The History and Romance of Rose Gold

April 29, 2019

The History and  Romance of Rose Gold

Rose, Red, or pink gold is more than just gold, but that can be said of most gold used today. The manipulation of color through alloying can bring a beauty all its own to to fine jewelry. 

Malaya Garnet set in 14K Rose Gold

Malaya Garnet set in Rose Gold

14-karat rose gold (also called red or pink gold) is a gold-copper alloy that is still 14-karat gold, just as 14-karat yellow gold is itself an alloy of gold, silver, and copper. In each case, gold makes up 14/24 of the material. What is used to make up the remaining 10/24 can widely vary in order to express specific metallic colors.

As an art student 40 years ago, Stephen Walker enjoyed working in combinations of copper, brass, bronze (those two themselves being alloys of copper), and silver, using the palette of metallic colors for a study in contrasts.  His earlier works expressed this combination of color through married metals and mokume gane techniques. 

These contrasts in color and material have a fine tradition in Celtic jewelry. Pieces from the golden age of Celtic art in the early medieval era, while not necessarily using the rose-gold alloy itself, relied frequently on highlighting and contrasting different metals. A good example of this is the Ardagh Chalice which is silver overlayed with gold and other materials. Later Celtic jewelry, particularly from the 19th-century Irish Celtic Revival movement, often used silver pieces with rose-gold highlights. So much rose gold was used in Victorian-era Wales that an incorrect popular belief arose that Welsh gold is naturally red. In any case, the warm, rose-colored tint provides a vintage, romanticized aesthetic.

In the 1930s, jewelry manufacturing had shifted from wire and stamping technology to casting. Since casting rose gold could lead to oxidation issues, the alloy fell out of style.

Rose Gold Castings

Unfinished Rose Gold has a blush hue

Eventually, Buffalo metallurgist Jim Seaverson devised a deoxidation formula that the rest of the industry has slowly caught up with, giving the alloy a 'comeback' in popularity especially in the past five years. Having begun casting rose gold two decades ago, Walker Metalsmiths is proud to have been at the vanguard of rose gold's recent revival.

Rose Gold Robin's Heart Pendant and Earring Set

Any item made by Walker Metalsmiths that is available in yellow gold can be made in Rose Gold.  The blush hue is often associate with romance and love which makes it very popular in engagement, wedding and anniversary rings.  You will also find that many of our pieces use rose gold to highlight white or yellow gold.  

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