Here we will take an in-depth look at white gold, it’s pros and cons – and gives you buying tips for when you’re buying jewellery.
What is white gold?
White gold is an alloy of gold. This means that it is made up of pure yellow gold, mixed with alloy metals that have a silvery-white color, such as palladium and silver.
Why is it mixed with alloy metals?
In all gold jewelry, pure gold has to be mixed with harder metals for added durability and strength. This is because on its own, pure gold is a very soft metal. Without the harder alloy metals keeping it rigid, pure gold would easily bend out of shape – and that’s no good in jewelry.
This is the case whether the jewelry is made from yellow gold, rose gold or white gold, because in any of these variations, gold on its own would be too soft.
In white gold, additionally, the silvery-coloured alloys help to create the desired white colour.
Why is it coated in rhodium?
Apart from the alloys mixed in with the pure gold, white gold jewelry is additionally coated in a precious metal known as rhodium. Rhodium comes from the same metal family as platinum.
It adds further strength and durability, and importantly, a really lustrous white surface sheen – making it the ideal metal to coat and protect jewelry.
Why does white gold eventually start to look like yellow gold?
Over time, the rhodium coating on your white gold jewelry becomes worn, revealing the yellow gold color underneath.
Is this normal? Yes. Eventually, all white gold jewelry begins to show yellow gold color. How quickly this happens depends on many factors such as the pH level of your skin, and what toiletries or household chemicals the jewelry comes into contact with even hand sanitiser.
What can be done about it? This can be resolved easily by getting the jewelry re-coated with rhodium every so often. This can be easily done at most jewelers.
To recap, the advantages and disadvantages of white gold are…
White gold is a beautiful, precious metal.
It is the perfect choice for those who prefer a white, silvery appearance over yellow gold.
Its neutral color and durability makes it the perfect setting for all gemstones.
It looks beautiful and classic, suited to all outfits and events.
As white gold is made from a mix of pure yellow gold with alloys and coated in rhodium, overtime it will need recoating to maintain its color.
Although this is an easy and fairly inexpensive process that can done by most jewelers, it could mean that you’ll need to be without your engagement or wedding ring for a period of a few days while it’s being done. Overtime, it will add to the overall cost of your jewelry.
Is White Gold more valuable than Yellow Gold?
There is no price value difference between the actual gold in white and yellow gold jewelry, as long as it is hallmarked at the same carat weight. So for example, 18K white gold and 18K yellow gold will contain the same percentage of gold.
Conclusion – is white gold for me?
Whether white gold is for you is ultimately a personal choice. Overall, it makes for a stunning choice if you love the neutral, classic look.
Over the last half a century, white gold has become much more popular than classic yellow gold and is in fact the most often chosen metal for engagement rings.