A truly great engagement ring is a combination of many different factors – the size, cut, clarity, and color of its diamond, the setting the stone is placed in, the metal and design of the ring, and all the smaller and more specific details that go into all of these factors. In a way, creating the perfect engagement ring is like putting together a dress ensemble – all the different pieces must not only look good in and of themselves but must also look good together.
With that in mind, one of the most common questions a lot of people have is about rose gold engagement rings and which diamonds look best on them. Rose gold is a great material for engagement rings for plenty of different reasons, including how it affects diamond color.
So, which is the best diamond color for rose gold rings? The answer is that it depends on the stone’s shape but overall rose gold allows for more medium range color grades such as those between I and M. To give you a more specific answer, let’s get some of the basics out of the way first.
What exactly is rose gold and what are its benefits?
Rose gold solitaire ring. See it here.
There are three main types of gold use in the jewelry industry – yellow, white, and rose. It’s understandable to think of yellow gold as “natural” or “real” gold but all three are actually alloys between natural yellow gold and other metals. That’s done because natural gold is too soft for jewelry use and it doesn’t last too long.
So, the difference between the 3 main gold colors is in what other metals they are alloyed with (plus, white gold is also coated with rhodium). In the case of rose gold, it’s an alloy of gold and copper.
There are three main types of rose gold:
- Red gold (18K) – 75% gold and 25% copper
- Rose gold (18K) – 75% gold, 22.25% copper, and 2.75% silver
- Pink gold (18K) – 75% gold, 20% copper, and 5% silver.
There are also 14K versions of these combinations that include ~66% gold and more copper and silver. Of those three main variations, Red and Rose gold are harder than Pink gold because of the increased copper content.
Rose gold halo setting. See it here.
And this is one of the several benefits of rose gold too:
- Rose gold is harder & more durable than yellow gold. Because of the extra copper in its alloy, rose gold can last longer and withstand more knocks and bruises than yellow and white gold.
- Rose gold goes great with all skin tones. While white and yellow gold work well with some skin tones and not so much with others, rose gold fits well on pretty much all skin colors.
- Rose gold offers a unique combination of classic and contemporary styles. Yellow gold is typically viewed as the classic material for rings while white gold and other white metals are used for more modern designs. Rose gold is great in that it can work beautifully with both styles.
- Rose gold has a very romantic and feminine look which makes it even more suitable for engagement rings.
- And finally, the benefit that’s the reason behind this article – rose gold works better than all other metals with faintly colored diamonds. The reason for that can be seen as both a benefit and a negative and it’s that rose gold will impart slight color even to a completely colorless diamond simply because the gold’s color gets reflected in the diamond. So, if you want a 100% colorless diamond you may want to pick a white metal. However, if you go for rose gold, there’s no point in overpaying for a perfectly colorless stone and you can save a fair bit of money by moving down the color scale.
What is the diamond color grading scale?
Established by the Gemological Institute of America GIA, the color grading scale for colorless diamonds divides colorless diamonds into multiple categories based on their lack of color. The scale is alphabetical and ranges from D to Z.
- D, E and F – the first three grades are for Colorless diamonds – stones with no noticeable color whatsoever.
- G, H, I and J – these grades are Near Colorless and they do exhibit some barely noticeable color but nothing too impactful on the diamond’s look.
- K, L and M – the next three are the Faint Color colorless diamonds. These stones have more pronounced color, usually yellow or brown, and aren’t considered “top range” for engagement rings.
- N to R – these are the Very Light Color diamonds and aren’t recommended for engagement rings even if they are made from rose gold.
- S to Z – these are Light Color diamonds and they are the transitional grades between colorless and colored diamonds. They are almost never recommended for engagement rings as they are neither good colorless diamonds nor good colored ones.
Note: If you have a choice between brown and yellow hues in your “colorless” diamonds, keep in mind that brown color hues work better with rose gold while yellow color hues are preferred with yellow gold rings. This is great for rose gold as diamonds with yellow color hues are usually more expensive than those with brown hues.
Which color grades are best for rose gold rings?
We mentioned above that the stone’s shape matters in choosing the color grade for a rose ring’s diamond. That’s because different diamond cuts “show” their color differently and some cuts are better than others at hiding their slight color hues. So, we’ve divided the more popular diamond cuts into three groups:
1. Round cut diamonds and rose gold
The round cut is the most popular ring diamond cut – more so than all other diamond cuts combined. There are lots of great reasons for that but we won’t go into them here. As far as color is concerned, round cut diamonds hide their color hues pretty well and that gives you even more freedom in how low you can go on the diamond color scale.
For a round cut diamond in a rose gold setting, we’d suggest diamonds in the H to M range. Yes, with this combination you can easily go as low as the bottom of the “Faint Color” grades and still end up with a stunningly beautiful ring. Anything after M will likely not look too good, however, as the stone’s color will be too strong even for rose gold to mask.
2. Princess, Emerald, Asscher, and Radiant cut diamonds and rose gold
Color-wise, one of the main differences is that these cuts show their color much more readily than round cuts. This means that you can’t go as far down the color scale before the color start becoming too noticeable.
For the rectangular cuts in rose gold settings, we’d suggest diamonds in the I to K range. This means going for one or two grades higher than you would with a round cut but even in this case the rose gold can give you a lot of leeway in the color grade you can choose.
3. Other fancy diamond cuts and rose gold
For most other cuts such as the pear, oval, cushion or heart-shaped we’d suggest picking either an I or J color diamond to be on the safe side. Depending on the cut and its quality you might be able to go a bit lower too but that should be decided on a case by case basis as these cuts can differ quite a lot depending on their quality.
And there you have it – a nice rose gold setting can allow you to go multiple color grades lower on the color grading scale than you would with other metals and still have a stunning diamond which will work perfectly with the rose gold metal. And again, keep in mind that brown color tints work even better with rose gold than yellow color. Either way, this is a great thing to keep in mind when you want to not only save a bit of money from your budget but to also reinvest them in a bigger or a better-cut stone or in a fancy pave or halo setting.