I frequently get asked this: “What is the difference between yellow or white gold?” Is white gold more valuable than yellow gold? We will discuss them in this article and then go into detail about the pros and cons.
White gold and yellow gold are the most common metals for engagement rings. Some people prefer one over the other, while others only wear one. This is an important decision to make when you’re choosing an engagement ring since there’s a lot out on the market. So we wanted to provide a comparison of the two metals so that you can choose the right one for you. Learning about white gold versus yellow will help you narrow down your options for an engagement fairly easily!
Let’s start with the difference between white gold and yellow gold
Gold in its purest form (24 Karats) is too soft to be used for jewelry and would easily lose its shape. To increase its strength and durability, pure gold is often mixed with other harder metals such as nickel and platinum.
White gold is often made with metals such as nickel, palladium, and platinum. The alloy mixture will vary depending on the jewelry being made.
Many people mistakenly believe that white gold is pure white. White gold is naturally yellow-colored in its raw form. They are then given a shiny, lustrous finish by a rhodium plating process.
In yellow gold’s composition, metals such as silver, copper, and zinc are often used. Copper and silver are used to create a layer of colored oxide on the surfaces, which helps to enhance the yellowish hue of yellow gold.
Most diamond engagement rings on the market are either made from 14k or 18k yellow gold. This is a measure of the purity of gold. Both types of gold have similar properties.
History of Yellow and White gold
The purest form used in jewelry is gold, proven to be as old as 4000 B.C., with the oldest examples being from Egypt and Mesopotamia. As a symbol of wealth and power, gold jewelry was worn by both women and men. It was rare and expensive, so it was often inlaid with brightly colored stones. In every corner of the globe, gold was a sought-after adornment throughout history. Museums all over the world contain extraordinary examples of yellow gold jewelry from every major civilization.
Mixing pure gold with other metals created stronger and more durable jewelry, which was also cheaper. Before white gold was discovered in the 19th century, yellow gold ruled supreme. White gold wasn’t popularized until the 1920s, when it was used as a substitute for platinum. White gold was first used to make military machinery during World War II.
White gold is a mix of pure gold and white metals like palladium and silver. It’s usually coated with rhodium. Although real gold is not entirely made of gold, the gold is strengthened and made more durable by the addition of other metals. White gold’s value depends on its karat (14K or 18K), and the amount of metal used in the creation. White gold rings can be priced from $180 for a simple solitaire ring to $2,500 for a more elaborate vintage setting. The cost depends on the vendor and the quality of your ring. You’ll generally get 50c for every dollar worth of scrap metal if you’re selling your setting. Additionally, white gold is an excellent choice for people with sensitive skin as it does not cause any irritations or allergies. For those who are nickel-sensitive, however, white gold containing the metal can prove to be problematic due to its components being similar (nickel). As time goes on and because this alloy fades over long periods of usage – yellowish hues will begin appearing on your fingers!
Pros of white gold:
- White Gold is more affordable than platinum.
- It is currently more popular than yellow gold.
- It is made with stronger metals than yellow gold to make it more durable and scratch-resistant.
- Some people believe that white diamonds are more complementary than yellow gold.
- Complements fair or rosy skin tones.
Cons of white gold:
- To maintain its color and luster, the rhodium plating wears and must be replaced every few years. The process is easy and inexpensive. Many jewelers offer this service free of charge.
- Nickel is often mixed with white gold, which can cause allergic reactions in some people. White gold, unless it is mixed with other alloy metals than nickel, is not hypoallergenic.
Yellow gold is composed of pure gold and alloy metals like copper or zinc.
The karatage of the jewelry will determine how much pure gold is in it.
- 24 Karat: Pure 99.9%
- 22 Karat: Pure 91.7%
- 18 Karat: 75% Pure
- 14 Karat: Pure 58.3%
Higher karats indicate a higher gold content. This also means that the metal is less durable. This is why 14K or 18K Gold is used for mounting wedding and engagement rings.
Pros of yellow gold:
- This is the most hypoallergenic of all three gold colors.
- Yellow metals were historically used for weddings and engagement rings, making them suitable for vintage settings.
- The purest of all golds.
- This is the easiest of all three types of gold colors to maintain.
- This is the most malleable and easy for jewelers to work with.
- It complements olive or darker skin tones.
- It can be easily matched with colorless diamonds.
Cons yellow gold:
- Should be cleaned and polished regularly.
- It is susceptible to scratches and dents.
Durability and Maintenance
The durability of white gold vs yellow is also different. This is especially important if you live a lifestyle that involves using your hands or is physically demanding.
Yellow gold, due to its high content of gold, is more susceptible to scratches and dents. It can be restored to its original beauty and brightness by regular polishing and buffing. And because of its flexibility, you can easily resize your yellow gold setting ring at a later time if necessary.
Because of the inclusion of nickel and other harder alloyed metals, white gold is slightly more durable than yellow gold. It does require more maintenance than yellow gold does to keep its shine. Rhodium plating is often applied to white gold, giving it that extra shine you desire in an engagement ring and any other jewelry piece. Rhodium plating adds luster and protects against scratches and dents. It does eventually wear out and should be replaced every two years. Jewelers will often re-dip white-gold jewelry at no cost, so it is easy to keep it shiny and strong, as long as it is remembered to do so.
A yellow gold engagement ring is a good choice if you are a heavy wearer of gold jewelry. It will look great and match all your other fine jewelry. White gold may also be more appealing if you have a lot of silver jewelry.
Some colored diamonds work better with yellow gold or white gold, but others are more appealing when paired with both. Yellow gold is best for the peachy color of morganite, while white gold will bring out the cool blues of a sapphire. A white gold setting will highlight any yellowness in a slight-colored diamond, but it will also make a colorless diamond sparkle. Consider the color of your engagement ring stone before you choose white or yellow gold.
You should consider your lifestyle when deciding whether yellow gold or white gold rings are best for you. You shouldn’t choose an 18K gold ring if you are a hyperactive person. It is more prone to being bent and scratched and can be easily damaged. If you are allergic to nickel, you should not choose a white gold ring made with nickel alloys.
When the gold content is the same, there isn’t much to choose between white gold and yellow gold. When searching for the perfect ring, make sure you compare all options such as expense, color, and maintenance needed. You’ll be able to find a wide range of choices within your budget.
White gold and yellow gold are both affordable and readily available, compared to other metals. Although they are more costly than silver, yellow gold and white are of better quality. White gold, which is much cheaper than platinum, can be used if you like the look of platinum.
Let’s look at the different gold types: 10K-14K and 18K. The price of gold is determined by the variety, and not the color. The price will be higher if there is a higher concentration of gold. 18K is the most expensive, regardless of whether you buy white gold or yellow gold. Due to the high level of gold, 18K will be more susceptible to scratches and other damage. You may choose to have 14K gold for its affordability and long-lasting durability. There are many budget-friendly options and styles available between white gold and yellow gold. The 14K option will be comparable in price and quality to the other precious metals.
While both gold elements are present in yellow gold and white, they have distinct colors. This is the largest difference and can impact individual preferences.
Yellow gold is what you associate with gold. White gold is more silvery than gold and has a white sheen. Yellow gold looks great with nearly every type of stone and style. It is warm, welcoming, and timeless. Although white gold is timeless, it also has a cooler tone than other metals. This makes it stand out against any skin tone. White gold engagement rings look best when paired with cooler-colored stones, such as blue sapphires and emeralds.
Color can also be affected by the number of gold karats in the metal. The purer the gold, it will appear yellow. For example, 18K will appear yellower than 14K. You can match your jewelry by choosing either all 18K or all 14K gold. We recommend that you keep your yellow gold at the same karat, but mixing and matching different metals is fashionable. You can also mix and match yellow and white gold jewelry to create a trendy look.
Your personal preference and style will determine the metal that you choose, it is important to take into account the key differences in price and composition. Although, you can’t go wrong with either yellow gold or white gold as timeless choices for your engagement ring.