Whether you’re buying jewellery for yourself or as a present, part of the fun is choosing a style which communicates a meaning behind the piece. You may want the jewellery to tell a story, symbolise an important moment, or simply slot into a curated collection with ease.
When choosing gold jewellery, one of the main things to consider is the colour. Gold comes in three distinct shades – yellow gold, white gold and rose gold – and each has its own charm and beauty.
To help you find the right gold for you, we’ve created this guide. We explain what each gold colour indicates about the metal, how it’s made, and the pros and cons of picking it for your special treasures.
Why do we have 3 different gold colours?
Gold is one of the most desirable and beautiful natural materials in the world. Thanks to this, people have found it captivating for centuries, and jewellers have pushed themselves to create pieces that both reflect and boost its appeal.
As gold is a very soft precious metal, however, jewellers have often wanted to harden it up to ensure that their gold jewellery stands the test of time. This has led to alloys, blends and new creations, which turn pure gold into a more resilient and workable material.
These creations have also resulted in three different shades of gold jewellery – yellow, white and rose. While each type of gold has its own distinct properties, all three are desirable and make for stunning gifts and treasures. With the modern demand for variety, different colours of gold are chosen more for their overall appearance and allure than their robustness. Below we explain what makes each hue so special.
About yellow gold
Yellow gold is a classic choice for a reason. Its warm tone and distinctive lustre look amazing on everyone, adding a touch of regality and brightness to any outfit. Yellow gold is also considered the ‘purest’ type of gold, as the colour matches the pure mined or panned material.
While it is true that 24k pure gold is exclusively yellow in colour, you can also find lesser karat jewellery in similar shades. Usually, however, lower karat yellow gold jewellery will be paler. This is because it contains alloy metals. For instance, 14k gold has a cooler tone as it is mixed with around 60% of other metals, like silver or zinc.
The deepness of the colour relates entirely to the purity of the gold, which means that higher karats like 18k and 24k are richer and warmer in appearance.
Why choose yellow gold?
If you’re considering yellow gold vs rose gold or white gold, there are a few things we think are important to bear in mind.
For starters, yellow gold is a timeless choice. It’s the colour we all associate with luxury and glamour. It’s also versatile as it suits both vintage and modern jewellery styles. You can opt for delicate yellow gold pieces set with diamonds, or the likes of 7879’s chunky minimalist designs.
When thinking of yellow gold vs rose gold for investment, yellow gold is the clear winner. You can only buy 24k gold in yellow because that colour is thanks to its purity. It’s this purity that also gives you a piece that retains its value for years to come.
About white gold
Striking and sophisticated, white gold is made up of pure gold alloyed with other metals such as zinc, nickel and copper. It’s these alloys which give it the whiter colour, meaning white gold is usually 14 or 18 karat gold.
Depending on the karat of the gold, the white colour will have a different tone. For example, 18 karat white gold has more of a champagne or warm grey tone. By contrast, 9k or 14k white gold seems brighter as it is mixed with a higher percentage of pale metals.
Although white gold is more robust than pure yellow gold due to the alloys, it does require more maintenance. White gold must be dipped in rhodium every few years to retain its lustre and bright appearance. Without this, the yellow of the gold underneath will start to show. Luckily, most jewellers will do this quickly for a small fee.
Why choose white gold?
White gold has become very popular in the last couple of decades thanks to its modern appearance and versatility. Although yellow gold has definitely made a fashion comeback recently, it did fall out of favour and white gold took its place.
Besides being less traditional than yellow gold, white gold is also sought-after thanks to its similarity in appearance to platinum. To an untrained eye, white gold easily mimics this luxury metal while being far more economical. White gold is also more durable than pure yellow gold, making it a popular choice for engagement and wedding rings.
If you’re comparing rose gold vs white gold, we’d go for the latter, as we think it has a more enduring and timeless quality. On the other hand, if you’re deciding between white gold and platinum, we’d definitely urge you to consider platinum instead.
White gold can be problematic for people with metal allergies as it contains nickel. In contrast, pure platinum is hypoallergenic. Pure platinum also retains its value much better and, in our opinion, looks better than white gold. You may pay more upfront for a beautiful platinum piece, but its coveted status makes it a great investment.
About rose gold
Glamorous and romantic, rose gold is a popular alloy made by combining pure gold with copper. The copper gives it a pinkish colour, which is why it’s also often referred to as pink or red gold.
Although many people think rose gold is a new invention, it was actually very fashionable in Tsarist Russia in the 19th century. In fact, some jewellers still sell it under the name ‘Russian gold’, especially if they’re talking about vintage pieces.
Rose gold is commonly made from 14k and 18k gold. Although 14k is the less pure choice, it’s actually more popular as the higher copper content gives rose gold jewellery a brighter, pinker hue. In contrast, 18k rose gold is a subtler blend of pink and yellow gold.
When looking at the price points of rose gold compared to gold, you may be surprised by the results. Although rose gold is less pure by nature, it can actually be more expensive due to its ‘trendy’ status. Many brides, for instance, choose rose gold due to its evocative appearance.
Rose gold’s vintage look conjures up ideas of unrequited love stories, sepia-coloured photographs, and the mystique of old Hollywood.
Why choose rose gold?
Despite the feminine and soft charm of rose gold, it actually tends to be the most durable of all the gold colours. This means if you’re deciding between rose gold or yellow gold, and want something long-lasting, then this rosy favourite may be right for you.
That said, while rose gold may physically stand the test of time, it’s much less ageless than yellow gold. Rose gold comes in and out of fashion quickly and can sometimes look passé. Consider how ubiquitous rose gold-toned accessories were just a few years ago – found everywhere from kitchen fittings to phone cases. Now, these pieces look cheap and outdated.
If you want jewellery you’ll treasure forever, we think yellow gold is the better choice. It’s also a far better investment, as rose gold can go through periods of unpopularity.
Ultimately, there’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to choosing between yellow, white and rose gold. It all comes down to your personal style and what you’re looking for in your jewellery pieces. If you simply want something dazzling for yourself or a loved one, you can’t go wrong with any of the gold colours.
Gold will always be enchanting and treasured, no matter its hue.
On the other hand, if you’re thinking about buying a classic piece that could make a great investment, yellow gold is the way to go. Pure 24k gold is the best gold investment you can make, and this always comes with a unique yellow glow.
Finally, if you prefer cool-toned jewellery, but still want it to retain value, we’d suggest looking into platinum instead. Platinum is modern, luxurious, and highly sought-after. These features make it more of a stable investment than white gold.
We hope this guide has helped you to decide which precious metal to choose. Whether you’ve made your mind up or are still unsure, why not browse our selections of beautiful 24k gold jewellery and pure platinum jewellery for inspiration?
All 7879 jewellery is made of pure materials and priced by weight. We also offer a range of timeless designs for all genders and styles, allowing you to find a unique and valuable piece for yourself or your loved ones.