White Gold vs. Yellow Gold What's the Difference

These days, one of the most common dilemmas is finding the best choice between white gold vs. yellow gold when looking for a diamond engagement ring. However, it is the same with other pieces of jewelry you want to buy.

Most people make a decision based on color, but the difference between these two is much more than that. So, it is essential to discover what sets these golds types apart and which one is a better option for you. Let’s do that together.

White Gold vs. Yellow Gold Definition

It wasn’t crucial to choose between white and yellow gold throughout history, but it can be essential nowadays. Which one you will pick out depends on your preferences and taste. However, it is always better to consider all options and make priorities based on these two gold types’ properties.

Yellow gold

Natural gold is a soft element with a typical shiny yellow color. The problem is that this precious metal is too soft for designing jewelry. The only way to use it for such a purpose is to mix it with different alloys like silver, copper, palladium, nickel, or zinc to strengthen it.

Once you dig this metal, it is a pure form containing 100% gold. After adding other metals, you will get gold of lower purity, including 20K, 18K, 14K, or 10K. As the percentage of alloys increases, gold becomes less pure and therefore less valuable.

White gold

Since you know that natural gold is yellow, the question arises as to whether white gold is the real thing. It is actually real gold, but you can’t find it in nature.

Jewelry made of white gold is a mix of gold with palladium, zinc, nickel, or rarely manganese coated with rhodium plating. Its purity is the same as with yellow gold, and you can find jewelry made of 20K, 18K, 14K, or 10K white gold.

White and Yellow Gold History

White and Yellow Gold History
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Yellow gold

Yellow gold is a natural variation, so you can imagine that it is the oldest of all other types available on the current market. The first gold jewelry was created back in 4000 BC but became highly popular in the Georgian (1714 – 1837) and Victorian (1837 – 1901) eras.

Old jewelers mostly combined yellow gold with sapphires and rubies. Then, they started to mix pure gold with alloys to get harder and cheaper jewelry. Such jewelry was trendy again in the 1990s, and then millennials discovered its beauty in the 21st century again.

White gold

A modern version of white gold was created in the 19th century but wasn’t particularly popular until the 1920s. Most people enjoying silverish tones preferred silver and platinum.

Since the military used platinum for its purposes, white gold became a less expensive substitute. It is trendy again, and many brides choose this option for their engagement rings since the new millennium started.

White Gold vs. Yellow Gold Differences

White Gold vs. Yellow Gold Differences
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Even though both gold types contain gold, they have various colors. Since it is the primary difference between the two, your final choice will depend on your taste. Some people enjoy golden shades of yellow gold, while others prefer white sheen of silver-like white gold.

While yellow gold is traditional, white gold is both classic and modern, plus it stands out better against any skin ten. As for yellow gold, it will all depend on its hue, which directly relates to the gold percentage it contains.

The pure gold is deep yellow, while 10K gold is pale. In most cases, yellow gold is an excellent option for dark-toned skin, but it can make the pale skin look a bit washed out.


Even though both gold types can contain zinc and nickel, white gold has a higher percentage of this metal. Since it causes allergies, you should avoid this option when suffering from this condition.

On the other hand, jewelers usually mix yellow gold with silver or copper, making it as hypoallergenic as possible.


Gold durability relates to the metal used to make a mix, regardless of whether you have a piece of jewelry made of yellow or white gold. Both options are stable and won’t tarnish and rust under standard conditions, and almost equally durable.

However, white gold is stronger thanks to the hard alloys it contains. Plus, it has a rhodium layer that provides additional protection.

Basically, it is easier to scratch more susceptible yellow gold, but it requires less maintenance. On the other hand, rhodium plating wears off over time. Therefore, it is necessary to re-plate your jewelry, making white gold more expensive and demanding when it comes to maintenance.

Compliance with jewels

You should also consider the gemstone that fits better to one or another gold type. For instance, white gold goes excellently with colorless diamonds, blue sapphires, and emeralds.

Keep in mind that slightly yellowish diamonds go better with white gold because it makes them more noticeable. However, you shouldn’t choose the ones below the H color.

On the other hand, it is better to combine colored diamonds, rubies, purple sapphires, and morganites with yellow gold. Diamonds on the lower color scale (J or K) will fit best to jewelry made of yellow gold.

Your lifestyle

The best solution is to pick out jewelry made of gold that fits best with your lifestyle, especially when it is about the ring you plan to wear daily. If you enjoy an active life, you should choose a more durable 10K and 14K white gold ring.

On the other hand, an 18K yellow gold ring is a perfect option if you don’t work manual jobs or wear jewelry only on special occasions.


In most cases, both gold types with the same gold percentage are of equal quality and cost the same. Sometimes, their prices vary depending on current trends, and some jewelers consider white gold more valuable because of rhodium plating.

The real price difference comes with embedded gemstone types. For example, you can buy a simple solitaire gold ring for only a few hundred dollars, but some vintage pieces will cost you at least $2,500. Remember that rings with diamonds can cost a fortune, depending on the stone’s clarity, cut, and quality.


Investing in gold is a wise business plan, but jewelry is the worst option you can choose. With gold jewelry, you are at a higher risk of being robbed or losing your precious in some disaster.

Additionally, its resale value is low, and it is not easy to sell it, unlike gold coins and bars made of pure, 24K gold. To make matters worse, you will pay for both gold and craftsmanship when buying jewelry. Once you decide to sell it, you will get money only for the gold your piece contains.

You should find a place for selling your jewelry since no all jewelers buy it, particularly when you have a piece made of 10K or 14K with a high percentage of alloy. On the other hand, vintage and antique gold jewelry worth more, especially if you have a top-notch craftsmanship piece.

An even worse decision is to invest in white gold since it has a low resale value. The reason is alloy necessary to reach the desired silverish tone that makes gold purity lower and jewelry value less.

White Gold vs. Yellow Gold Engagement Ring

White Gold vs. Yellow Gold Engagement Ring
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Here is one weird question without a correct answer. In fact, there are two answers:

It sounds a bit tricky, right? I can tell you one thing. White gold is more trendy nowadays, but yellow gold is classy and carries a spirit of tradition. The best option is to try all options you have, including white gold and all shade of yellow gold available on the market.

Your final decision should depend on your skin tone and the advantages and downsides of both alternatives. Let’s see.

Yellow gold

Yellow gold
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  • Jewelry made of this gold type is traditional and most popular for wedding bands and engagement rings
  • It is an appropriate choice for vintage jewelry style
  • It is a hypoallergenic option
  • Maintenance is easy


  • It is slightly less durable than white gold
  • It is susceptible to scratches
  • You need to polish 18K gold regularly

White gold

White gold
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  • It is more trendy than yellow gold at the moment
  • Rhodium layer makes it scratch-resistant, stronger, and more durable than yellow gold
  • It complements colorless diamonds better
  • White color is a better choice for pale and rosy skin ten


  • It is necessary to re-plate jewelry made of white gold since the rhodium layer wears out over time
  • Added nickel often causes allergies


The gold type you prefer depends on your taste. Sometimes your skin ten will dictate your choice since different gold shades look better on a particular skin type.

The fantastic thing is that their durability and prices are similar so that you can rely only on your wishes and current trends. In the end, you can mix these two variations and make a unique choice no one else has.

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