Yellow Gold vs White Gold in Rings

Ternary plot of approximate colours of Ag–Au–C...
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Gold comes in different karats and color. To some, white gold may appear more appealing, while to others, yellow seems to attract their interest. However, what are the fundamental differences between these two golds and why is one type of gold more popular than in the other in a particular type of jewelry?

Not surprisingly, an 18kt white gold ring will contain the same amount of pure gold as an 18kt yellow gold ring (75% pure gold). The difference in colors stems from the different metal alloys the gold was mixed with. For example, yellow gold is made by mixing pure gold with zinc and copper. White gold, on the other hand, is made with an alloy of gold and some metals such as silver and palladium. Once upon time, nickel was also used in the production of white gold but many people had allergic reactions to it.

White Gold

So what’s the advantage of choosing white gold over yellow gold in rings? For one, white gold is more durable and scratch resistant than yellow gold. Many people prefer it for their wedding rings, since platinum or titanium can be more expensive. Fortunately, white gold is lightweight and easy to work with. For this reason, it is often easier to re-size white gold rings than titanium or platinum rings. White gold tends to also highlight the diamond in an engagement ring, whereas yellow gold would create the illusion of a yellow tint.

White white gold does look appealing, it also has its disadvantages. Older, vintage white gold jewelry will more than likely have nickel in it. So if you’re allergic to nickel, it’s best to avoid older white gold jewelry. White gold jewelry will also tend to fade in color. The true color of white gold is a light gray, but most jewelry with that color of gold will have been rhodiumed to appear brighter. And since rhodium wears off eventually, you may have to re-rhodium your jewelry each year for a price.

Yellow Gold

Yellow gold is the classic color for most jewelry, especially older jewelry from the 1930s and 1940s. Unlike white gold, it doesn’t need to be re-plated either. Allergic reactions to yellow gold are also very rare, since it doesn’t contain nickel (allergic reactions to zinc and copper are very rare).

While yellow gold jewelry matches people well with warm skin tones, it isn’t the best choice for people with a cool skin tone. Likewise, yellow gold needs to be polished frequently to retain its shine. And because it’s lighter than white gold, it is more inclined to scratches and marks.

Raymond Lee Jewelers

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