The Russian Origin of Rose Gold Engagement Rings

Feb. 21 2014
Before their surge of popularity in Europe in the early 20th century, rose gold engagement rings were mostly native to Russia. Read more here.

I know F gets a little uncomfortable when Bridget is around, but I really do love her matter of fact opinions and her confident outlook on life. She always regales me with a fascinating discussion, and even though she often winds F up, I enjoy her company.

We were having coffee the other day while F was out with Lemon Tree on his run, and we had a really interesting chat about a documentary Bridget had seen about the origin of rose gold engagement rings.

From Russia with Love

We already knew that rose gold was a popular alternative to the more traditional offerings, but where did its story begin and how did it gain such prominence in the engagement ring market?

Before Louis Cartier and Jean Cocteau helped propel rose gold engagement rings into the limelight, they were almost exclusively found in Russia. In fact, in the early days of this material’s propulsion into Europe, its alternative name was ‘Russian gold’.

Cathedral of Christ the Saviour by Pavel Kazachkov, used under a Creative Commons License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode)

In the early days of its introduction into Europe, rose gold was also dubbed ‘Russian gold’.

Even today, rings with rose gold bands, and particularly with double bands, continue to be popular in that part of the world, reflecting a trend that perfectly exemplifies the strong historical bonds pink gold has with Russia.

Although the exact date of which rose gold, the mixture of traditional yellow gold with copper, was first invented is unknown, it is widely accepted that the origin of this metal dates to some point in the 19th century. The fact that it first rose to prominence in Russia is far less debated, as there is plenty of evidence showing that Russian nobles were enamoured with rose gold engagement rings and other items of rose gold jewellery.

Pink in Paris

Considering that Russian high society of the time had strong links to France (it was considered chic to address your friends or guests in French, for instance, and Paris was seen as the height of sophistication), it should come as no surprise that France was the next place where this metal made its mark, and only a few decades after it had first surfaced in Russia.

I imagined Russian nobility dripping with rose gold and regaling the French with its beauty at balls and society events.

The aristocracy of Paris must have been impressed and then have adopted it as a symbol of wealth and sophistication in their high-class circles too.

Bridget said that she had not realised that Russia had such a pivotal role in the creation of pink gold jewellery, but that the documentary had intrigued her. I had to agree, this was all news to me too, although I loved a story and this one was one I would definitely learn more about.

F’s run was a little longer that morning and Bridget was gone when he came back. He feigned innocence but I knew he had timed it just perfectly.

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