The Rise and Fall and Rise Again of Yellow Gold Engagement Rings

Marred with complexity and polarization, society has a love/hate relationship with yellow gold. Yellow gold has been used in jewelry since 4560 BC. Its rich hues evoke a sense of warmth and sophistication with a luxurious pop of color. And yet, for decades fashion reviled the metal. Early Aughts sartorial icon, Carrie Bradshaw, famously vomited upon discovering her boyfriend planned to propose with a yellow gold engagement ring with a pear-shaped diamond.

Ironically, in 2019, an increasing number of actresses, royalty and influencers are opting for both pear-shaped diamonds and yellow gold engagement rings. Joke’s on you, Carrie Bradshaw.

Golden Beginnings

In its purest form, gold naturally forms in nuggets.

For millennia, socialites, royalty and aristocracy favored the warm-hued metal. Gold has been used for art, currency and, of course, jewelry throughout recorded history. Wealthy women in Ancient Rome donned gold wedding bands in public and iron wedding rings at home- while poorer women wore brass or gold plated rings. Beginning in the 16th century, European couples exchanged silver rings for their engagement. Brides replaced these rings with golden bands during the wedding ceremony.

Prior to 1884, jewelry containing any level of gold could be labeled “gold”. Today, jewelers characterize gold by its metal fineness. These categories are ranked by the amount of gold incorporated into an alloy. The higher the number, the more gold it contains.

  • 24k gold (or 999) is 99.9% gold
  • 23k gold (or 958.3) is 95.83% gold
  • 22k gold (or 916) is 91.6% gold
  • 20k gold (or 834) is 83.4% gold
  • 18k gold (or 750) is 75% gold
  • 15k gold (or 625) is 62.5% gold
  • 14k gold (or 585) is 58.5% gold
  • 10k gold (or 417) is 41.7% gold
  • 9k gold (or 375) is 37.5% gold
  • 8k gold (or 333) is 33.3% gold.
  • Alloys containing less than 33.3% gold cannot call themselves gold.

Golden jewelry set the standard until the Edwardian era when platinum eclipsed yellow gold among society’s elite. When chemists first developed white gold plating, in the late 1910s, yellow gold continued to fall out of vogue. However, demand for yellow gold reemerged during the 1940s, when platinum was rationed for the war efforts. For the next 40 years, yellow gold dominated wedding ring trends.

As fashion became more minimalistic during the 1990s, brides turned away from yellow gold engagement rings in increasing numbers. By 2000, yellow gold had become something to vomit about.

24k Magic

Today, gold engagement rings have seen a renaissance, as an ever-increasing number of brides are opting for yellow gold styles. This year, gold rings have made up more than 30% of our ring sales at Buchroeders. And with tastemakers including Meghan Markle, Kirsten Dunst, Miley Cyrus and Mary-Kate Olsen opting for yellow gold designs, these brides are in good company.

How Do I Know If Yellow Gold Is Right For Me?

Yellow gold can provide a sense of breezy elegance. Moreover, the color complements most skin tones. The best way to know if a yellow gold engagement ring is right for you is to simply try it on. Visit Buchroeders to see our favorite yellow gold engagement rings for yourself.

These Yellow Gold Engagement Rings Never Fail to Make Us Swoon:

Yellow Gold 1.48ct Round Straight Set Diamond

This classic engagement ring provides classic elegance without sacrificing modern style.

Price starting at $6,350.

Yellow Gold 1.25ct Halo Set Round Diamond Engagement Ring

This halo set yellow gold engagement ring delivers bold old-world glamor.

Price starting at $5,950.

Yellow Gold 1.31ct Princess Diamond Halo Engagement Ring

This stunning kite set princess cut diamond ring offers a unique engagement option perfect for the untraditional bride.

Price starting at $6,120.

Have your heart set on a particular ring but still dreaming of a yellow gold wedding set? Buchroeders can replicate any engagement ring in any metal to create the ring of your dreams.

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