White Metal Jewelry: White Gold

All About White Gold

A World War II favorite, white gold meant patriotism for that era’s marrying couples, when platinum was taken off the market for use in the war effort. Today, white gold offers affordability and fashionable fun.

The Look

White gold gets its color by mixing yellow gold with alloys like nickel, zinc, and palladium. Due to the variety of the alloys used, white gold colors will vary. Sometimes, white gold is covered with rhodium plating to create a bright, pure white finish.

Insider Details

White gold is available in karatages up to 21 karat; it is not possible to have 22K or 24K white gold. Eighteen karat gold is 75% pure, 14K is 58.5% pure, and 10K (the lowest karatage legally sold as gold jewelry in the US) is 41.7% pure.

Learn more about choosing gold…

Why is Gold in Different Colors? – Choosing the right gold alloy
Gold Fast Facts – a few things you probably didn’t know about your gold jewelry
Hallmarks on Old Jewelry – What the markings on your gold pieces can tell you
IJO 14K White Gold Ring with Diamonds and Oval Sapphire
IJO 14K White Gold Ring with Diamonds and Oval Sapphire

Advantages and Disadvantages

IJO 2-Tone Diamond RingWhite gold is a more affordable yet still durable and precious alternative to platinum. It doesn’t tarnish like silver. But some rhodium-plated white gold can “yellow” over time and may need to be occasionally replated with rhodium. However, some manufacturers are creating white gold alloys that are white enough not to need rhodium plating. Be sure to ask your jeweler about these newer alloys.

When gold is alloyed with nickel, it can be allergenic to a small percentage of wearers who have sensitive skin. In response, many refiners and manufacturers are now offering white gold that doesn’t contain nickel.

Source: Jewelers of America
Image: IJO 2-Tone Diamond Ring