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White gold jewelry is made with pure gold, which is mixed with metals like silver, nickel, zinc, copper, and palladium. The mixture helps create a hard alloy that turns out to be purer than gold and whiter. The resulting metal has a slight yellowing tinge to it, which is why it is covered in rhodium to make its surface shiny.
White gold comes in three types of karats, which include 10K, 14K, and 18K. Of course, you can get higher karat white gold, but we recommend not buying it. Karat indicates the ratio of filler metals with pure gold. For example, 1 karat has 1/24th gold content, which is about 4.17%. So, if a ring is made of 20K white gold, it contains 83.3% pure gold.
You are probably wondering what this has to do with finding out does white gold scratch easily?
Well, let’s find out:
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How Do 10K, 14K, and 18K White Gold Differ?
As mentioned earlier, the karat number tells about the purity of gold.
- 10K has the lowest purity. It contains 41.7% gold
- 14K is purer and contains 58.3% gold
- 18K is the purest form and contains 75% gold
The answer to our question lies here. Yes, white gold gets scratched easily. However, this depends on how pure your jewelry is. In general, if the jewelry contains more gold than alloy, it is soft, and vice versa. However, if the alloy ratio is high, this type of jewelry comes with its own set of problems, which we will discuss later.
Based on this factor, 10K white gold is the hardest. However, this quality of white gold is mostly used for making imitation jewelry.
A ring made of 10K might not bend easily compared to a 14K or 18K ring. However, it won’t have the same shine as the latter rings. Hence, 14K white gold jewelry is the best. It has the perfect ratio of pure gold and allows, making it strong and durable.
Based on the information above, you can deduce which karat would be the most expensive. 14K and 18K white gold are usually popular with diamonds because they offer the right amount of protection and don’t wear down easily. 10K is never used with diamonds because it’s of low quality and because the shine of rhodium wears down fast.
What Purpose Does Rhodium Serve When It Comes to White Gold?
Rhodium is a bright white and hard type of platinum, and it does not get scratched easily. The layer of rhodium applied on white gold is pretty thin, i.e., thinner than a hair strand. It does not increase the thickness of jewelry.
The only downside of rhodium is that it does not last for long. Yes, it gives the jewelry shine, but sweat, creams, and chlorine can cause wear and tear. The good news is that you can get your jewelry re-plated, and it will be as good as new again.
Generally, rhodium lasts for around 6 months. After this, the natural yellow color of white gold starts to appear. Therefore, we recommend you get your jewelry dipped after every year. This procedure will cost you between $20 and $50, depending on whether it’s a ring, bracelet, earrings, or necklace.
What Karat White Gold Should I Get?
14K white gold offers the perfect blend of longevity, affordability, and durability. Since it is around 58% gold, it lasts longer than 18K white gold. As for 10K white gold, it is often used for costume jewelry, as it can turn skin green and cause itching.
Is White Gold good for Active Wear?
White gold and platinum are often mentioned side by side. The former is less expensive than the latter, lasts longer, and, most importantly, outshines platinum. Due to this reason, many people prefer white gold.
However, white gold comes up on top when talking about which metal scratches easily. When the metal hits a surface, it gets scratched, falls, and clings to the surface. On the other hand, platinum also gets scratched, but it does not lose its material like white gold.
Does White Gold Cause Rashes?
Platinum is hypoallergenic, whereas white gold is not due to its nickel content. When nickel meets sweat, it starts to erode and irritates your skin, leaving a rash on your skin. Not everyone experiences this when wearing white gold. It depends on your skin’s sensitivity, allergies to metals, and the amount of nickel the jewelry contains.
Tips for Protecting White Gold Jewelry
Now that you know white gold scratches easily, let’s look at how to protect it from wear and tear:
- Take off your jewelry when swimming because the chlorine in pools affects white gold negatively and causes rhodium to fade away
- When wearing 18K white gold jewelry, avoid going out in the sun and working. This will compromise the quality of white gold and cause dents and scratches
- When gardening or doing household chores, wear gloves. If you are working on a DIY project that involves the use of harsh chemicals, wear rubber gloves
- Always wear your jewelry after applying makeup, putting on perfume, and using lotions and hairspray. The chemical in all these products can tarnish white gold
- Remove jewelry when taking a bath or shower
- Don’t wear white gold when you are about to do any type of strenuous activity
Yes, white gold gets scratched easily. However, your rings or bracelets can last a long time depending on how much white gold is in them and contain which alloys. We recommend buying 14K or 18K white gold only. The latter is softer in quality, but it will shine brighter and last longer than 10K white gold.
Store your white gold jewelry in a pouch when you are not wearing it rather than keeping it in a jewelry box. This way of storing jewelry will not only extend the life of your jewelry but also protect it from rubbing against other metal jewelry and losing its quality.