Rose Gold vs. Yellow Gold: How to Choose What Is Best for You

Both yellow and rose gold make for amazing accessories and give your outfits an elevated, stylish appearance. However, each type boasts its own special characteristics. Rose gold can add a gentle, warm feeling to your outfits, while yellow gold can give you sky-high confidence and a feeling of power. 

If you aren’t sure which type of gold you should wear, there are several elements you can consider to help you make your decision. When deciding between rose gold and yellow gold accessories, it is helpful to look at how each type of gold is made, what each type of gold says about you, and what personal elements to focus on to decide which type of gold accessory is right for you. 

What Is Yellow Gold?

Yellow gold is a naturally occurring metal that has been used to make jewelry for thousands of years. There is evidence that gold was used around the year 3000 BCE to create sophisticated jewelry in the Sumer civilization and that gold was used in Ancient Egyptian culture to make jewelry for the ruling pharaohs. Yellow gold is synonymous with wealth, status, and luxury to this day. 

The purity of yellow gold is measured in karats. Most yellow gold jewelry comes in 24k, 18k, 14k, and 10k varieties. 24k yellow gold is the purest form. 18k, 14k, and 10k yellow gold pieces are mixed with other metals, such as copper or zinc, to increase their hardness and durability.

An 18k piece contains approximately 75% pure yellow gold and is typically the highest karat value gold that jewelers work with, as 24k gold is too malleable and prone to scratching. 14k and 10k accessories are popular because they are more affordable for a wider range of wearers.  

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What Makes Yellow Gold Jewelry Popular?

Yellow gold jewelry has always been a popular choice for both men’s and women’s jewelry. While women tend to go for dainty yellow gold earrings or necklaces, men often opt for a heavy Cuban link gold chain or flashy gold nugget ring to show off their sense of style.  

There are several reasons that yellow gold accessories are consistently popular among male jewelry aficionados. Yellow gold:

  • Is easy to care for and doesn’t tarnish easily
  • Portrays a sense of power and wealth
  • Can give an edgy vibe
  • Shows an appreciation for jewelry craftsmanship
  • Allows men to accessorize and flaunt their style
  • Exudes confidence and charisma

What Is Rose Gold?

Rose gold is yellow gold mixed with copper. Copper is a natural metal with an orange hue, so, when mixed with pure yellow gold, it creates a pink-tinged final product. Rose gold has been around for a long time, possibly originating with jewelry created by Ancient Columbian civilizations. It became known in the modern era as Russian gold when the famous Faberge egg designer used it to create a gift for Empress Alexandra in the late 19th Century. 

The hue of rose gold is often referred to as blushing and elicited a sense of romance, flirtatiousness, and elegance. Rose gold comes in a variety of shades, from light pink to almost burnt orange. Classic rose gold contains about 75% gold and 22% copper with other trace elements, while a more pink-colored gold will contain less copper. 

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What Makes Rose Gold Jewelry Popular?

Rose gold’s popularity rises and falls but, most recently, rose gold has remained an extremely popular choice for fashion accessories like watches, chains, bracelets, and earrings for men and women. Rose gold bracelets the color of pink champagne bring a touch of warmth to your skin and a sense of bubbly playfulness to your ensemble.

Rose gold accessories are on-point right now for numerous reasons. Rose gold:

  • Is priced similarly to yellow gold
  • Looks great on all skin tones
  • Is more durable than yellow gold 
  • Is easy to care for
  • Portrays a softer, more gentle type of masculinity

How to Choose Between Yellow and Rose Gold

When deciding between rose gold and yellow gold, it’s best to consider several of the following elements. Once you think about factors, such as what outfit you are looking to accent or what overall message you want to send with your jewelry, you can make a choice that is best suited to your jewelry collection. 

Skin Tone

Skin Tone

There is no hard and fast rule about what type of gold you can wear based on your skin tone; however, the color of a gold accessory can highlight or clash with different skin undertones. 

Warm skin tones look great with classic yellow gold jewelry, while cooler skin tones look better with light pink rose gold pieces. For instance, a bold, vibrant yellow gold Rope chain would look great with a warmer skin tone because it doesn't clash with the green undertones in the skin, while a softer rose gold Mariner chain would look nice with a cool skin tone.

To figure out whether yellow gold or rose gold accessories work better for your skin tone,  determine your skin undertone and try to incorporate pieces that are recommended for your tone. 

One of the easiest ways to determine your skin undertone is to look at the color of the veins on the underside of your forearm. If they appear predominantly blue or purple, you have a cooler skin tone, while veins with a greenish hue mean you have warm-toned skin. If you struggle to find your veins, that may be because they blend with your skin tone, meaning your skin undertone is neutral. 

Outward Statement

The statement you want to make to the world helps narrow down whether you want to wear rose gold or yellow gold. Yellow gold is bold, flashy, in-your-face and a favorite metal among hip hop celebrities. When you want to give off an edgy, hip vibe or just want to shout your presence to everyone in the room, then yellow gold is a good choice. 

Rose gold is much more subtle. Its pink appearance gives a softer, more gentle sense of style. It adds a touch of bling but, even in flashy pieces like this diamond-encrusted Miami Cuban link rose gold chain, there is a certain understated elegance rather than pure boldness. If you are looking to accent your ensemble in a subtle way, rose gold may be the best option.

The Ensemble

The Ensemble

You’ll want to consider your ensemble or outfit when deciding between yellow and rose gold accessories. Elegant tan suits with cream-colored undershirts look amazing with rose gold jewelry for a wedding or otherwise fancy event. Rose gold jewelry looks equally grand with a simple V-neck gray sweater or even a champagne-colored t-shirt. Rose gold also looks great as a way to spice up a coffee-hued turtleneck at the office with a pair of neutral trousers. 

Yellow gold works well with ensembles that require a more bold approach. Try a yellow gold chain with a plain black or white t-shirt, designer jeans, and your favorite sneakers to highlight the way gold works to edge up everyday clothing. Alternatively, put on a yellow gold bracelet or ring with a deep-purple button-down for work or a finely cut suit that calls for lots of bright-yellow attention-grabbing gold. 

The Occasion

You should consider the occasion for your jewelry when choosing between yellow or rose gold. Since yellow gold can give off a more powerful, confident vibe, it might be a good choice for a summer party, a club event, or even a meeting where you want to show off your wealth and status. Always make sure your yellow gold chain or pendant helps you stand out in the right way for the event. 

If you are heading out on a date, a toned-down business meeting, or an evening outdoor gala, one of these red-toned rose gold chains works well. They can add pizzazz to your suit or button-down shirt while giving off calm, cool energy. A Hollow Byzantine rose gold chain shows off the visually fascinating chain pattern and looks great against your skin without overwhelming the ensemble. 

Color Combinations

Color Combinations

The colors you are wearing have an effect on whether yellow gold or rose gold is the better accessory. Rose gold looks amazing with grays, tans, creams, coffees, champagnes, whites, and blacks. The slight pink hue somehow brings out tones in these colors that make them look even more elegant and refined. Rose gold doesn’t look as good with yellows, oranges, and reds or solid dark blues, purples, or greens, so, if you’re wearing bold colors, choose yellow gold instead. 

Yellow gold’s boldness pairs perfectly with white or black, but also with those bold, primary colors that don’t suit rose gold. If you like to wear geometric patterns with vibrant colors or deep colors like hunter green or ocean blue, yellow gold works wonderfully. 

Aesthetic Preference 

The choice between rose gold or yellow gold accessories also comes down to your aesthetic preference. No one can tell you not to wear a piece of jewelry that you love. If you enjoy the blushing hue of rose gold, don’t let your skin tone or the outfits in your closet stop you. Likewise, if you prefer the shiny, sunny boldness of yellow gold, don’t be afraid to rock a classic, thick 14k gold chain that will make you feel like the king of the world. 

Available Styles

When deciding between rose gold and yellow gold, you may find a few more accessories available in yellow gold because jewelers use yellow gold more often. It also has a wider audience in terms of longevity. 

Frost NYC has an amazing selection of men’s chains in yellow, white, and rose gold. However, if you are in the market specifically for a men’s gold pendant, you will have more of a selection of yellow gold items. 


Storage and Cleaning

Rose gold is made of copper and gold, making it extremely durable and easy to care for. Rose gold needs to be cleaned every so often with a bowl of warm water, dish soap, and a soft towel to stay clean and shiny. It isn’t prone to denting or scratching because copper strengthens the gold. 

Yellow gold jewelry can be a little more high maintenance. The higher the karat, the more prone the piece to scratches and dents because pure gold is quite a soft metal. Although cleaning your yellow gold jewelry takes the same steps as rose gold pieces, removing dents or scratches may require polishing your jewelry or taking it to a professional. 

Potential Allergies

Metal allergies can range from tingeing your skin to causing dermatitis; severe allergic reactions can lead to respiratory distress. Yellow gold is generally considered the more hypoallergenic material. The lower the karat of gold, the more opportunity there is for an allergy to develop. 

Nickel is one of the worst culprits for metal allergies. Because lower karats of gold mean higher additions of other metals like nickel — or, in the case of rose gold, copper — it is best to opt for yellow gold jewelry with higher purity. 

If you have a metal sensitivity, choose yellow or rose gold of at least 18k to limit other metal additives. For metal serious metal allergies, you should identify the primary metallic cause of the allergy and avoid pieces made with this alloy.

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Rose vs. Yellow Gold: The Choice Is Up to You

When it comes to choosing between yellow gold and rose gold, the choice is up to you. Rose gold is more subtle than yellow gold and looks great on pretty much all skin tones, while yellow gold is a little more in-your-face and better suited for warm skin tones.

However, yellow gold never goes out of style, so it is not only a timeless style statement but also a better investment in your jewelry collection. Your best option is to pick one piece made of each type of gold to experiment with to decide which type of metal you truly like better. 

Frost NYC carries a massive selection of both rose gold and yellow gold chains, bracelets, rings, and earrings. When you shop our men’s chains, you can choose your thickness and length for most styles so that you get the perfect piece for your collection.

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September 17, 2021

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