What is White Gold

White gold is an alloy of gold mixed with other white metals such as nickel, palladium, or silver, giving it a light grey color. To achieve the desired bright white appearance, white gold is often plated with rhodium, a pure white metal from the platinum family.

White gold offers a unique combination of beauty, durability, and affordability. Its bright white color and resistance to wear and tear make it an attractive option for those seeking an alternative to traditional yellow gold or platinum. Additionally, its versatility allows it to be used in various jewelry designs, from engagement rings to necklaces and bracelets.

So, what is white gold? It is a type of gold alloy that has been mixed with other white metals to achieve its signature color and strength. In most cases, the white metals used in the alloy are nickel and palladium, but sometimes silver is used as well. The ratio of these metals varies depending on the desired result, but generally, white gold is made up of around 75% gold and 25% of these other metals. The process of making white gold involves melting down pure gold and adding the desired white metals to create the alloy. The mixture is then cooled and formed into the desired shape. Sometimes, a layer of rhodium is added to the surface of the metal to give it an even brighter, whiter finish.

History of White Gold

White gold's history can be traced back to the early 19th century when various metallurgists began experimenting with gold alloys. It wasn't until the early 20th century that white gold started to gain popularity as an alternative to platinum, which was scarce and expensive due to World War I. During this time, jewelers were looking for a more affordable option that still retained the luxurious appearance of platinum.

In the 1910s and 1920s, German chemist and metallurgist Karl Richter developed a gold alloy with a silvery-white appearance by mixing gold with palladium. This new alloy was dubbed "white gold" and soon gained popularity among European jewelers. Meanwhile, in the United States, Belais Brothers Manufacturing Company patented their own white gold alloy in 1920, which used nickel as the primary metal mixed with gold. The Belais Brothers became known as the pioneers of white gold jewelry in America

White gold's popularity grew rapidly during the Art Deco period (1920s-1930s), as its sleek and modern appearance perfectly complemented the geometric designs and clean lines of the era. Its affordability compared to platinum also made it a popular choice for engagement rings and other fine jewelry. After World War II, white gold continued to grow in popularity, especially as platinum became more readily available. Jewelers began using both metals in their designs, offering consumers a wider range of options. White gold became a symbol of elegance and sophistication, often chosen for its ability to enhance the brilliance of diamonds and other gemstones.

Characteristics of White Gold

Purity and Color

White gold purity is measured in karats, similar to yellow gold. A higher karat value indicates a higher percentage of gold in the alloy. Common karat weights for white gold rings include 14K (58% gold) and 18K (75% gold). The choice of karat weight depends on personal preference, budget, and desired durability.

White gold is known for its bright white color, durability, and density. It is more resistant to wear and tear compared to yellow gold, thanks to its rhodium plating, which provides a shiny and strong finish. However, the rhodium plating can wear off over time, revealing the underlying white gold alloy.


Long-lasting wear: One of the most significant benefits of white gold's durability is its ability to withstand daily wear and tear. The alloy used to create white gold is made by combining pure gold with other metals like nickel, palladium, or platinum, which adds strength and resilience to the final product. This means that white gold rings are less prone to scratches, dents, and other damage that can occur over time, ensuring that your precious piece of jewelry maintains its beauty for years to come.

Resistant to tarnishing: Another advantage of a mens white gold wedding bands added durability is its resistance to tarnishing. Unlike silver, which can develop a dull, grayish patina over time due to oxidation, white gold remains bright and lustrous. This is because the alloy used in white gold is more resistant to corrosion and oxidation, keeping your ring looking new and shiny even after extended periods of use.

Enhanced gemstone security: The added strength of white gold also means that gemstones set in white gold rings are more securely held in place. This is particularly important for engagement rings and other pieces of jewelry that feature valuable stones like diamonds, as it reduces the risk of losing these precious gems due to weak or damaged settings.

White Gold vs Platinum Price

  • White gold is an alloy made by combining pure gold with other metals such as nickel, palladium, or silver. This not only gives it a distinct silvery-white appearance but also makes it more durable than pure gold.
  • The price of white gold is generally lower than that of platinum due to the lower cost of the base materials used in its production. Gold itself is less expensive than platinum, and the additional metals used in white gold alloys are also typically more affordable. As a result, white gold jewelry tends to be more budget-friendly, making it an attractive option for those looking for a beautiful yet cost-effective alternative to platinum.
  • On the other hand, platinum is a naturally occurring white metal that is rarer and denser than gold. Its scarcity and unique properties contribute to its higher price point. Platinum is also more durable than white gold, making it a popular choice for those seeking a long-lasting and resilient piece of jewelry.
  • Additionally, platinum is hypoallergenic, which can be an important consideration for individuals with sensitive skin or allergies to certain metals. While platinum rings and other jewelry items may come with a higher upfront cost, some people view this investment as worthwhile due to the metal's durability and hypoallergenic properties.

18k White Gold Pros and Cons

The Pros of 18k White Gold The Cons of 18k White Gold
Affordability: 18k white gold is generally more budget-friendly compared to platinum, making it an attractive option for those looking for a cost-effective alternative. Less Durable than Platinum: While 18k white gold is more durable than pure gold, it is still not as strong and resistant to scratches as platinum.
Durability: The alloy used in 18k white gold makes it stronger and more durable than pure gold, providing a long-lasting piece of jewelry. Rhodium Plating: Over time, the rhodium plating on white gold can wear off, requiring periodic re-plating to maintain its lustrous appearance.
Appearance: The silvery-white appearance of 18k white gold gives it a modern and sophisticated look that appeals to many people. Potential Allergies: Some individuals may be allergic to the nickel or other metals used in the alloy of 18k white gold, causing skin irritation or discomfort.
Easy Maintenance: 18k white gold requires less maintenance compared to other metals like sterling silver, which tarnishes easily. Lower Resale Value: Compared to platinum, 18k white gold may have a lower resale value due to its lower overall cost and the fact that it's an alloy rather than a pure metal.

White Gold Ring Care and Maintenance

  • Regular Cleaning: Clean your white gold ring regularly to maintain its shine and remove dirt, oils, and residue. Mix a few drops of mild dish soap with warm water and soak the ring for 15-20 minutes. Gently scrub the ring using a soft-bristle toothbrush, paying special attention to any intricate details or gemstones. Rinse thoroughly with warm water and pat dry with a soft, lint-free cloth.
  • Avoid Harsh Chemicals: Exposure to harsh chemicals can damage the rhodium plating and the metal itself. Remove your white gold ring when using cleaning products, swimming in chlorinated pools, or applying cosmetics, lotions, and perfumes.
  • Store Properly: Store your white gold ring separately from other jewelry pieces to prevent scratches and damage. Use a soft pouch or a separate compartment in your jewelry box to keep it safe.
  • Polish Carefully: To maintain the shine of your white gold ring, use a soft, lint-free polishing cloth designed specifically for jewelry. Gently rub the surface of the ring to restore its luster. Avoid using abrasive materials or excessive force, as this may cause scratches or damage the rhodium plating.
  • Rinse and dry the ring: When finished, rinse your ring thoroughly with clean water and pat it dry with a clean cloth.