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What Color Gold is Best for Your Engagement Ring?

You’ve selected a beautiful diamond for your engagement ring and a style you know you’ll love forever. Now there’s one more decision that will make a big difference in the look of your engagement ring: the color of gold you choose.

The 2020 Jewelry and Engagement Study by wedding planning site The Knot, which polled 5,000 of the newly engaged about their wedding jewelry shows that white gold is still the most popular engagement ring metal.

One engagement ring in three different colors of gold

White gold engagement rings are the choice for 48% of couples, followed by 16% yellow gold engagement rings, 13% rose gold engagement rings and 13% platinum engagement rings.

Here’s everything you need to know about each engagement ring metal so you can make the right choice.

 White gold engagement rings

White Gold Engagement Rings

White gold pairs beautifully with colorless diamonds, creating a complementary background for lots of sparkle. White gold engagement rings with lots of small accent diamonds like pave or halos, are especially popular because the metal fades into the background so the smaller diamonds blend harmoniously together with the center diamond.

Gold is naturally golden in color, so getting it to turn white is quite a trick. 14k white gold is 58.5% gold, with the rest made up of other metals. To make gold white, gold is alloyed with white and gray metals, usually nickel, silver, zinc, or palladium, as well as some copper. Nickel is the most effective whitener but it isn't used as often as in the past because many people are sensitive to it. Because the alloy is mostly gold, it doesn’t become perfectly white. To get that bright shine, most jewelers plate white gold engagement rings with rhodium, a platinum group metal.

As you wear a white gold engagement ring, scratches can gradually remove the rhodium plating revealing the original color of the white gold underneath. This may appear as though the ring is yellowing or darkening. No worries: white gold rings can be replated with more rhodium. Consider it maintenance like changing the oil on your car.

Choose a white gold engagement ring to sparkle with a uniform icy shine.

 Yellow gold engagement rings

Yellow Gold Engagement Rings

Yellow gold needs no introduction: it’s gold. The gold standard. The golden ticket. The original precious metal, yellow gold is associated with the sun. Because in its pure state it is lustrous and easy to work, yellow gold artifacts span human history. Meghan Markle, Hailey Baldwin and Emily Ratajkowski are a few of the celebrities that have yellow gold engagement rings.

Yellow gold engagement rings are made from a blend of gold and other metals. The most common alloy in the United States is 14k gold, which is 58% gold and a mixture of other metals, including copper and zinc. These alloys make yellow gold engagement rings more durable while preserving gold’s working characteristics and warm yellow color.

Yellow gold engagement rings contrast with bright colorless diamonds, accenting their white appearance. In fact, the contrast effect works so well that a warmer colored diamond with a hint of yellow in the color will look whiter in a yellow gold engagement ring setting allowing you to save money by choosing a diamond with a lower color grade. Yellow gold settings also intensify the appearance of fancy yellow diamonds.

Yellow gold engagement rings wear well and last without any additional maintenance, although they will show scratches over time and wear thinner over decades.

Choose a yellow gold engagement ring to radiate a warm glow.

 Rose gold engagement rings

Rose Gold Engagement Rings

A flattering blush color, rose gold makes an engagement ring more romantic and feminine. Contrast makes your diamonds look whiter, allowing you to choose a lower color grade and save money. Rose gold engagement rings also enhance the color of pink, champagne and brown diamonds, bringing out pink undertones. Blake Lively, Lauren Conrad and Katy Perry are two of the celebrities who have rose gold engagement rings.

Rose gold has a softer, pinker color than yellow gold thanks to the addition of more copper in the alloy. Despite the addition of copper, 14k rose gold has exactly the same amount of gold as 14k yellow gold or white gold: it’s the other ingredients in the mix that change.

Rose gold engagement rings aren’t really rose in color, though. The color is much more subtle than that. It’s a few steps across the color wheel from yellow in the direction of pink. It's probably more accurate to call its color salmon or peach. The best way to see the color of rose gold is to put it next to yellow gold: maybe that’s why rose gold originally became popular in tri-color gold designs.

We recommend 14-karat rose gold engagement rings instead of 18k rose gold for two very important reasons. First, 14-karat rose gold has a much more noticeable pink hue because it has more copper in the mix. 18-karat rose gold is much more yellow than pink.  But the second reason we recommend 14k rose gold engagement rings is durability. Engagement rings made with 18k rose gold have issues with porosity: tiny pockets of air that can sometimes occur when you are casting jewelry. Porosity weakens the strength of the metal and makes it less resistant to daily wear over the decades.

Choose a rose gold engagement ring to express your singular style.