14K White Gold: Everything You Need to Know
- Where Does White Gold Come From?
- What Does White Gold 14K Mean?
- Is 14K White Gold Good Quality?
- How is White Gold Different From Silver?
- What to Look for in Quality White Gold Jewelry - Piece by Piece
- Get the Finest White Gold Pieces to Upgrade Your Fit
White gold has long been appreciated for its unique combination of strength and elegance. Among its various purities, 14k white gold occupies a specific niche, striking a balance between durability and the inherent value of gold.
If you’re looking for that perfect white gold piece, we got you. Today, we’re covering everything you need to know about 14k white gold. Let’s start with explaining where it comes from.
Where Does White Gold Come From?
White gold doesn’t occur in nature. It’s an alloy that is made by combining traditional yellow gold with other metals, such as palladium or platinum, to achieve a distinct silver-white finish
Creating white gold is a meticulous production process. Achieving the desired shade of white and the perfect consistency is more of an art form all its own than simple metallurgy.
Depending on the metals used to form the alloy, white gold can also have a slightly different appearance. Some have a brighter, more chrome-like finish, while some have a darker hue due to the combination of metals.
What Does White Gold 14K Mean?
The “K” in 14K refers to karats, which is a measuring unit that’s used to determine the purity of the gold used in crafting a piece of jewelry. 24K denotes 100% purity, and any smaller number denotes that it includes the precious metal mixed with other materials.
Using 14K white gold as an example, this would mean that the alloy is 14 parts gold and 10 parts other material. To simplify further, this indicates about 58% of the metal is made up of gold.
It is impossible to create 24K white gold due to the fact that it is an alloy made of gold in combination with other metals. White gold at 14K is considered the highest purity rating for these pieces.
As an added bonus, white gold is also stronger than pure gold, which is too soft to use on pieces you would wear every day. The alloy not only creates a beautiful color, but it grants the metal an additional layer of durability and strength.
Is 14K White Gold Good Quality?
14K white gold would be considered among the highest-quality varieties of white gold in the jewelry game. Don’t forget, though, that not all white gold is created and sourced equally. It’s important to make sure you’re buying from a legit brand that offers a quality guarantee, such as a free repair, to back up their work.
Quality points to check when looking for a new white gold piece can include:
- Type of alloy: Is the alloy made by combining gold with another lustrous, hypoallergenic metal?
- Hardness: Is the alloy hard and durable enough to be worn on the daily?
- Shine: Is the shine even all throughout the piece or does it look like some spots were unevenly coated (if gold-plated or vermeil)?
- Allergic potential: Does the alloy contain potentially allergic reaction-causing metals like nickel?
If you are buying a cheaper white gold piece (under $50), do your research into the brand. Some may use cheaper metals in the alloy, such as nickel, that could create an allergic reaction or leave a green tint on your skin.
Conversely, some white gold pieces are also plated with rhodium to enhance its shine. Rhodium is in the platinum family and is known for its exceptional brightness and adds an extra layer of protection for the piece.
Don’t be afraid to hit up the brand and ask them what metal they use in their white gold alloy. A brand that has nothing to hide and stands behind its work will tell you to help you decide.
How is White Gold Different From Silver?
Besides silver being a natural material and white gold being an alloy, there are a few notable differences to keep in mind.
In terms of visual aesthetics, both have a similar tone. However, white gold is brighter and reflects light more radiantly than silver, which tends to have cooler tones and can appear darker.
White gold is also more durable than silver and requires less upkeep. Silver can be more prone to scratches and tarnishing.
What to Look for in Quality White Gold Jewelry - Piece by Piece
Now that you know how to spot quality white gold, here’s how to translate that to the specific type of jewelry that you’re interested in. Let’s break it down piece by piece.
For white gold chains and necklaces:
- Link Integrity: Ensure that each link in the chain, whether it's a cable, curb, box, or other style, is securely fashioned, tightly spaced, and free of visible flaws.
- Clasp Quality: A chain is only as strong as its weakest point. Reliable and robust clasps, like lobster clasps, are preferable. Make sure they’re specially linked in the chain and not cheaply welded on.
- Thickness and Weight: The description should specify the thickness. Thicker chains tend to be more durable. Check reviews to see if the chain feels substantial.
For white gold bracelets:
- Link & Design Consistency: Whether it’s a charm bracelet or a linked piece, consistency in design and spacing should be observed.
- Secure Fastenings: Beyond clasps, any charms or embellishments should be securely attached.
- Flexibility: A good bracelet should be flexible and lay comfortably on the wrist without kinking.
For white gold pendants:
- Prong/Setting Quality: If the pendant has a gemstone, ensure the prongs or bezel settings are even and securely hold the stone.
- Bail Strength: This is where the pendant attaches to the chain. Ensure it's sturdy, proportionate to the pendant size, and that its opening is spacious enough for your chain width of choice.
- Detailing & Finish: Look for clear images that show the pendant's detailing and finish, ensuring it matches the description.
For white gold rings:
- Band Thickness: Bands that are too thin might bend or break over time. The thickness should be consistent and suitable for daily wear, if intended for that purpose.
- Stone Setting: If there are stones, they should be securely set, with no visible gaps.
- Comfort: Reviews can give insights into the comfort of the ring. Look for mentions of sharp edges or points that could cause discomfort.
For white gold earrings:
- Backings: Secure backings, like screw backs or locking backs, ensure the earrings stay in place.
- Symmetry: Especially important for designs that are intended to be symmetrical. Both earrings should mirror each other accurately.
- Weight: Heavy earrings can be uncomfortable or lead to stretching of the earlobes. Look for weight specifications or mentions of the earrings' weight in reviews.
For white gold vermeil:
White gold vermeil is a type of jewelry where a base of 925 sterling silver is coated with a thin layer of 14k white gold. Here’s what to look for when browsing vermeil pieces:
- Thickness of Gold Layer: Vermeil is sterling silver coated with gold. Ensure the gold layer is of the right thickness; a minimum of 2.5 microns is often sought.
- Base Metal Quality: Confirm that the base metal is 925 sterling silver, not a cheaper alternative.
- Finish: Look for a smooth and even finish, without patches where the underlying silver might be peeking through.
Get the Finest White Gold Pieces to Upgrade Your Fit
At GLD, we’re all about gold of all types, including connecting you with the finest 14k white gold jewelry to upgrade your fit in any situation. To get started, check out our full collection today or hit us up anytime to learn more.