It’s one of the most pivotal moments in any couple’s relationship: the moment when one person turns to the other to ask for their hand in marriage. If you’ve discovered this website, chances are you’re planning to be the party doing the proposing and are now looking for the perfect yellow gold engagement ring to seal the deal.

Choosing an engagement ring is an exciting but nerve-wracking endeavor, with several significant factors driving your decision. After all, an engagement ring is a major financial investment, and you want to be sure to select a quality ring that will stand the test of time.

You also face the challenge of finding a ring that will match your partner’s style and taste from among endless combinations of stone size, color and shape options as well as the type and color of metal used in the setting. Most importantly, you want to find a ring that properly represents the enduring power of your commitment and the precious nature of your love.

Buying a Yellow Gold Engagement Ring: The 3 Step Process

If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed at this point, don’t worry. In the buyer’s guide below, we’ll guide you step-by-step through every step of the process to help you arrive at a yellow gold engagement ring you’ll be proud to slide onto your partner’s finger.

Step 1: Establish Your Budget

It goes without saying that most engagement rings will cost you a significant chunk of change, and this is as it should be. After all, it’s more than just a piece of jewelry—it’s a symbol of your relationship and the love and commitment you have for each other, and you want them both to last forever.

Traditionally, jewelers recommend expecting to spend roughly two months’ salary on an engagement ring, but you can easily spend more or less depending on your budget and taste. If you haven’t already been saving for this purchase, take some time to examine your budget, set a ceiling for what you’re willing and able to spend and then begin shopping.

If you start looking at rings before establishing a price range, it can be easy to get in over your head with a ring you can’t really afford.    

Step 2: Select Your Stone Size and Type

Most of us picture the classic diamond solitaire when we think about engagement rings, but in reality, ring designs can be as diverse and unique as the people who wear them. If your partner appreciates traditional style, you may want to consider a diamond solitaire in a round, princess or oval cut.

If you want to get a bit more creative, consider a pave, halo, bezel or three-stone setting, which can add sparkle and carat weight to an otherwise basic ring. For an engagement ring that really stands out from the crowd, choose a colored diamond or a precious gem like ruby, sapphire or emerald to create a pop of color.

However, if you’re looking for the hardest, most durable stone to withstand the physical stresses of a lifetime, no other stone matches a diamond’s hardness and longevity.  

Step 3: Choose Your Setting

Once you’ve decided on a stone for your engagement ring, it’s time to select a setting that complements and enhances its natural beauty.

For engagement rings featuring a diamond as center stone, the setting creates a backdrop for the diamond to shine. The color and quality of your diamond will largely determine what type and color of metal will look best, but style and preference play an important role also.

Diamonds’ color is graded using a D-to-Z scale developed by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), with D representing the most colorless (and valuable) diamonds and Z reflecting stones with a noticeable yellow or brown hue. For diamonds with color ratings of D through J, a white gold or platinum setting can accentuate the stone’s pure color, but a yellow gold setting can also create a stunning contrast between the golden hue of the metal and the bright white of the diamond.

Yellow gold can also be a good choice for stones rated M or lower on the scale, with the yellowish metal accentuating the natural color of the diamond. Rose gold can also be used to create contrast with purer stones or a soft look with yellow-tinted stones.

If you prefer a yellow gold setting but want to maximize the colorlessness of a highly-rated stone, you can also consider a mixed-metal setting, with white gold prongs used to secure and set off the stone and yellow gold used for the rest of the setting.

Setting color can also be used to establish personal style. Yellow gold rose gold and white gold have each seen peaks in popularity at various times in history. For example, during the Victorian era (dating from 1837 to the turn of the 20th century), yellow gold engagement rings were the top choice for couples, with designs often incorporating serpents (favored by Queen Victoria herself), secret messages, flowers and other symbols.

Yellow gold recaptured its reign during the Retro era (mid-1930s to mid-1950s), when dramatic curves, strong lines and bold shapes gave engagement rings and other jewelry an artistic quality.

The Case for Gold: A Rich History

For centuries, humans have prized gold for its value and versatility. It was first used decoratively in Eastern Europe around 4000 B.C., and the ancient Egyptians used it for ornamental jewelry as well as trading currency starting in 1500 B.C. The discovery of gold deposits in North America drove the colonization of the American West, and since then, scientists have discovered new uses for gold in medicine, lasers, video technology and even spacecraft.

Gold’s characteristics include both malleability and ductility, allowing it to be shaped and stretched with ease, and it resists chemical reactions to make it less likely to tarnish than other metals.

Benefits of Using Yellow Gold in Engagement Rings

Ancient cultures believed gold symbolized the sun and its life-giving powers, making it the favored material for precious jewelry and ornamental pieces. Yellow gold is still seen as among the most valuable and precious metals, resulting in its enduring popularity as the base for engagement rings and other jewelry. But gold is more than just good-looking. Consider the following benefits of choosing gold over other materials:

  • Durability: Gold is long-lasting, with a chemical structure that makes it resistant to tarnishing and corrosion. It also holds up well to the daily demands of life, sustaining minimal damage with impact.
  • Malleable: Gold’s malleability makes it easy to manufacture and repair as needed.
  • Affordable: Compared to platinum, gold is more affordable and offers options at various price points.

How Does Gold Get its Color?

From a purely chemical standpoint, gold gets its natural color from its atomic structure and the movement of electrons inside those atoms, which cause gold to reflect light primarily from red and yellow wavelengths, giving it the color we know as “gold.”

Additionally, because pure gold is too soft to use alone in rings and other jewelry, gold is combined with various metal alloys to enhance its hardness and durability, and these metals can alter its hue. For example, yellow gold is often mixed with the different metal alloys that are combined with gold to create Gold’s natural hue is the product of its atomic structure and the movement of electrons within that structure.

This causes the metal to selectively reflect light from part of the spectrum – specifically, the red and yellow wavelengths – which combine to produce the hue we perceive as “gold.” Pure yellow gold is too soft to be used for gold engagement rings, so it is often mixed with other metals such as silver, platinum, nickel and palladium to make it harder and more durable.

In addition to adding strength to gold, metal alloys can also be used to alter yellow gold’s hue; adding significant quantities of copper produces rose gold, while adding white metals like palladium or nickel yields white gold.

Making Sense of the Numbers: Which Karat Level is Best?

Yellow gold’s purity is reflected in its fineness, which is measured in karats (K). Gold is commonly sold in one of six fineness levels:

  • 24K: 24 karat yellow gold is considered to be 99.9% pure—the highest level you can buy—and its bright yellow color and brilliant shine are without equal. Gold investors seek out this fineness level, but it’s too soft to be used in rings and other jewelry designed to be worn every day.
  • 22K: Made of approximately 91 percent pure gold, 22K yellow gold consists of about 9 percent alloying metals such as copper or silver.
  • 18K: This fineness level represents 75 percent purity, with one-quarter of its mass made from alloys.
  • 14K: This yellow gold is 58.3 percent gold and may be stamped with the number 583 or 585 instead of 14K.
  • 12K: Yellow gold at this level is 50 percent pure, meaning half of its makeup is non-gold material.
  • 10K: At 41.67 percent gold, this is generally the lowest fineness level you’ll see used in jewelry.

For an engagement ring, 22K yellow gold tends to be impractical because it’s still extremely pure and prone to bending and scratching. High-end yellow gold engagement rings often use 18K gold, but this purity level still bends and scratches relatively easily and can also be prohibitively expensive.

The most popular choice for yellow gold engagement rings is 14K, making up about 90 percent of sales in the U.S. due to its appealing blend of durability, affordability, tarnish resistance and attractiveness. If you’re on a limited budget, 12K or 10K yellow gold engagement rings can be extremely affordable and also highly durable due to the proportion of hard metals they contain.

Caring for Yellow Gold Engagement Rings

Though yellow gold stands up well to the test of time, like any piece of jewelry, daily exposure to detergents, lotions and other substances can diminish its shine. When you anticipate extended contact with objects or chemicals that could potentially damage or dull your ring’s brilliance, you may want to temporarily remove your ring and store it in a safe place.

To keep your yellow gold engagement ring looking beautiful, you can buff it with a soft microfiber cloth and periodically clean it by soaking it in a small bowl filled with water and basic dishwashing detergent and then brushing it with a soft-bristled toothbrush. You can also purchase non-abrasive cleaners designed specifically for yellow gold engagement rings, such as Sparkle Bright or another chemical-free product.   

It’s important to note that minor scratches from everyday wear and tear are completely normal in yellow gold jewelry, so don’t be surprised (or alarmed) when they occur. At first, the scratches may be jarring to the eye, but as they accumulate over time, the ring will develop an attractive patina. You can also have your jeweler polish or even refinish the ring to remove major scratches or restore it to its original luster.

Our Top Five Yellow Gold Engagement Rings

Now that you’ve got the basics of yellow gold engagement rings down, here are some of our favorite yellow gold engagement rings to ignite your imagination and provide ideas for the ring you’ll ultimately select.

DazzlingRock Collection Princess Diamond Engagement Ring

This extraordinary ring features a half-carat, princess-cut center diamond surrounded by two rows of smaller stones. A finely-detailed 14K yellow gold setting contrasts beautifully with the clear white diamonds, which are certified conflict-free.

DazzlingRock backs up the quality of its rings with a 30-day satisfaction guarantee and a 90-day warranty that covers any damage to the stones or setting in the course of normal daily wear.

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Hafeez Center Halo Solitaire Engagement Ring

The smile on your partner’s face will shine as brightly as this impressive yellow gold engagement ring, with its jaw-dropping one-carat center stone flanked by smaller stones set into the rich gold band.

Instead of traditional diamonds, this piece uses moissanite, a rare trace mineral thought to have arrived on earth via the impact of a massive meteorite millions of years ago. Not only does moissanite offer greater brilliance, luster and sparkle than diamonds, but it’s also one of the hardest known elements, making it highly resistant to scratches, chips and breaks.

This surprisingly affordable ring uses eco-friendly recycled yellow gold and conflict-free gemstones, making it a purchase you can feel good about.  

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Houston Diamond District Twisting Infinity Gold and Diamond Pave Set Diamond Engagement Ring

This elegant ring features an intricately-woven yellow gold setting, with one strand of solid gold and one strand inlaid with pave-set diamonds.

The brilliant round-cut, half-carat center stone is rated a J on the color scale, making it pop against the bold yellow gold setting. The pave diamonds on the band bring the ring’s total weight to .62 carats, all of which consists of natural, conflict-free diamonds. A 30-day return policy protects your purchase.

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Diamond Wish 14K Gold Round Two-Stone Diamond Ring

This striking two-stone design symbolizes the two hearts coming together as you ask your beloved to spend a lifetime with you. The brilliant round-cut center diamonds are carefully matched in a J-K color, while 22 smaller accent diamonds blaze down either side of the bypass-style shank for a .71-carat total weight.

The conflict-free diamonds are hand-set in the premium quality yellow gold setting, which features a high-polish finish for enduring shine.

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Glitz Design Vintage Diamond Engagement Ring

The vintage look of this intricately-designed yellow gold engagement ring is the language of pure romance. Bezel-set accent diamonds form a halo around the half-carat, brilliant round-cut center stone and sparkle along the periphery of the shank, making it a striking statement piece that’s sure to turn heads.  

The fine detail of the milgrain work along the 14K yellow gold band further enhances its Art Deco-inspired design. With a one-carat total weight, all of the diamonds used in the ring are naturally mined and untreated, with a fiery sparkle that’s sure to light up the eyes of the recipient.

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Use Your Head, But Follow Your Heart

The information in this buyer’s guide can help you make a smart choice when selecting your soon-to-be fiancée’s yellow gold engagement ring, but don’t let practical concerns stifle your creativity. You know your partner’s style and preferences better than anyone, so follow your intuition when ring-shopping.

If a ring checks all the boxes on paper but doesn’t spark excitement when you imagine it on your fiancée’s finger, keep looking. When you find the right ring, you’ll know it—and the look on her face when you pop the question will confirm your choice.