14k vs 18k Rose Gold: Which is Better?

You may think of rose gold as a modern metal worn by trendsetting women, and you wouldn’t be wrong. While it’s true that this rosy-hued gold has seen a resurgence in popularity in the last decade or two, it’s not the first time rose gold has risen to the top of the fine-jewelry metal ranks. The history of rose gold’s reign dates back to Russia when jeweler to the Czars, Carl Faberge, used the metal in his famed Faberge Eggs. What was coined as “Russian Gold” for this reason took the world by storm a century later in the 1920s when it was coveted by women everywhere. This is why rose gold jewelry can often feel vintage in nature. 

If you want your engagement ring to exude romance, femininity, and uniqueness, rose gold is the perfect choice. Not all rose gold is created equal, however. 14k and 18k rose gold are two of the most common variations. The various types can have different coloring, durability, and cost. So it’s important to understand the intricacies of this metal before you buy. We’ll compare 14k rose gold vs 18k rose gold to reveal which one is better and more suitable for an engagement ring so you can find a rose gold ring that is all you want and more. 

How Rose Gold Jewelry is Made

To understand the main difference when comparing 14k rose gold vs 18k rose gold, it’s essential to understand how gold jewelry of any kind is made. 

Gold, in and of itself, is a soft metal, far too soft to be used in jewelry as it would easily scratch and change form. This is why pure gold, which is 24k gold, is mixed with other metals before it is formed into jewelry. Even yellow gold jewelry is a mix of gold and other metals, and comes in 18k gold, 14k gold, and even 10k gold varieties. 

Rose gold, in particular, is made by mixing gold with copper and silver. 18k rose gold is made with 18 karat gold metal alloys and 6 karats of copper and silver metal alloys. 14k rose gold is made with 14 karat gold metal alloys and 10 karats of copper and silver metal alloys. The concentration of the different metals is what changes the color of rose gold from a rosier hue to a redder one, giving this metal the nicknames “pink gold” and “red gold,” respectively. The more copper used to make rose gold, the deeper the color will be. The more silver used, the lighter the color will be. 

The composition of rose gold is the main difference between 14k and 18k rose gold, and it influences more than just color. It also influences durability and price. 

14k vs 18k Rose Gold: The Differences 

14k and 18k rose gold are both used in fine jewelry, but they are distinct in terms of composition, durability, price, and appearance. Let’s explore the main differences between 14k and 18k rose gold.

Durability

Gold is the main component of both 14k and 18k rose gold, and as we mentioned above, gold is a relatively soft metal, which makes it more prone to scratching than other metals. The greater the gold component in any piece of jewelry, the less durable it will be. This is why 14k rose gold tends to be favored over 18k rose gold. Because it is made with less gold, it’s more scratch-resistant and durable.  

A common question about all rose gold jewelry is whether or not it will fade or tarnish, but this isn’t a necessary concern. Both 14k and 18k rose gold won’t fade or tarnish. They will, however, develop a patina over time due to the concentration of copper in the metal. This patina is a beautiful sheen that develops and is something that only time can give rose gold jewelry, which is why it’s sought after in the jewelry realm. If you don’t like the patina that develops, though, it can be easily polished to be removed. 

Pricing

Another area where 14k and 18k rose gold differ is price. Because of the greater concentration of gold purity in 18k rose gold, it will be more expensive than 14k rose gold. When shopping for an engagement ring, or any diamond ring, the metal does affect the overall price, but not nearly as much as the rest of the ring’s design, such as the stones and the setting. If you are looking for another way to save on the cost of your engagement ring, you may want to consider lab grown diamonds, which are chemically identical to mined diamonds but are a fraction of the cost. 

Appearance

Building on what you already learned about how rose gold jewelry is made, you’ll understand that the different levels of gold, copper, and silver present in 14k rose gold vs 18k rose gold affects their color. 14k rose gold contains much more copper, giving it a much deeper color than 18k rose gold, which can appear much closer to yellow gold, with a pink hue.  

The actual final appearance, however, will vary depending on which metal alloys are used and their unique concentration. Each metal alloy from gold alloy to silver alloy will look different. Not all 14k rose gold and 18k gold will look the same. 14k rose gold with less silver will be darker and redder in appearance, while 14k rose gold with more silver will look lighter and pinker. All shades of rose gold are beautiful, so which one you choose should be based on your unique style. The best way to determine which rose gold you personally prefer is to shop around and compare them.  

14k vs 18k Rose Gold: The Similarities 

While 14k rose gold and 18k rose gold are different in many ways, they are similar in other ways, some of which we’ve already mentioned. For instance, both 14k and 18k rose gold will develop a beautiful patina over time. There are a few other similarities between these two rose gold types worth nothing.

Style

One of the main similarities between these two types of rose gold is their style. Both 14k and 18k rose gold will give any piece of jewelry the same romantic appearance that can sway vintage or modern, depending on the overall design. Whether you choose one or the other, it won’t change the overall essence of the jewelry or engagement ring as it would if you chose white gold, yellow gold, or platinum instead. 

Wearability

We all have certain metals we gravitate toward when we pick out jewelry because of how they look next to our skin. The great thing about rose gold, though, is that regardless of its specific composition or shade, it is a universally flattering metal. The pinky-gold hue flatters all skin tones and looks good on everyone.  

Care

Both 14k rose gold and 18k rose gold jewelry is easy to clean and care for. You can practice on how to clean rose gold jewelry by regularly polished with a soft cloth and cleaned with gentle soap and water. Also, unlike white gold, which requires maintenance for regular rhodium plating, rose gold is a low-maintenance metal. 

Nonetheless, both 14k gold jewelry and 18k gold jewelry in rose gold form are timeless and classic. But which is better for engagement rings? 

14k vs 18k Rose Gold Engagement Rings

After learning the differences and similarities between these precious metals, you may be wondering which is more suitable for an engagement ring, 14k rose gold or 18k rose gold? 

A rose gold engagement ring of any type is sure to be both beautiful and romantic. The pink hue of this metal is unlike any other, and when paired with a sustainable diamond, it’s a match made in heaven. Whether your style is trendsetting and sleek or elegant and antique, a rose gold engagement ring will reflect it beautifully.  

Beauty isn’t the only necessary consideration when selecting a piece of jewelry that will endure for decades, if not for centuries, as it’s passed on from generation to generation. Durability is also incredibly important. For this reason, 14k rose gold is the better option. 14k rose gold will be more durable than 18k rose gold or 18k yellow gold for that matter. If you live an active lifestyle or simply don’t want to worry about scratching your ring while going about your day, 14k rose gold is a better option. Choosing 14k rose gold for your engagement ring will also save you money as it is typically less expensive than 18k rose gold. 

If you’re ready to start exploring rose gold engagement rings, we offer a wide selection of 14k rose gold styles at 12FIFTEEN Diamonds, all set with lab-created diamond gemstones. You can also find a 14k rose gold wedding band to complement your engagement ring and create a beautiful matching wedding ring stack. When you shop rose gold rings from 12FIFTEEN Diamonds, you can ensure both the enduring quality and ethicality of your diamond engagement ring. 

Sources

Diamond Nexus

12FIFTEEN Diamonds

Sotheby’s

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