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For decades, yellow gold has been the traditional and only choice for wedding rings. The yellow metal lasts longer and has great value in the market. However, white gold’s clean and cool shine is slowly taking off now. While this white metal was developed a while ago, it didn’t become popular until the 1990s.
White gold emphasizes the brilliance and sparkle of diamonds. It does not have a reflective surface, nor does it make stones appear hollow. Its uncompromising beauty is accentuated by the shine it gives, which is why most people prefer it over yellow gold.
The purity of precious metals, such as yellow gold and white gold, is measured in Karats. You have probably heard jewelers refer to a piece of jewelry as 24K, which indicates that it is 100% pure gold. 24K jewelry is quite popular globally, but in the West and Europe, it is considered too soft. Hence, gold is mixed with alloys to give it strength. These alloys include metals like zinc, copper, nickel, and silver. For example, if the jewelry is 18K, it is 75% (18 parts) gold and 25% (6 parts) alloys.
Since white gold is not a naturally occurring metal, it is made by mixing yellow gold and multiple alloys. Hence, it is classified as a white metal. Thanks to the rhodium plating, it gets a silvery bright white color.
To see the most popular styles of white gold jewelry just click here.
How to Tell If You Are Buying Real White Gold?
When buying jewelry or precious gems, always ask for a certificate of authenticity. It’s the document you need to prove to future buyers that the jewelry you are selling is made of real white gold.
Other factors help you distinguish white gold jewelry from other metals and fake pieces. You are walking on the street when something shiny, bright, and white catches your eye in a display. Is it platinum, white gold, silver, or something else?
How to tell? Let’s take a look at solving this dilemma:
White Gold Does Not Tarnish
One of the biggest telltale signs of real white gold is it does not tarnish. A layer of oxidation on white gold makes its surface dull and gives it a whitish and matte finish. This layer shows that the metal is base metal, pure silver, or silver-plated. While silver too is a quality white metal, it is not as valuable as gold.
Platinum Is Shinier and Harder Than White Gold
Both platinum and white gold have a white hue. However, the former is bigger in size. If there are any scrapes on the ring or it develops abrasions after a while, the ring is made of white gold. Platinum does not exhibit such signs of wear, which is why it is superior to white gold.
Aluminum Does Not Have That “Precious Metal” Look
Compared to white gold, aluminum is softer, is prone to wear, and bends easily. The latter characteristic is both an advantage and disadvantage, as it means your aluminum jewelry will lose its shape after a few bumps. It’s also why you will seldom find a ring made of aluminum.
Stainless Steel Is Stronger Than Gold, Silver, and Platinum
Again, stainless steel is not a precious metal but is used in jewelry, such as watches. Since watches are worn for long hours, they need to be scratch-resistant and durable, which are two qualities stainless steel provides.
What’s the Secret Behind White Gold’s White Look?
While palladium (belonging to the platinum family) and nickel are mixed with pure gold to lighten their color, a yellow hue still remains. Imagine mixing yellow paint with white paint. No matter how much white you will add, the paint will still have a slight yellow undertone. It will come close to being white but never fully.
The same applies to white gold. For that genuine white finish, white gold is plated with rhodium, which covers its entire surface, disguising the yellow color. This brings it closer to resembling platinum. Hence, it is sometimes hard to distinguish platinum from white gold.
What Is Rhodium?
As a precious metal and part of the platinum family, rhodium is a valuable and rare metal. It has a white-silver color and is highly durable. It is also reflective and is what gives white gold its shine.
Does Rhodium Plating Wear Off?
A valid question, which we know concerns many first-time white gold buyers. Every precious metal loses its shine at some point, and white gold is no different. However, with regular maintenance, you can easily avoid this issue. When it comes to yellow gold, its scratched surface needs to be polished to get back its bright shine. On the other hand, rhodium plating is scratch-resistant and quite durable.
What we are about to say might seem a little confusing but bear with us. No matter how high-quality the rhodium plating is, it will wear off at some point, and the yellow color underneath will slowly start to appear. The good news is that you can get your white gold jewelry re-plated and restore its shine. It’s as simple as that!
How Can I Make the Rhodium Plating Last Longer?
Several variables affect the rhodium plating. They differ from wearer to wearer. How the chemistry or our body will react with the plating cannot be predicted. So, you can take a few steps to keep your ring’s shine longer.
- To prevent the loss of shine, take off your jewelry when taking a shower and apply hairspray, creams, perfumes, and makeup.
- Remove your jewelry when doing household chores that involve the use of chemicals. If you wash your hands often in your line of work, keep your rings in your pocket.
- If you are going swimming or getting in a hot tub, remove anything made of white gold.
White gold is not a naturally occurring metal like platinum and gold. However, its bright shine has made it popular and a preference of those people who don’t like the yellowish bling of pure gold. Your white gold jewelry will always sparkle as long as you follow the tips mentioned above.
A little maintenance will go a long way in making your white gold jewelry last forever. If it loses its sparkle, you can always get it re-plated.