Gold is the quintessential symbol of wealth. That shiny yellow metal is shorthand for wealth and opulence. But did you know it’s not always yellow? Gold can be rose, green, white, black, or even purple. Reason being pure gold is too soft to be molded into a ring. It gets alloyed with silver, copper, nickel, aluminum, zinc, and other metals to make it harder and stronger.
Even yellow gold isn’t pure – it still has some copper, silver, and nickel slipped in. 18k yellow gold had 75% gold while 14k yellow gold has closer to 60% (58.3%). These are the two most popular grades for jewelry. Yellow gold is a traditional wedding metal, and but it looks best on darker skin tones. So let’s find out a few more tips to buy yellow gold engagement rings.
Yellow Gold Engagement Rings Buying Guide
A yellow gold engagement ring stacks beautifully with a gold wedding band. But the depth or paleness of the gold depends on both the karats and the gemstone. Let’s sift through the chaff and find the best tips to consider when shopping for yellow gold engagement rings.
Tip #1: Confirm the Other Metals
The only form of gold that has zero impurities is 24 karat gold. But even 22k has 9% other metals mixed in, and that’s still too soft for jewelry. You need 18k or lower. And for gold to look yellow, the lowest karat count is 10k, which has 41.7% gold and other metallic parts.
It’s those other metals that can sometimes trigger metal allergies, particularly nickel, which is commonly mixed into silver to make it harder. 18k yellow gold can be bright (12.5% copper and 12.5% silver for a vivid yellow) or dark (20% copper and 10% silver) for a darker yellow.
Tip #2: Consider Spangold Options
Not the dog – the metal. Spangold is essentially spangled gold. It has a glittery, crystalline appearance that can be quite attractive. Especially if you pair it with smaller Channel or pave stones rather than a large center stone. Spangold is perfect for eternity engagement rings. And it’s technically 18k because spangold has 76% pure gold. The other metals affect the color:
76% gold + 19% copper + 5% aluminium = Yellow Spangold (18k)
76% gold + 18% copper + 6% aluminium = Pink Spangold (18k)
You’ll notice it’s the aluminum – not the copper – that facilitates the color of your gold. So even if you add the copper levels, it’s the aluminum that shades the rainbow. Spangold is sometimes called SME (shape-memory-effect alloy) and it only comes in 18k and 23k.
Tip #3: Or Maybe Go Light Green?
Yellow is relative. I mean, we all agree on the yellow(?) sun and the shade of sunflowers. But on the color wheel, yellow goes from 0range to lemon and even glow-in-the-dark neon. So if your yellow gold engagement ring is set with emeralds … or if your beloved is into nature and Wiccans, you could make a mark with green gold? The paler 18k version is closer to yellow.
Curiously, this metal occurs in nature and is known as electrum. It looks fairly yellow in nature, but when it’s simulated in a lab, the green gets vivid, hence its name. Think of electrum as organic and green gold as synthetic. The key difference is in the other metals. Cadmium makes it greener (and is toxic) so look for 75% gold + 15% silver + 10% copper.
Tip #4: For Diamonds Pick H or Higher
Diamonds are considered white or colorless stones. But they can veer towards yellow in the lower color grades. The GIA (Gemological Institute of America) marks diamonds from D to Z, where D is exceptional white, H is standard white, J is tinted white, and Z is pale yellow.
For most engagement rings, an H is fine. For white metals, you want a G or higher, otherwise, that off-white tint will be visible. For yellow gold, you can go as low as J with the gemstone still appearing white. For colored gemstones (like emeralds or rubies), many tones will work.
Tip #5: Think About Brilliant Cuts
With white metals, the emphasis is on the color of the gemstone. With yellow gold, clarity is more important. You want gemstones that will sparkle against the yellow gold engagement ring without detracting from its beauty. So if you’re buying diamonds, focus on the shine.
Yellow gold is naturally glossy – though you could get a matte option as well. But that yellow glow offsets nicely with brilliant cuts. These cuts have more facets, so their reflections and refractions are more dramatic, giving off more glimmer. Round cuts are especially glossy.
Tip #6: Warm Stones Can Be Attractive
If you’re not going for diamonds, the color and kind of gemstone is limitless. For diamonds, you can go for yellow and it will still look cool. Especially if you set the shank with Channel or pavé stones in lower carats. That way you still get the sparkle even if budget is a tad tight.
If you’re thinking of non-diamonds, you could go for something bold, like a ruby or an emerald. But these could be loud for everyday wear. So if your beloved prefers their jewelry simple, you could set the ring with pink or yellow sapphires. They draw fewer eyeballs.
Tip #7: Source for Sustainable Gold
When most of us shop for engagement rings, we’re thinking about the salary rule. But modern couples are more interested in social concerns than societal ones. So more of them are leaning towards lab-created gemstones that are ecologically and environmentally sound.
These are cheaper, and as these arguments show, it’s a good idea to buy them. So pair your lab-grown gems with socially conscious gold. This gold comes in levels. Ethical gold means no labor violations. Eco gold means no environmental harm e.g. mercury.
Tip #8: Recycle for Style and Value
Right now, yellow gold engagement rings are considered rustic and traditional. You could lean into this even further by investing in recycled rings. This could be old gold pieces from estate sales, auctions, junkyards, attic dives, or even adventurous gold panning trips.
Or you could buy recycled gold. The jeweler melts down gold from their own sources and uses it to create your engagement ring. You’ll have to take their word for the sources though since the gold won’t come with a certificate or a history lesson. You’ll have to trust it’s clean.
Tip #9: Scratch Beneath the Surface
For ordinary jewelry, gold-plating isn’t a bad thing. It gives you the shine and shade you want, but the cost is significantly lower. But gold plating wears off. It leaches onto clothing or fades into your natural oils and beauty creams. And the metal below could cause allergies.
So for earrings, brooches, or the occasional bracelet, gold-plated items are fine. But for a yellow gold engagement ring, double-check that it’s genuine gold. You can test by scratching a small potion or dribbling a weak acid onto the ring. Also, check the stamp or use a magnet.
Tip #10: Go Down to 10k
Most yellow gold engagement rings are 18k (75% gold) or 14k (58.3% gold). But you could go as low as 10k (41.7% gold). The yellow won’t be as rich or bright, but it will still be genuine gold, and you could opt for eco or recycled varieties. Use multiple sources from old pieces.
This can be helpful if you’re panning trace sources. Or if you and your beloved are divers, metal detectors, or gold-hunting hobbyists. Plus, if you go for a lower grade of gold, you can push more of your budget into the carat, kind, and color of your engagement ring gemstone.
Tip #11: Look at the Craftsmanship
The price of yellow gold engagement rings can vary from hundreds of dollars to thousands. And that’s before you even glance at the gemstone. This range in price covers things like source, karat, handling, style, width, and lab value. Sometimes, the cost can feel arbitrary.
So check the gold’s intrinsic value by having it professionally assessed. Then look at how the ring is made. Does the ring have any bumps or dents? How elaborate is the decorative carving or coiling? Are there thin filigree sections that could break? Or scratches and snags?
Tip #12: Consider Your Beloved’s Lifestyle
This may seem too important to be so far down the list. But truth is gold looks good on anyone. And yellow gold rings are seen as understated, even in conservative industries. But if your intended works with their hands a lot, a smoother setting is best since it won’t snag.
An active lifestyle does mean the yellow gold engagement ring will be more exposed. So 14k may be smarter than 18k since it’s harder, so it won’t scratch as much. You can also consider protective settings like flush or bezel so that sharp gemstones don’t catch anything at work.
Tip #13: Paint it Perfect
Gold earrings are often made of 10k gold (with zinc or nickel as the alloyed metal). So they’re softer and more prone to allergies, but they’re also a good source of recycled gold for your yellow gold engagement ring. But there’s a lot more you can do to upcycle your jewelry.
Mineraloid gemstones like jade and pearl go well with gold. But you can also embellish the ring with swathes of enamel paint in black or white. And you can design a structural ring if your partner enjoys artsy sculpture. Rings with agate or onyx blocks are gorgeously stylish.
Tip #14: Embellish the Band
Remember that yellow gold wedding bands are valued for their universal simplicity. But yellow gold engagement rings are expected to be more … flamboyant. So get creative with the shank. If they’ll wear the ring daily, protective settings can avoid scratching skin or clothes.
But to truly give engagement ring energy, you want glittering pavé and cloistered channel. For safer settings and hectic handsy work, try designs with fewer sharp edges. You could go for a smoother double shank ring. Or buy a two-finger ring, with or without finger dividers.
Tip #15: Focus on Practicality
Wedding bands are plain and simple. They’re designed to be worn every moment of every day, so they match everything and don’t draw too much attention. Yellow gold engagement rings are more glamorous and showy, even if they’re intended for daily use and ring stacking.
But the practical issues that may come up include cleaning. Lower karats are safer for daily wear because they won’t scratch as much and you won’t feel as bad if you lose them. But a 10k ring will tarnish faster and need to be polished more often. It’s also more likely to react.
Top 15 Yellow Gold Engagement Rings
Yellow gold looks amazing in all kinds of settings. It complements both crystalline and mineraloid gemstones. And it’s ductile enough to be worked into endless shapes and designs. So check out our top fifteen yellow gold engagement rings. And be sure to size the ring right!
1. East-West Pavé 14k Ring
When you go lower in karats, you can go higher in carats. This yellow gold engagement ring has pave diamonds around the shank. The center stone is a side-set emerald cut in prongs.
2. Knife-Edge East-West 18k Ring
Your beloved may not want a fussy shank, so this plain knife-edge is a safer bet. The gemstone is still sufficiently dramatic with its east-west emerald cut and protective claws.
3. Bezel Set East-West Engagement Ring
Step cut rings are often housed in bezel settings to prevent scratching and chipping. But as you can see, bezels darken the gemstone, so if sparkle is important, try a half bezel instead.
4. Round Bezel Comfort Engagement Ring
Your spouse-to-be’s jewelry box is a good guide to their taste. Especially for daily rings. So if your partner has simple, sophisticated tastes, this no-fuss, brilliant-cut, round ring is ideal.
5. Yellow Gold Fishtail Engagement Ring
If your fiancé(e) loves to sparkle (and has a no-hands career), this elaborate engagement ring is sure to impress. The chevron prongs and fishtail shank put grace and gloss on that hand.
6. Micropave Yellow Gold Engagement Ring
For the spouse that loves sparkle and shine but wants a simpler shank, try this one. The square shank has micropavé flanking the brilliant round center stone. It snags though.
7. Two-Row U Pave Engagement Ring
If your spouse-to-be is your princess – regardless of their gender – then this princess cut ring will charm them. It has two rows of parallel pave on either side of the center diamond.
8. Three-Stone Silhouette Ring
Three stones, three halos – the detail on this ring is exceptional. The yellow gold shank is simple enough, but the main stone and side stones are all embellished with intricate pavé.
9. Triple-Band Pear Cut Halo Ring
For a yellow gold engagement ring that’s a pure classic, try this traditionally styles one. The three-way split-shank is 18k and the center stone has a halo plus two pear-cut side stones.
10. Baguette Ballerina Halo Ring
If you’re buying a yellow gold engagement ring to stack with a wedding band, it needs to be suitable elaborate. And this one has a center stone flanked by a hallo of sparkly baguettes.
11. Whirling Halo Engagement Ring
Some brides and grooms are artsy and creative. And this is ring is perfect for that kind of spouse. The flowery halo of off-center pear cuts is held together by a swirling gold band.
12. Trilliant Filigree Engagement Ring
The styling on this ring is simple, but the details make it exceptional. The hexagonal halo has filigree, not pavé. And the trilliant side stones elevate the elegance of this engagement ring.
13. Accented Yellow Gold Engagement Ring
What if you like a shiny shank but you don’t want too much fuss? This black diamond ring has six side diamonds set flush into the shank. And those pretty accents won’t snag on fabric!
14. Asscher Side Stone Ring
Bored of three-stone rings and princess cuts? Try this yellow gold engagement ring with its four Asscher-cut diamonds. Their basket setting allows for maximum sparkle on a square.
15. Yellow Gold Tension Ring
The last ring on this list is the most elaborate. It’s a contemporary tension ring with a tapered shank, a bypass below, and an extra row of pave diamonds swirling underneath.
What’s your favorite style of yellow gold engagement rings? Show us in the comments!