- 58.3% Pure Gold
    • 18k- 75% Pure Gold
    • 22k- 91.7% Pure Gold
    • 24k- 99.9% Pure Gold

    Sadly for gold lovers, gold is a very soft metal. For example- If you were to hold a piece of 24k gold in your hand, you could easily dent the surface of the metal with your fingernail. It is for this reason that Rockford Collection only uses 14k and 18k gold in our pieces. These karat weights are a mixture of pure gold and other metals that provide durability to the mixture. The lower the karat weight, the less likely it is to scratch or dent during every-day wear.

    wich gold is more durable

    (extreme example of a dented ring)

    Not only does the karat weight indicate durability, but it also plays a role in how vivid the color of your jewelry will be. As you can see in the image below, the higher the karat weight, the more vibrant the color appears. This is thanks to the higher concentration of gold in the higher karat weights.

    14k yellow gold vs 18k yellow gold

    14k gold (left) vs 18k gold (right)

    While all three colors of gold are beautiful in their own right, each color has its own set of benefits and drawbacks that you should keep in mind:

    Yellow Gold

    unique diamond rings for men and women


    • Color will not fade over time
    • Hypoallergenic - Low probability of allergic reaction
    • Ideal for darker to medium skin tones
    • Classic, timeless color


    • Higher tendency to scratch or damage from regular wear and tear
    • The higher the karat weight, the softer the metal will be

    Click here to see Rockford Collection’s selection of Yellow Gold Rings

    White Gold

    mens unique diamond wedding band


    • More resistant to wear and tear than yellow gold
    • More affordable than platinum, the other commonly used white metal
    • Ideal for fair skin tones
    • Chic, cool color


    • Needs to be replated with Rhodium every few years to retain its bright white finish
    • Slightly Hypoallergenic - Sometimes causes allergic reactions due to Nickel alloys

    Click here to see Rockford Collection’s selection of White Gold Rings

    Rose Gold

    rose gold wedding bands


    • Very durable, does not damage easily thanks to its high copper content
    • Least expensive color option
    • Ideal for warm to neutral skin tones
    • Trendy, attention grabbing color


    • Non-Hypoallergenic - Has a chance of causing allergic reactions in sensitive skin because of the copper levels

    Click here to see Rockford Collection’s selection of Rose Gold Rings


    unique diamond bands for men and women


    At the end of the day, the most important factor when purchasing any piece of jewelry is how the piece makes you feel. If you feel confident, empowered, and ready to rock, that’s all that really matters. But, when you want some help with your decision as to which color of gold is best for you, you can always come back to this gold color master guide for reference.

    Final Tips to Remember (Gold Karat):

    • Higher the karat weight = Higher purity, higher cost, lower durability
    • Lower karat weight = Lower purity, lower cost, higher durability

    Final Tips to Remember (Gold Color):

    • Rose gold has the lowest cost and greatest strength, but can cause allergic reactions
    • White gold is significantly more affordable than platinum, the other white metal
    • Yellow gold has the highest cost and softest strength, but is completely allergen free

    To see the differences in rose, yellow, and white gold for yourself, book an appointment with a Rockford Collection ring specialist either in person or from the comfort of your own home by clicking here.