Which Should You Own: White Gold vs Rose Gold?

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Gold jewelry is undoubtedly a piece you should have in your prized jewelry collection. It is generally regarded as a symbol of class, durable, and can be a good investment. If you already have a couple of yellow gold pieces and are ready to experiment with the other styles, you may be wondering which gold color is a better choice. 

Before you head out to the jewelry store, let’s help you understand the differences between white gold vs rose gold, which one is more durable, and why you should invest in either option.

What exactly is white gold?

white gold engagement ring metal

White gold is made from pure gold and metals such as nickel, silver, and palladium. These metals are silver-white and give the previously yellow gold a white hue. The resulting alloy is further coated with rhodium to lend it more strength and also give it a white luster. 

What is rose gold?

rose gold engagement ring

Rose gold is made from yellow gold, copper, and sometimes silver. The intensity of the pink color in the rose gold jewelry depends on the ratio of gold to copper. The higher the ratio of copper, the more intense the rose gold color. 

Some people also call rose gold pink gold or red gold. They’re talking about the same alloy, but with different proportions of gold, copper, and silver. 

White gold vs rose gold: what’s the difference? 

Even though they have a major similarity — they are both made from gold — there are differences between rose gold and white gold. Let’s examine them closely.

white gold vs rose gold


In its purest form, gold is a soft metal not suitable for making jewelry. Jewelers combine it with other metals to give it more strength and durability. In the case of white gold and rose gold, the alloys don’t just strengthen it but also change its color.

White gold is made from yellow gold and metals like nickel, silver, and palladium. These metals give the gold a white hue. White gold is coated with a thin layer of rhodium, a white metal in the platinum family, for extra durability and shine

Rose gold, on the other hand, is a combination of yellow gold with copper and in some cases, silver.The jeweler measures the proportion of both gold and copper and melts them in a crucible. They transfer the melted metals immediately to a mold where it cools. The added copper gives it the reddish color you see in the final piece. 


White gold has a white finish and luster because of the rhodium plating. However, over time, the thin layer of rhodium will fade away exposing the yellowish gold underneath. It usually takes about 1-2 years to fade but it can be faster if the plating is thin or you expose your jewelry to household cleaning agents like chlorine.

Rose gold has a rosy-pink appearance and the color can deepen depending on the amount of copper added to it.

💡 Did You Know? For both white gold and rose gold, the engravings are similar. For example, 14K or 18K markings tell you the amount of gold the jewelry contains.


White gold is usually pricier than rose gold. Since white gold will need rhodium plating, that’s an additional expense. Rose gold on the other hand uses cheap copper as its alloy metal.

The final cost of either white gold or rose gold depends largely on the amount of pure gold used. The cost of the jewelry will be affected by the type of gemstone present and how complex the band design is. 

Ease of Cleaning

Both white gold and rose gold are easy to clean. When you notice oils and dirt accumulate on your piece, it’s time to give it a quick soapy water cleaning. 

White gold requires more maintenance than simple cleaning. Since the rhodium plating fades off over time, you will need to take it to a jeweler for relating. The jeweler will polish your piece, rinse it several times in distilled water, and fuse rhodium to its surface through the process of electroplating. Some jewelry stores give a lifetime warranty to get rhodium plating.


White gold and rose gold are equally quality jewelry pieces. They both do not tarnish over time. While rose gold can be a bit more difficult to manufacture, if it is mixed properly, it is strong and durable. You can determine their quality based on the markings on them. For example, on rings just like with any yellow gold ring, you may see markings such as 14K which means it contains 58.3% of gold. The higher the karat rating, the higher the quality. 


Nickel is the common suspect for causing jewelry-related allergic reactions and often, white gold contains a proportion. If you’re allergic to nickel, you may have second thoughts about owning a piece because of the redness and itching. Thankfully, though, the rhodium plating protects your skin from direct contact with the nickel, so once it starts to wear off, it’s time to replate.

Copper, an alloy present in rose gold, also causes allergy reactions in some people. Although uncommon, if you’re allergic to copper, you may need to avoid rose gold jewelry.


Pure gold cannot be used to make jewelry, so alloys are added to make it stronger. 

White gold is plated with rhodium which makes it strong and tarnish-resistant. With proper maintenance, your white gold jewelry will be with you for a long time.

Rose gold is a blend containing copper which is a hard metal. It’s so strong that it is used as an important building material. You can be sure that it will last you several years.

In terms of strength, the lower the karat, the stronger the jewelry since it contains more alloy metal.

White Gold vs Rose Gold: Comparison Table 

If the highlighted features of both white gold and rose gold weren’t enough, a side-by-side view should do the trick.

FeaturesWhite GoldRose Gold
CompositionPure yellow gold and silvery-white metals like silver, palladium, and nickel.Pure yellow gold and copper – sometimes, silver too.
AppearanceWhite finish and luster, thanks to the rhodium plating.Rose-pink finish which may be deeper depending on the amount of copper.
CostUsually costs more than rose gold, but the price depends on the amount of pure gold it contains.Usually costs less than white gold, but the price depends on the amount of pure gold it contains.
Ease of cleaningEasy regular cleaning, but will need to be replated every few months, depending on how fast the rhodium plating wears off.Easy to clean with water and dishwashing liquid to remove accumulated dirt and oils.
QualityDepends on the amount of pure gold it contains and how well it is plated with rhodium.Depends on the amount of pure gold it contains.
Allergenicity Contains nickel which is allergenic. Rhodium plating may prevent these reactions until the plating wears off.Contains copper which causes allergic reactions but in fewer people.
DurabilityAs durable as the alloys added and the rhodium plating. The lower the karat, the stronger it is, making it suitable for everyday wear.As durable as the amount of copper added to it. It lasts a long time.

White Gold vs Rose Gold: Which Should You Choose? 

White gold or rose gold? Both are precious gold, so it can be a bit tricky to make a choice. Consider the pros and cons of each type of gold below and see which matches your preferences the best.

White Gold 

Here are some reasons white gold is a better fit for you:

  1. You’re on a budget. If you’re in love with white metals, white gold is a great choice even if you’re on a small.
  2. You’re a traditional person. White gold is a more traditional option for engagement rings.
  3. A timeless piece. White gold does not go out of style so you can wear it for a lifetime.

Rose Gold

Here are some reasons white gold is a better fit for you:

  1. You’re not traditional. If you like unique jewelry metals, then you may love the idea of a rose gold engagement ring.
  2. It requires less maintenance. Rose gold jewelry does not fade until several years after and does not any extra maintenance like rhodium plating.
  3. It is less expensive. You get to save a few bucks with rose gold and still get a beautiful piece of jewelry.

Frequently Asked Questions

It’s likely you still have questions so, we’ve answered the most commonly asked questions concerning rose gold vs white gold.

Is rose gold better than white gold?

Rose gold is not necessarily better than white gold. It’s a matter of personal preference. While rose gold tends to be more durable than white gold, it is not the traditional option for engagement rings.

Is white gold more expensive than rose gold?

Yes, white gold is typically more expensive than rose gold. It requires rhodium plating while rose gold is made with copper alloy, a considerably cheaper metal. In the end, the price will depend on the amount of pure gold it contains.

Does rose gold fade like white gold?

Rose gold jewelry does not fade like white gold. To make white gold, it is coated with rhodium for the white and shiny appearance, but this coating fades over time and with constant wear. It usually needs to replated every few months or years. 

Does rose gold turn skin green?

Yes, rose gold may turn your skin green because of its copper content. Although there’s no health implication, it’s not the prettiest sight. However, this reaction does not happen to everyone. Also, the higher the grade of the rose gold, the less likely it will turn your finger green since it will have lower copper content.

The Golden Choice

Why have one color of gold jewelry when you can have both? Well, except for allergic reactions, it wouldn’t hurt to have pieces made from both. You can even pair them nicely. 

If you’re a traditional person and wouldn’t mind replating your jewelry every few years, then white gold is a good choice. For rose gold, you would be someone who ignores trends and doesn’t have allergic reactions to copper.

Remember that whether you pick white gold or rose gold, it is still precious gold jewelry.

Trying to decide between white and yellow gold? See our comparison of both.

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