Design

The Rose-Gilded Age

The “Danish Palaces Egg.”

The past September, Apple began to offer a new generation of iPhone models that were “rose gold” in color.

In appearance, rose gold is warm and flush—what yellow gold would look like if it suddenly suffered an embarrassment.

Rose gold is decadent. It is gold for people who already have enough gold gold.

The color is not new. 18th century jewelers infused gold with it, and its popularity has waxed and waned since then.

The last golden age of rose gold fell around the beginning of the 20th century, in Imperial Russia. Carl Fabergé, jeweler to the Czars, put this shade to spectacular use in his ornate decorative eggs.

The shell of the “Danish Palaces” egg—one of a series of 52 such jeweled ovals—presented by Alexander III to his wife, Maria Feodorovna, is pink gold. It opens to reveal its stunningly intricate surprise—a folding, 10-panel pink gold screen.

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