Going for the Gold: Understanding Rose Gold, Metal Karats, and Precious Metal Alloys - Bario Neal

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Going for the Gold: Understanding Rose Gold, Metal Karats, and Precious Metal Alloys

In an era of trends that enter the market as quickly as they become a staple, rose gold has had a stronghold on the jewelry market for close to a decade. With origins in Russian Fabergé eggs and an uptick in popularity during the 1920’s, rose gold has ebbed and flowed in popularity for years, and with the return of vintage aesthetics, so comes the return of rose gold. From wedding bands to engagement rings to earrings, rose gold’s versatility has made it an essential offering for all occasions, but what is it, how is it made, and how can it be distinguished from other precious metals? With so many offerings on the market, it’s important to know the details of what you’re getting into before you take the dive, and to know the differences between precious metals before you make design decisions. 

Custom Marquise Cut Opal and Morganite Cluster Ring and Custom Band in 14kt Rose Gold

Rose gold, like white gold or yellow gold, is an alloy, meaning it’s a combination of pure gold with other metals that change the color and carat. By combining gold with different metals, you get different tones— from rose-tints to buttery yellow— and with those different tones and karats, you also get different levels of durability. Rose Gold, which is made most commonly by blending gold with copper at different ratios, making it either an 18 karat or 14 karat precious metal (karats are measured by the percentage of gold in an alloy, with more gold making it a higher karat. 24 karat gold is pure gold, 14 karat gold is 58.3% gold, 18 karat gold is 75% gold). Copper gives rose gold its iconic pinkish hue, whereas our white golds are blended with nickel, copper and zinc to give it a cooler, silvery hue. Bario Neal offers a 14kt recycled rose gold, which gives our rose gold the tint— more copper, more color. Rose gold and other alloys such as white gold will offer a distinct color, even at a higher karat. 

While people generally think of higher karats as being better, this is not necessarily the case, especially depending on what kind of wear you expect your jewelry to get. Gold, when not alloyed with other metals, is very soft, and while 24kt gold implies that the gold is at its purest, that also means it is at its softest and most likely to see wear more quickly. When choosing between 18kt and  14kt precious metals, there isn’t too much variation in terms of durability, however you might expect to see some wear just slightly earlier on an 18 karat precious metal. We typically recommend a 14kt gold for a very delicate setting and 18kt gold for clients who want a bolder, more buttery finish. 

Reticulated Five Band in 18kt Yellow Gold

Another big factor in determining what precious metal to choose, be it for a custom wedding band or an everyday-wear pair of earrings or necklace, is how active your lifestyle is. If your day-to-day doesn’t involve working with your hands all too much, then a precious metal with a higher karat could be a perfect fit. If your lifestyle involves a lot of moving around and a lot of potential for wear and tear, we recommend a more durable choice that won’t give as easily, such as platinum. Platinum is also an excellent choice for those who need a hypoallergenic option; its purity makes it an easy option for sensitive skin. Each precious metal offers its own set of unique properties that can work for your lifestyle. 

Collection Rings + Bands in 14kt Yellow Gold + 14kt White Gold

As always, the metals that Bario Neal works with all meet our criteria for quality and durability, as well as sustainability. We proudly offer Fairmined and reclaimed gold extracted by small-scale and artisanal miners and US refineries to ensure that our precious metals are not only of the highest quality, but sourced with the highest ethical standards. We provide virtual and in-store consultation (at both our Philadelphia and New York locations) with our clients to ensure that the product they’re getting– be it for a wedding band or a pair of earrings— are matched with both what you’re looking for stylistically and how that style will fit into your everyday needs. So if you’re hopping on the rose gold train, or just looking for something with the greatest durability, Bario Neal will work with you to ensure that you’re making a choice that serves your style and wear needs!