The Semiotics of the Rose Gold iPhone

Back in September 2015 Apple launched an iPhone variant that sent the world crazy.

We looked at what the rise of Rose Gold says about the state of the world

We pointed out that Rose Gold is a code that signals the party is nearing the end

And while we hate to say ‘We told you so’, in a post Brexit, post Trump world…

er…. We told you so

The Rose Gold iPhone was THE tech launch back in September 2015. Buzzfeed commented “The internet has lost its DAMN MIND about the new pink iPhone”
 The Verge wrote that “The rose gold iPhone is causing a global crisis in masculinity”
Meanwhile people took to Twitter in their thousands to say they didn’t give a damn, they were buying a rose gold RIGHT NOW

Rose gold was super hot in 2015

Besides completely stealing the show at the Apple Event we saw rose gold taking over the premium world. No jewellery collection was without it. It is “more discrete than yellow or white gold, it brings warmth to the creation and marries well with coloured stones” (Claire Choisne, Boucheron)

Handbags, shoes, even Birkenstock sandals came in it. Weddings that used to be themed in ‘salmon’ or (whisper it) ‘pink’ had a new denominator

Gold is the most potent of symbols

Rare, costly, durable and immune to tarnish, gold has always lent itself easily to metaphor. Whether as the golden age, golden rule, golden mean or conflated with the sun as a metaphor for life itself, gold is symbol like no other

The marker and preserve of the wealthy and powerful, sumptuary laws throughout history have tried to control the wearing of gold jewellery and the use of gold thread

In societies where shortage is a powerful folk memory, gold is security as well as wealth. 78% of India’s household savings are in gold (Macquarie Bank, 2011)

In China, gold is also the colour of the emperors and is particularly revered. Apple freely admit the gold iPhone was part of a – successful – attempt to appeal to the booming Chinese market

Rose gold is both more and less than gold

Made with the addition of 20% or so of copper, rose gold has a warmer, human hue that jewellery designers will describe as more feminine and soft

Deliberately adulterated, it is gold that has the inclination to be something else

Unlike yellow gold, rose gold is subject to the vagaries of fashion. A substance of enduring value is transformed into a consumer item with the half life of all things modish

It swings in and out of style

Rose gold is decadent

It is gold for people who already have enough gold gold

When can you afford to have too much gold gold?

The most famous lovers of rose gold were the Tsars. Faberge’s most expensive creation, the rose gold Moscow Kremlin egg, was installed in the Alexander Palace as the empire began to crumble. It sits in the Moscow Armoury museum as a warning to those who simply have too much

Van Cleef & Arpels created their most iconic rose gold pieces in the late 1930s as Europe moved towards war

The last peak was in the run up to the global crash of 2008

And now it’s back

Time to head for the hills, rose gold iPhone in hand?