14k vs 18k Rose Gold: Which One Is Better?

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18k rose gold engagement ring is 75% rich in gold, which is higher than 14k piece’s 58.3% gold content. Thus, a 14k rose gold ring has more silver, copper and other metals, which makes it harder and more durable than the 18k ring. 18k rose gold ring has a higher gold purity, 18 in 24 parts, and a greater price than a similar 14k one.

Let’s continue to discover more on the comparison 14k vs 18k rose gold wedding bands and more.

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What is rose gold?

Gold deposits found in nature are yellow with red hues. Rose gold is a manufactured alloy of gold which is not found in nature.

100% pure gold is too soft for jewelry. Thus, alloys with stronger metals are made to obtain different types of gold.

Rose gold is one of these gold varieties made of real gold, silver and copper.
The pink color comes from the latter. This also helps to increase durability.

Rose gold was first discovered in the 1800s in Russia, where its name “Russian Gold” originates from. The copper content in gold alloys was elevated to increase pinkness, resulting in the characteristic color of pink rose jewelry.

Rose gold jewelry is popular because it looks luxurious and different. It’s also versatile: you can wear rose gold jewelry with any outfit. You can combine rose gold rings with white rings as you desire.

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What is karat?

Karat is the standard unit for gold purity, aka fineness.

1 karat piece has 1 in 24 parts gold in its mix. That is 4.17% of gold content.

24k or 24 karat gold item is 100% gold. It is pure gold.

A 10k rose gold ring has 41.7% gold in its composition.

Please note that, there is no 24 karat rose gold jewelry because as it is an alloy, it can not be 100% pure, by definition.

If you want fine gold for long term investment value, you should check 24k gold coins and bullion.

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14k and 18k rose gold

Please note, that producers may use different metals and percentages to achieve their own color variation: red, pink and rose. These may also change by country’s laws. The percentages below are shared for the sake of giving a direction of thought, rather than a specific formula put in stone.

14K vs 18K Comparison
Karat Stamp Gold parts % Other %
14 Karat 14K – 583 14 / 24 58.3 41.7
18 Karat 18K – 750 18 / 24 75 25

14k rose gold has 58.3% percent gold in its composition. The remaining parts come from 9.2% silver and 32.5% copper.

Similarly, 18k rose gold jewelry is 75% rich in gold. 2.8% silver and 22.2% copper make the other quarter.

Rose gold composition
Alloy type Gold Silver Copper
 14k rose gold  58.3 % 9.2 % 32.5 %
 18k rose gold  75 % 2.8 %  22.2 %

1. Color and Shine

14k rose gold has a stronger rose color than 18k rose gold.

The natural yellow color of gold slowly moves towards red rose with increasing copper percentages.

In other words, as the gold content decreases, the color approaches red.

Thus, 14k rose gold, which has a lower gold percentage and higher copper portion than 18k rose gold, will have a darker rose color.

Please note that rose gold pieces are solid pieces: they are not plated. They do not need any re-plating session or dipping from time to time to revive

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2. Durability

The softness of pure gold makes us use alloys.

These are gold mixed with stronger metal to reach a satisfactory level of hardness.

The hardness of these gold alloys goes up with increasing added tougher metals.

In our case of rose gold, the more copper percentage there is in the composition, the harder it gets.

Consequently, 14k rose gold is harder than 18k rose gold.

A 14k rose gold ring will show more scratch resistance. It will show better endurance against everyday wear and tear. While 18k rose gold pieces will be relatively more open to show signs of wear as they are softer.

If you wanted to know about rose gold tarnish and corrosion, you’ll be happy to learn that it does not tarnish, corrode or rust!

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3. Hypoallergenic property

Gold is a hypoallergenic metal. However, its alloys may have a different story.

We saw that 14k and 18k rose gold are gold alloys with silver and copper.

Silver and copper are also hypoallergenic metals.
But beware that this means that there is a small possibility of allergy risk, and they are considered safe.

Yet, a very tiny percentage of the population may have copper allergy. This does not change the fact that copper is hypoallergenic.

The main issue arises not from gold, silver or copper but from other metals that might have entered the mix indirectly.

For example, the rose gold piece may contain trace amounts of nickel, which is the main culprit for metal allergies.

After a certain period, if the skin absorbs a minimum level of nickel, skin irritation may occur.

This is why it is important to choose nickel-free quality rose gold pieces.

For our comparison between 14k and 18k rose gold, the more pure higher karat 18k rose gold is a relatively safer choice as it is lower in copper.

Note that rose gold jewelry is made of solid gold. They are not plated like rhodium plated white gold or vermeil pieces which are sterling silver core plated with gold.

4. Price

Gold is more expensive than the other metals in the rose gold mix.

These were mostly silver and copper. While the former is also a precious metal, the gold/silver ratio is roughly 70. This means 1 oz of gold can buy 70 oz of silver. Of course, this ratio is subject to market fluctuations.

Thus, the higher karat 18k rose gold jewelry will cost more than their 14k versions.

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The Verdict: 14k or 18k rose gold?

Rose gold is a beautiful choice for engagement rings.

They are made of real gold, with silver and, of course, copper.

They carry red-rose colors. The difference in color is slim.

There can only be one correct answer to which gold color is the best, and it is your answer!

They offer higher durability and scratch resistance than sterling silver.

The 14k rose gold ring is a more durable metal and offers better resistance to scratches thanks to its high copper percentage.

Both variations of rose gold offer a close rosy sheen, with the former being a little closer to red.

18 karat rose gold rings have 75 percent gold content in their composition.

This is higher than 14k pieces which are 58.3 percent rich in gold.

As the added metals, silver and copper are cheaper than yellow gold, they decrease in price compared to pure gold.

18k rose gold is more expensive than 14k due to its higher gold percentage.

Higher karat pieces are also more preferable as gold is hypoallergenic.

The alloyed metals may include allergenic metals which may cause skin irritation for people with sensitive skin.

Nickel and lead are the primary culprits for metal allergies.

Even small amounts of nickel may initiate skin allergy.

Naturally, as the gold percentage decreases, the risk for adverse reactions increase.

The best option is to prefer only nickel-free rose gold jewelry pieces.

Gold is hypoallergenic, but its alloys may not be.

There is always risk when different metals enter the scene.

Rose gold pieces do not have a coating like rhodium plated white gold jewelry.

As there is a layer of hypoallergenic rhodium, it cuts contact between the skin and the gold core.

This erases any possibility of metal allergy from metals in the gold mix.

This is not valid for rose gold items.

To stay safe, you must always make sure your rose gold jewelry is nickel-free.

The lack of rhodium or gold plating, diminishes the need for re-plating automatically.

This makes it a wonderful choice with the luxury of having that bright rosy luster with minimal care and maintenance.

And in the end, it will come to personal preference and style before that decision.

But, whether you pick the 14k or 18k rose gold engagement ring, you will experience gold’s dazzling rosy shine every second.