What is White Gold?

White gold looks similar to platinum, but it is different. Here, what you need to know about white gold engagement rings and wedding bands

By Laura Hensley

What is White Gold
Photo by Olly Allars

The First Look ✨

Picking an engagement ring or wedding band is a big decision. With so many options on the market, it can be hard to know exactly what you’re looking for—and what you want to spend your money on. If you’ve started the shopping process, you’ve probably heard of white gold and may be wondering what it is and how it compares to rose gold or yellow gold.

Here’s what you need to know about white gold, including its pros and cons.

What Is White Gold?

 What is White Gold? Photo Credit // Elusive Photography

White gold and platinum look similar, but they are different. Platinum is a stronger metal, is whiter in color, and is more expensive than white gold. Still, white gold is incredibly elegant and is a more affordable option, if you want a similar aesthetic.

Pure gold—24-karat gold—is very soft, meaning that it’s rarely used on its own when it comes to jewelry, which is where white gold comes in.

White gold is made up of pure gold mixed with various alloy metals that have a silvery or white color. These metals include palladium, silver, and nickel.

The purity of white gold is measured in karats, just like yellow gold. An 18-karat white gold ring, for example, means that it’s made up of 75 percent gold, and 25 percent other metals. Likewise, a 14-karat white gold ring would be made up of just over 58 percent gold and slightly over 41 percent other metals.

Because white gold is an alloy of gold, it always has a slight tint of yellow (gold) to it. This makes it different from platinum, which is a white metal.

Is White Gold Durable?

White gold is more durable than pure gold, of course, due to its material. An 18-karat white gold ring is softer than a 14-karat one because it consists of more pure gold. Remember, the more pure gold means the more malleable it will be.

To protect your white gold rings, a process called rhodium plating can be used to prevent scratches (think of it as a layer of topcoat.) Not only can rhodium plating protect your ring, but it can also give it a polished, white finish.

White Gold Engagement Rings and White Gold Wedding Bands

 What is White Gold? Photo Credit // Limelight Photography

White gold is a popular choice for both engagement rings and wedding bands. It’s a classic option for couples who want a timeless piece of jewelry that goes well with every outfit and occasion.

Diamonds look fantastic with white gold. Together, they create really beautiful pieces of jewelry that stand the test of time. Bold stones, such as emeralds and sapphires, also work well with white gold, as the color pops against the white.

White gold wedding bands can be simplistic or embellished with small diamonds. The beauty of white gold wedding bands is that you can make them as basic or as decorative as you like.

How Much Does White Gold Cost?

With any piece of jewelry, the cost depends on size, style, weight, and material. A simple white gold wedding band can cost $160, or you could spend thousands of dollars on a more intricate design.

The cost of a white gold engagement ring will depend on whether or not it has diamonds (and how many), and, of course, size, style, and design. The more karats, the more expensive it will be, and the same with diamonds (or any precious gemstone). You can get a gorgeous diamond white gold engagement ring for just over $1,000, or spend upwards of $5,000 for a more intricate design. Determine your budget and shop within it.

Pros of White Gold

White gold is more affordable than platinum, which makes it a solid choice if you want a white piece of jewelry without breaking the bank. You can also stick within your budget, depending on how many karats you buy. Eighteen-karats will cost you more than 14-karats will.

Another positive of white gold is that you really can’t go wrong with the style; it truly is a timeless and elegant look. Because it’s white, white gold rings pair well with other jewelry and can be worn either on their own or with brighter statement pieces.

Cons of White Gold

Platinum is whiter than white gold, so if you want something super white, you won’t get the purest color with this option. White gold is also not as strong as platinum, so it may be more prone to scratches and dings.

Because white gold is made with yellow gold, its color will fade over time. Even rhodium plating will wear, meaning that white gold jewelry becomes yellowish. However, this can be treated with polishing and replating the ring.

White gold is ideal if you like the look of platinum, but want to save on cost. It’s a durable material that can be replated, meaning that it will last you even when its color fades. Because it looks so good with diamonds, white gold is a popular choice for both engagement rings and wedding bands—and it will make your partner swoon.

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