Last updated on October 5th, 2022 at 10:36 pm
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White gold is used to make many types of jewelry, the most common being engagement and wedding rings. It is more affordable and durable than metals like platinum and palladium making it more appealing for jewelry buyers.
White gold is a great choice for those who want a beautiful piece that sparkles whenever the light hits it. Natural gold is yellow in color, but once metal alloys are added to the gold, it can change in color. Adding certain metal alloys to gold can result in white gold.
So, what is white gold made of?
White gold is made up of pure gold mixed with silvery alloy metals to give it its color and durability. The metals used to make white gold are nickel, silver, palladium, manganese, zinc, or platinum. White gold is then plated in rhodium to make it stronger and brighter.
The metals mixed with gold to make white gold give the gold a white color. However, white gold can still look a little bit yellow or off-white because it is mostly made up of pure gold. Because they are a silvery white color, nickel, silver, or palladium is mixed with gold to make white gold.
The ratios of metals will result in how many karats the gold is. 24k white gold isn’t possible because white gold needs the added alloys to make it white. So, 24k gold is always yellow in color.
Gold used to make jewelry isn’t typically 24k anyway because it is much too soft and easily damaged. So, the common karats that gold jewelry is made up of are 18k and 14k, with 14k being the most common.
18k white gold is made of 75% pure gold. 14k white gold is 58.5% pure gold, and so on. The added alloy mixed with the gold makes it much more durable and scratch-resistant. The more alloys added in, the stronger the metal is. Metals added to gold to make white gold can be nickel, silver, palladium, manganese, zinc, or platinum. 75% gold, 2.5% silver, 8% nickel, 10% copper, and 4.5% zinc is a common 18k white gold alloy.
So, white gold is made with real gold along with silvery metal alloys such as nickel, silver and palladium to give it is white color.
The alloys in white gold make it stronger and more durable so it can be worn as jewelry and is more suitable for everyday wear. It is still made with real gold, but the silvery metal alloys added in make it the desired white color.
There is another way that jewelers make white gold (as well as silver and other silvery white materials) more durable and that is to coat it in a rhodium plating. Gold is soft and rhodium is hard making it the perfect material to coat gold to make it resistant to damage.
Gold that has been rhodium plated also doesn’t tarnish, although over time, it could wear down because of what it is exposed to on a daily basis. When this happens it is a good idea to get your ring or other jewelry replated.
Rhodium is also hypoallergenic making it a good option for those who have allergies to silver or nickel. This plating also gives the gold a more silvery white finish for a better appearance. White gold needs rhodium to look more white because gold is naturally yellow.
The added alloys mixed with gold to make white gold can completely make it white, however, some yellow can still show through. So, for a protective surface and brighter finishing touch, rhodium is applied in a thin layer over top of the white gold.
White is pure gold with silver alloys and a rhodium coating to make it white. To see the most popular pieces of white gold jewelry just click here.
Is White Gold Valuable?
White gold is a good metal to buy because it is durable and beautiful. It is not fake gold, but is made with 100% real gold just mixed with other metal alloys to make it white. Since white gold is an alloy, we may start to wonder if it is valuable.
Is white gold as valuable as pieces of yellow gold?
White gold is just as valuable as yellow gold. The value or worth of white gold depends on how much pure gold it contains. The more gold, the more valuable it will be. All colors of gold are valuable and the value of white gold depends on if it is 14k or 18k gold (as well as if it contains diamonds or other stones).
So, white gold is valuable. Remember that even yellow gold has metals alloys added to it to make it more durable. Instead of more silver colored metals, yellow gold contains copper though. White, yellow, and rose gold contain the same amount of pure gold depending on what its karat weight it is. 18k=75% pure gold, 14k=58.5% pure gold, etc.
The value of gold changes from day to day but as of right now, 18k gold is worth $44.58 per gram and 14k gold is worth $34.35 per gram. So the larger the piece of jewelry, the more gold it contains and the more valuable it becomes.
If white gold is made with an expensive alloy like platinum then this can slightly raise its value. So, other metals added to the white gold can increase its worth.
We mentioned that white gold can have a rhodium plating. Since this is expensive it can add to the price of the piece as well. Rhodium is a reflective, bright, white metal that is very rare. So rare that it is actually the most expensive of all precious metals.
Surprisingly rhodium costs more than gold or platinum. However, it is also very brittle. Because of this, rhodium cannot be made into jewelry the way gold and silver can. So, jewelers found a great use for it – plating other silver or white colored metals!
Rhodium is beautiful and is used often to enhance white gold. Although it is made with metal alloys, it still includes 100% real gold, so white gold is valuable, being worth as much as yellow gold that is the same karat.
White gold is a beautiful metal used to make jewelry. It is made up of pure gold mixed with silvery metal alloys such as nickel, silver, palladium, manganese, zinc, or platinum and has a rhodium plating.
These enhance white gold making it more durable and a brighter white color.