Precious MetalsWhite Gold Facts:

  • White gold is made through the addition of white metals to the naturally yellow gold.
  • On the high street, white gold is always rhodium plated to give it a cool, steely whiteness like Platinum, but it does not need to be plated and I advocate opting not to plate it in order to appreciate it’s natural beauty.

More about White Gold

A lot of jewellers rhodium plate white gold as standard so only very rarely do you get to see the real colour of it. The images above show the difference in colour between 9ct white gold on the left, 18ct in the centre and rhodium plated white gold on the right. The natural colour of 9ct white gold has a lovely creamy hue, subtly less yellow than 9ct yellow gold. 18ct white gold has a darker, almost gun metal tone.

pave-set-diamond-earrings-tournesolYou can get away with less ‘white’ diamonds in un-plated white gold as any yellow hints will not contrast as much as plated white gold or Platinum and Palladium. But think carefully about which style of setting you choose as accent stones in un-plated white gold; diamonds set in the pavé style can look a little odd in un-plated white gold. Pavé settings give the metal an all-over sparkle and can give the impression that more accent stones have been used, however if the colour of the stone contrasts with the colour of the metal, you can clearly see where each one is.

The truth about White Gold on the high street

white-gold-platingMost high street jewellers will always rhodium plate their white gold jewellery, which has caused a lot of confusion for the consumer as the white gold jewellery looks exactly the same as Platinum and Palladium! Rhodium is from the same family of metals as Platinum and Palladium and some jewellers would argue that white gold has to be plated in order to add durability as well as make it a more attractive colour. I, however, love the natural colour of white gold. I’m of the opinion that all materials are better in their natural form and that plating metal causes a lifetime of trips back to the jewellers to have it re-plated as it inevitably wears off.

What a lot of people mistake for tarnishing on their white gold jewellery is in fact the true colour of the metal showing through the plating as it wears. Plating metal only coats it in a microns thick coating, so this will eventually rub off where the jewellery comes into contact with everything else. Read more on this subject in my blog all about white gold.

Cost wise, white gold is more expensive than yellow gold as the alloys used to produce the white colour are more expensive due to their scarcity. White gold was brought into vogue in the 1920s so can be seen as a more modern option in comparison to yellow gold.

Prior to Palladium becoming a recognised precious metal, white gold seemed to be viewed as Platinum’s poor relation; if you couldn’t afford Platinum, you’d opt for white gold. If you agree with me on the plating issue, then I’m sure you’ll also agree that white gold should not be seen in this way; it is a beautiful metal that should be enjoyed in it’s natural colour and gives a great warmer white alternative to the cool whites of Palladium and Platinum.