Yellow Gold, White Gold & Rose Gold — What Are the Differences?

One of the most beloved metals, gold has stood the test of time and evolving tastes. Highly popular amongst the old and young generations alike, owning a piece of gold jewelry is a matter of pride and is on the wishlist of many. Rose gold, yellow gold, and white gold are the types of gold that people buy most often. 

Whether you want an investment piece, something to feel pretty in, or something as a gift for someone else, knowing a little bit about what you are buying is sure to make the job easier. This is a guide to the three types of gold, what they are made up of and how the end pieces are different from each other.


The original product, and what most of us envision when we think of gold, is a malleable metal with a beautiful yellow color that won’t tarnish with age. It is available in several shades of yellow, depending on where it was mined and what it was alloyed with. Jewelry made from gold has been found by archaeologists in settlements that date back to the Stone Age. Gold jewelry is yellow in color and can be beset with precious stones but is slightly fragile due to its malleability.

fine jewelry

White Gold

White gold is made by mixing gold with metals like palladium, nickel, and zinc, which give a paler coloring to the final metal. Finished with rhodium treatment, it is so lustrous it is almost white in color. Originally made to imitate platinum jewelry, white gold now has a place of its own in the jewelry market, with many people choosing this high-shine metal for engagement rings and bangles.  The rhodium finish may need to be repeated if the jewelry loses its shine over time. This bracelet from Van Cleef & Arpels is a beautiful example of what can be achieved using white gold.

white gold jewelry

Van Cleef & Arpels Perlée Signature 18k White Gold Bracelet

Rose Gold

Rose gold is an alloy made from gold mixed with silver and copper, which changes the color to give a pinkish hue and makes the metal sturdier and less likely to bend or break. First used by Carl Faberge in his famous jeweled eggs, the color and hardiness of rose gold made it very popular. Wedding rings and eternity rings can often be found in rose gold. This Bvlgari Serpenti ring shows the delicate hue of the metal against the sheen of diamonds, whilst this Cartier necklace shows the effect of rose gold on chunky jewelry.

bvlgari rose gold earrings

Karat Rating

The karat rating on your jewelry simply references how much gold is in there. 24kt is pure gold, alloyed with nothing. 18kt gold means that 18 parts are gold and 6 parts are other metals. Similarly, 9kt gold means 9 parts are gold, and 13 parts are other metals.

Although buying gold jewelry is usually an exercise in aesthetics, thinking about what type of gold is best or most suitable for your situation will positively affect your shopping and your personal collection. 

6 Classic Designer Bracelets in Different Types of Gold

Bvlgari Bvlgari 18k Rose Gold Flip Bracelet

alhambra bracelet 5 motifs

Van Cleef & Arpels 18K Yellow Gold Vintage Alhambra Bracelet

cartier love diamond bracelet

Cartier Love Diamond 18k Two Tone Gold Double Bangle

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