Yellow, White and Pink: What’s Special about Different Colors of Gold?

Is yellow gold more expensive than white? Should you pay extra for a pink or rose gold jewel? What exactly gives each metal its unique colour and how do they differ from each other? We answer these questions and more in this article to help you make the best decision when purchasing different colors of gold jewellery.

Coloured Golds Explained

What is Yellow Gold?

A common misconception about yellow gold is that it is unadulterated with other metals. However, yellow gold used in jewellery is often an alloy that mixes in percentages of zinc and copper to keep the material more durable.

This is because pure gold – 24 karat – is quite soft and can easily be scratched. The lower the karat, the lower the gold content. 18k and 14k gold is often used for jewels to withstand the wear and tear of regular use

Yellow gold with a high karat value can be easily damaged and jewels in regular use needs to be polished often to maintain its lustre.

Yellow Gold & Allergies

Yellow gold usually agrees with most skin types unless alloyed with a high percentage of another metal. Buying gold (and not gold plated jewellery) of a higher karat grade should solve this.

Skin Tones for White Gold

Goes beautifully with all skin tones but looks especially lovely against darker skin.

What is White Gold?

White Gold may look like a metal on its own but it is really pure gold alloyed with a white metal that produces its wonderful colour. Metals such as palladium, manganese, or nickel are combined. White gold is more withstanding of wear and tear such as denting and scratching. It is generally stronger than yellow gold.

It is a good alternative to platinum which can be considerably more expensive. While good should also be dipped every two to four years to regain its beautiful sheen. Ask your jeweller about this service which is quite inexpensive if not free.

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White Gold & Allergies

Nickel is a metal that is often added to make white gold but it can cause allergic reactions in some. Make sure you look for an alloy without nickel if you are allergic.

Skin Tones for White Gold

Looks great contrasting against dark skin and also against fair and rosy skin with pink tones.

Rose Gold

Red Gold or Rose Gold is a gold and copper alloy. Rose gold is popular, especially in women’s jewellery, for its romantic hue and genteel beauty.

It is sometimes combined with white or yellow gold for unique multi-coloured gold jewellery. Of the three types of gold, rose gold is the most durable. Because copper is a strong metal, this allow is more sturdy than yellow or white gold.

Rose Gold & Allergies

Copper can cause allergic reactions in some people who have sensitive skin. If you are prone to allergies it is best to stick to yellow gold.

Skin Tone for Rose Gold

Good choice for warmer skin tones. Also looks lovely and bold against pale skin.

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Coloured Gold Care

Pure gold does not tarnish easily. However, the metals mixed in, when in contact with air, undergo oxidation which results in a tarnished surface. Tarnishing is usually visible every few months depending on exposure – rose gold, in particular, tends to tarnish fastest.

Moisture speeds up the tarnishing process. Perspiration, which is essentially rich in sodium chloride – common salt, can also cause tarnishing, as well as agents such as perfume and deodorant. To remove surface tarnishing of gold jewellery, add a few drops of mild dishwashing liquid (which does not contain phosphate) to lukewarm water and wipe the dull parts with a cotton swab.

Do not use toothpaste or baking soda to clean gold – these are very abrasive. Dry the jewels carefully with a soft piece of cloth and lay it down on a cloth to air dry. When it is dry, gently wipe it again with a soft cloth to polish it. To maintain its lustre, cleaning and polishing is advised at regular intervals when the metal looks dull. If tarnish is still noticed, it should be sent to the jeweller for cleaning.


  1. Sriya
    August 8, 2018 / 7:56 pm

    Great article for knowledge on the different colors of gold and to understand why the pricing differs varies

    • jeweladmin
      September 3, 2018 / 1:58 pm


  2. Ian
    August 16, 2018 / 11:14 am

    Hi, Great Article, Just wanted to know, Is white gold more expensive than yellow gold?

    • jeweladmin
      September 3, 2018 / 1:58 pm

      The price difference is often negligible between yellow and white gold if the quantity of real gold contained in the jewel is the same – that is, if it is the same karat weight. White gold can end up being a tad more expensive if it is plated in rhodium to get a bright white finish. Read this article on the different types of gold to know more.