Everything You Need to Know About White Gold
White gold is wildly popular… by some estimates 70% of all women’s engagement rings sold are white gold. Yet, there’s still a lot of myth and mystique around this precious metal. Here is everything you need to know if you’re looking at a white gold engagement ring.
Is white gold real gold?
Heck yeah! Absolutely. Not only is white gold real gold, but it is often just as pure as traditional, yellow gold engagement rings.
How can white gold be as pure as yellow gold?
No gold engagement ring is made from pure gold. Pure gold is way too soft. Pure gold can be squished and bent and twisted… that malleability is fantastic when it comes to creating ornate designs, but for those designs to last (and to securely hold a diamond!) the gold must be mixed with other harder, more durable metals. In the case of white gold, these other metals are what give the gold its bright white appearance.
Is white gold as precious as yellow gold?
Both white gold and yellow gold are mixed with alloys, but a 14-karat white gold ring has just as much gold in it as a 14-karat yellow gold ring. As such, they’re equally valuable, and cost the same.
What does karat gold actually mean?
Karats are a unit of measure that tells us what proportion of the alloy is gold. Pure gold is 24 karats. Jewelry is very rarely made of pure gold, and while pure gold is more precious, lower karat amounts are stronger.
Most engagement rings are 14 or 18 karats. In 18 karat gold jewelry, 18 of every 24 parts is gold, meaning 75 percent of the metal used is gold. That additional 25 percent is what will give the jewelry its resilience, durability, and, in the case of white gold–its color.
To achieve the beautiful, bright white color, white gold is often mixed with palladium and nickel–hard metals that are naturally white. Yellow gold, however, is usually mixed with copper and zinc to achieve its durability. Both yield strong and gorgeous results.
Is white gold more expensive than other types of gold?
Not at all!
In fact, white gold is a wonderfully affordable choice if you’re looking for a bright white engagement ring.
White gold is significantly cheaper than platinum. (Platinum is thirty times rarer than gold, and that rarity drives up the price!)
White gold also looks incredible at slightly lower karats. After all, a lower karat has more white metals in it, meaning a 14-karat ring will be stronger than an 18-karat ring, and it will keep its bright-white finish longer. 14-karat rings also cost less than 18-karat, making white gold beautifully affordable.
How does white gold compare to platinum?
In terms of price, white gold is significantly more affordable than platinum. But that’s not the only difference–platinum and white gold are two totally separate metals, and overtime, they’ll wear differently.
Platinum develops a patina that can give a ring a vintage look. Some people love this, while others opt to buff away the patina to keep a shinier appearance.
White gold, overtime, will stay smooth and shiny, but it can start to look “warmer.” This is because white gold is plated in rhodium which gives white gold its characteristic high-shine, bright-white appearance.
What do I need to know about rhodium?
Eventually (we’re talking years, not months), rhodium plating begins to wear off due to normal wear and tear, hand washing, etc.
If you bought your ring from Wedding Day Diamonds, you can simply bring it back to us, and we will replace the rhodium plating for free. There’s no limit to how many times you can do this. A Wedding Day Diamonds warranty covers rhodium plating in full for the life of your ring.
Not all jewelers do this, though, so it’s a good question to ask if you’re thinking of buying a ring elsewhere…
White gold will never lose its dazzlingly bright “new” look if it has its rhodium plating. This is different than platinum, which will, overtime, develop surface-level scratches, almost like a little layer of frost.
How does white gold compare to silver?
There’s no comparison. Silver is a great-looking metal, and it is fun for all kinds of fashion jewelry, but it is much softer than a gold alloy. Thus, it’s not recommended for engagement rings. You are much too likely to lose your diamond or gemstones if they’re mounted in a silver ring.