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Your husband is in the dog house. Why? Because they forgot it was date night and came home late. That carefully prepared dinner, the hours you took to get ready, and the house cleaned meticulously… all your hard work down the drain.
So, your husband gifts you a white gold ring to make up. You are over the moon because you have always wanted to wear something precious besides your platinum wedding band. The next day, you proudly show it to your friends. The shine is unbelievable, and you can see the sparkle all the way from across the room. One of your friends says can she hold it in her hand, and you oblige. While you are talking with your other friend, you hear a gasp. You turn to your friend holding the ring and ask what’s wrong.
That’s when she says, “Hate to tell you this, but this ring is a fake. It does not have a hallmark.”
“Hallmark?” You asked, confused.
“It’s the marking that tells you have bought authentic white gold jewelry.”
Turns out, even your husband didn’t know about this, and he too was duped.
The point of telling you this is that whether you are buying pure gold, or artificial gold, such as white gold or any kind of gemstones, you need to look for a hallmark to confirm that A: It’s not a fake and B: You are buying the karat the jeweler is quoting.
Let’s talk about white gold in detail and what its hallmarks are:
To see the most popular white gold jewelry just click here.
What Is White Gold?
When pure gold is mixed with alloys, you get a slightly yellow, dull-looking metal. The alloys, in this case, are white metals, such as silver and palladium, belonging to the platinum family. Since white gold contains impurities, it is less expensive than pure gold and platinum.
Why Is White Gold Mixed With Alloys?
Pure gold on its own is quite soft. Of course, this is 24K gold we are talking about. Yellow gold needs to be mixed with alloys to make it harder and give it a bit of whiteness. The less the ratio of alloys, the more malleable it will be, which is both a good and bad thing.
A malleable metal will bend easily, allowing manufacturers to shape it as they desire. However, this also means that if your white gold jewelry comes in contact with a hard surface, it will get out of shape. Hence, the ratio of white gold and alloys need to be balanced and perfect so that the jewelry does not get damaged.
The same rules apply to rose gold and pink gold because these are just variations of pure gold. Keep in mind that the addition of silver alloys is necessary because they help you achieve your preferred white color.
What’s Rhodium and Why Is It Used?
So, you have got your white gold, but it has a slight yellow hue. This is where rhodium plating comes in. Rhodium is a precious metal that belongs to the platinum family. A light coating of this metal gives white gold durability, further strength, and a lustrous white sheen. For this reason, rhodium is considered the ultimate plating metal for protecting and coating jewelry.
White Gold Hallmarks
Moving on to the hallmarks that tell you how much your white gold weighs, the following are the different categories you need to know:
- 375: 9K (Contains only 37.5% pure gold. The remaining 62.5% include alloys, such as copper, nickel, and silver)
- 417: 10K (Contains only 41.7% pure gold)
- 585: 14K (Contains only 58.5% pure gold)
- 750: 18K (Contains only 75% pure gold)
Determining White Gold’s Quality?
The characteristic that determines the quality of white gold is karat. This refers to the measurement unit that is used to evaluate pure gold. It tells you about the purity of the alloy and, more specifically, how much yellow gold and alloys are mixed.
Since gold is a naturally-occurring metal, it is quite expensive. So, the higher the K hallmark, the more expensive the white gold jewelry will be but not more so than yellow gold jewelry.
Another characteristic that tells you about the quality of white gold is how much nickel is added to it. Many people specifically ask about the impurities in white gold because they don’t want nickel to be one of the alloys. This is because nickel is not hypoallergenic and can cause rashes.
Lastly, let’s not forget the rhodium plating. The thicker the topcoat, the longer your jewelry will last. As the rhodium plating starts to wear off, you will see the light yellow color of pure gold. The good news is that you can get your jewelry re-plated and restore its shine. If you wear your white gold jewelry 24 hours a day, you might need rhodium to touch up after six months. The better you maintain it, the longer it will last… around 2 to 3 years.
White gold is supposed to last a lifetime. However, if it is exposed to chemicals frequently or gets scratched a lot, it will lose its shape and some of its quality as well.
Jewelry made from precious metals should always come with a hallmark, just like gemstones should have a certificate of authenticity. The former ensures you are not buying a fake or a piece of jewelry that says 18K but is, in fact, 10K. The latter ensures that you are not buying gemstones that were mined illegally.
In conclusion, white gold does have a hallmark, and it’s denoted by K or k along with numbers that indicate the purity of yellow gold in it. While platinum and gold are superior to white gold, the white metal itself is superior to silver. So, if you are thinking about buying a present for your spouse, whether it’s a ring or a watch, we suggest that you go with white gold. Not only is it affordable, but its also bright shine, thanks to rhodium, will put a sparkle in the receiver’s eyes.