The Difference Between Yellow and White Gold

The Difference Between Yellow and White Gold

OroSpot offers a great selection of both yellow and white gold jewelry. The choice is yours, and the primary difference, of course, is color – but there is much more to it! Let us take you behind the scenes and tell you more about gold, to help you make the right decision.

Pure gold – the 24 karat gold – is a beautifully lustrous yellow metal, and it is rather soft. In order to make it harder and tougher, gold is mixed with other metals, which also affects the color. The difference in color is thus determined by the metal components used in the alloy mix. As a result, gold is available in several different colors, from yellow, through white and rose, to bronze, red and lime.

Yellow gold, as we know it in the jewelry industry, is achieved by mixing pure gold with metals such as copper and zinc that retain the yellow color. The term “white gold” refers to karat gold alloys with a whitish hue and includes a broad spectrum of off-white shades, including very pale yellow and rose. White gold contains a percentage of at least one white metal, usually nickel, palladium or manganese, which act as bleaching agents, and sometimes with added platinum, silver or titanium for weight and durability. Nickel alloy is hard and strong and ensures durability, so it is often used to produce rings and pins. However, it can cause allergic skin reaction in some people, and often sometimes avoided and substituted with palladium, especially in the European markets. White gold with palladium is softer and more pliable; therefore it is perfect for gemstone settings. OroSpot offers nickel-free white gold jewelry.

The pure gold content of yellow, white and other kinds of gold is measured in the same way – in karats. Karat indicates how much gold there is in proportion to other elements used in the alloy mix. Karats are measured in units of 24, where 24 karat gold is 100% pure gold; 18 karat gold has 18 parts gold to 6 parts alloy (75% gold); 14 karat gold has 14 parts gold to 10 parts alloy (58% gold), and so on. While 20 karat gold and higher is always yellow, 18 karat gold and below can be white or other colors, so an 18 karat white gold necklace contains 75% pure gold and 25% alloy, just like an 18 karat yellow gold necklace.

White gold tends to be more scratch- and dent-proof than yellow gold, because of the alloyed metals used in the mix. On the other hand, it can appear to be faded with yellow undertones. This is why white gold is often plated with another white metal called rhodium, which is similar to platinum, to make it appear brighter. Rhodium does wear off eventually, so it is best to re-plate white gold with rhodium every 12 to 18 months. Therefore, 10 karat white gold and 18 karat white gold are similar in color, since both are usually rhodium plated, while 18 karat yellow gold will have a richer color than the 10 karat yellow gold.

While yellow gold is the classic shade, white gold is often preferred in engagement rings, because it highlights the color of the diamond. View OroSpot’s beautiful collection of white gold diamond engagement rings to find out for yourself. White gold tends to have slightly higher price, because it is more difficult and more expensive to properly blend it with the right alloy, especially if it is mixed with platinum or titanium. It is thus more difficult to manufacture white gold with ideal qualities desired for jewelry making, such as hardness and flexibility.

No matter which way you decide to go, OroSpot will have the perfect gold piece for you at the best possible price!

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