Have you heard the phrase white gold mentioned by friends and family members? Have you seen and touched it? Have you always been uncertain about the difference between white gold and other types of gold? Do you want to buy a piece of white gold jewelry but are worried about making a mistake?
There is no reason for you to remain in the dark on the subject. It is especially important for you to gather a greater understanding of white gold and its different form if you are planning to purchase jewelry.
White gold is most commonly used in engagement rings. If you are planning to marry the love of your life and to pop the question soon, and your bride or groom to be has expressed a preference for white gold, then you should learn everything you can about it.
White gold—the facts
White gold is composed of pure yellow gold and alloy metals. The most common metals used in white gold are palladium and silver, which is what gives it a light color.
Pure gold is a very soft metal, making it a difficult substance for jewelry manufacturers to shape into a fixed, stable, and sturdy object. That is why nearly all gold jewelry is mixed with harder metals to make them stronger and more durable. Otherwise, the jewelry would be easily scratched, damaged, and bent out of shape.
White gold is also coated with rhodium. This is a precious metal that is in the same metal family as platinum, and it is added for further strength and durability. Rhodium has a strong white surface sheen, which makes it a perfect metal to coat and protect white gold.
There is quite a large market for white gold. However, there are also people who cannot abide this shade of jewelry. You should be sure of the intended recipient’s taste before you make your purchase.
Why white gold wears down
Over time, the rhodium coating will begin to wear off and the yellow coloring of the gold will begin to show. This is normal. All white gold jewelry begins to turn yellow with age.
The rate at which this happens depends on factors such as the acidity of your skin and the precautions you take to protect the jewelry. The pH level of skin is greatly influenced by diet.
Most people will not adjust their diet to lower their pH level and protect their white gold jewelry. However, if you or the intended recipient already follow a diet that leads to a low acid level, then it will be easier to maintain the white sheen on the jewelry.
Toiletries and household chemicals can also affect the rate at which the white sheen wears off. Removing white gold jewelry before doing chores is a good way to preserve it. Being careful about lotions, creams, and cosmetics can also make a difference.
Environmental factors, such as the amount of pollution in your area, can also affect the rate at which the white sheen wears down.
Some of these factors are beyond the control of the person who will wear the jewelry. However, you need not let your investment, and their pleasure, go to waste.
White gold jewelry can be re-coated with rhodium now and again. This simple process can be carried out at most jewelry stores at a reasonable cost.
Is it real gold?
There is a nagging sense among some people who buy white gold that it is not real gold. This is not the case. White gold is real gold. Set your mind at ease: you are not being a cheapskate by purchasing a white gold engagement ring for your loved one.
White gold jewelry contains non-gold metal alloys, but so does yellow gold jewelry. The most reliable way to determine real from fake gold is looking at the hallmark. The latter is a stamp on a gold object that certifies its purity and fineness, or karat. All authentic gold must be hallmarked.
Which karat of white gold should I buy?
This is the next big question. Before answering it, you should know what is meant by a karat. Briefly, a karat is a measure of purity in gold. It is designated by a number. The scale runs from 9 to 24. Here are the karats and their corresponding gold percentages:
14K and 18K are the most popular choices for white gold engagement rings.
14 vs. 18 Karat white gold
To begin with, it must be said that the popularity of 14 karat and 18 karat white gold jewelry is related to the fact that they are popular among jewelers. Vendors tend to offer a greater range of options in these two karats than in any other.
There are other reasons why these two karats are so highly sought after. The most important is that they both pass the 50% threshold of gold purity.
You can buy a 14K white gold engagement ring for less money than an 18K ring. However, the cost difference is not all that significant. There is, however, a difference in quality. An 18K white gold jewelry piece will have a brighter look and whiter sheen. This stems from the fact that it has a higher gold content, which makes it less vulnerable to oxidization.
The higher gold content in 18K white gold is also better for people who suffer from metal allergies. There are people who are allergic to gold. But this is a far lower percentage than those who are allergic to other types of metals. 14K white gold has a higher content of such alloys, which may cause problems. You should check with the person you intend to give the jewelry to before making your purchase.
Another advantage of 18K white gold is that your jewelry will not need to be rhodium plated. In addition to enhancing the white sheen on white gold jewelry, rhodium is also used to protect it against oxidization. But because 18K white gold is not prone to the latter, there is no need for rhodium. This is a huge cost saving in the long term. There will be no need to have the jewelry regularly re-coated with rhodium.
So why buy 14K white gold?
One of the best arguments for purchasing 14K white gold is that it is harder and more durable than 18K. This is technically true. And the argument cannot be dismissed by claiming that the difference is not substantial.
This difference in strength will matter if your partner is an active person. If they are an athlete or do a great deal of outdoor activity, a 14K white gold engagement ring may combine all the elements you want.
It is a piece of jewelry that contains over 50% of gold. But it is strong and tough enough to suit the busy and physically arduous lifestyle of the person who will wear it.
Buying a 14K white gold engagement ring may also be the more financially practical decision. It is quite natural to want to impress the person you give an engagement ring to.
However, you cannot ignore the realities of your budget. In the end, you may not be able to afford an 18K white gold ring. And you may be able to find a 14K ring that is just as aesthetically pleasing.
Indeed, it is worth dwelling on the fact that 14K white gold has a warm and soft color that is attractive to most people. The person you intend to give it to will be mostly concerned about the design and appearance of the ring.
They are unlikely to ponder the karat count if presented with a ring that is stunningly beautiful. You should consider this fact before making your purchase.
White gold has gained in popularity since the 1990s. It has, in fact, become the metal of choice for engagement rings—besting even the traditional and classic yellow gold. White gold has also become preferable to platinum because it looks and feels more luxurious and is less expensive. White gold contains a mix of alloys that give it a white-silvery look. However, it has much more durability and value than silver.
The gold purity in white gold jewelry is measured in karats, which range in scale from 9 to 24. The highest number of karat has the highest content of gold. The most popular white gold karats are 14 and 18. Both of these karats have a gold content that is greater than 50%.
Many people prefer 18K white gold because of its higher gold content, and the fact that it requires less maintenance to look clean and polished. However, there are advantages to buying 14K white gold. If you are able to find a design that you think is perfect for your loved one in a 14K piece, then you should not hesitate to make the purchase.
You should also take into account the lifestyle of the person who will wear the ring. The greater strength and durability of a 14K white gold ring may make it more appropriate for your partner. It may be just as stylish and gorgeous as any 18K piece.