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What Is White Gold? White Gold vs. Yellow Gold

Key Insights

White Gold and Yellow Gold are two of the most popular and timeless materials to use when crafting fine jewelry. It’s important to know the difference between white gold vs yellow gold when picking out your next piece of gold jewelry. In this article you’ll learn specifically what white gold is, how white gold is made, and the differences between white gold vs yellow gold.


What is White Gold?

White Gold is an alloy of gold, which is comprised of pure yellow gold and silvery- white alloy base metals. These alloy base metals used to make white gold can be either silver, palladium, rhodium, or zinc. White gold will always have a hint of yellow in its coloring. The intensity of the alloy mixture is what creates the white-ish silver coloring that white gold is known for. Rhodium is a popular alloy found in white gold because of its bright white coloring, and also because of its strength. The GLD shop uses rhodium in all of their white gold jewelry, because it protects the pure gold in the mixture from scratching. By using rhodium, The GLD Shop ensures the item will be long lasting.  The rhodium is typically used in the coating process for the white gold combination.The mixture of silvery-white alloys in white gold will dilute the color of the pure yellow gold, and that is how white gold gets its perfect shine. It is common to sometimes confuse silver materials and white gold because they both have similar coloring. The main difference is that white gold will always have a combination of metal alloys and pure gold. Silver does not have any gold in its mixture. We want to correct the myth that “white gold isn’t as real compared to yellow gold.” White gold is real gold, even though white gold may not be natural. Just because white gold has a combination of materials, doesn’t mean it isn’t considered real gold.

White Gold Necklace - The GLD Shop

3mm Round Cut Tennis Necklace in White Gold


Is White Gold Real?

 Remember, 100% pure gold by itself with no other materials is an extremely delicate and soft material, which is why it isn’t practical to use when crafting jewelry. Pure gold needs alloys and other materials to create durability and strength. Without these other materials in white gold and yellow gold, the jewelry would be too soft. Adding alloy mixtures ensures the gold will not scratch, bend, or break easily because it has other compounds to increase its strength. Just because white gold is a mixture of materials, doesn’t mean that white gold is fake. White gold is of course real gold because pure gold is used in its mixture. The highest karat count for pure gold is 24k gold. White gold can’t be 24k gold, because white gold is made with a mixture of silvery-alloy metals along with the pure gold. The most common karat counts for white gold will be 18k white gold, 14k white gold, and 10k white gold. 14k white gold is the most common karat count in white gold because of its price point and durability. Typically, 58% of the alloy will consist of pure gold. 18k white gold will have a higher pure gold count, which is typically 75%. It’s important to remember when considering the karat count, that the higher the karat count the softer the pure gold will be. If you’re looking for a piece of white gold jewelry that will be long lasting and more durable, 14k white gold is more preferred. 14k white gold still has a high gold purity percentage, mixed with the strength of the silvery alloys.

5mm Round Cut Tennis Necklace in White Gold

5mm Round Cut Tennis Necklace in White Gold


Breaking Down White Gold vs. Yellow Gold

You can’t go wrong with either choice between white gold vs yellow gold, and both are great staple pieces of jewelry to have in your collection. We’re going to break down the key factors between white gold vs yellow gold. In the beginning of this article we let you know what specifically goes into white gold, and how it achieves its perfect coloring. Now let’s look into yellow gold. Yellow gold, like white gold, will also have a combination of metals and alloy mixtures. The most common alloy mixture in yellow gold is silver, copper, zinc, and of course pure gold. There is no copper found in white gold as opposed to yellow gold. Yellow gold has a common misconception of being considered “pure gold” because of its beautiful golden coloring. Just because jewelry is “yellow” or “golden,” doesn’t mean it’s automatically more pure compared to other gold materials. The karat count in yellow gold, the same as in white gold, is what determines the purity level of the gold. Both white gold and yellow gold will have pure gold in their mixture. The most obvious difference between white gold vs yellow will be the coloring and how each material looks. White gold will be a “white-ish silvery” coloring, as opposed to the “yellow-ish gold” in yellow gold materials. Another factor between white gold vs yellow gold is which will be a stronger material. Because of the rhodium and other metals added to white gold, white gold has a tendency to be stronger than yellow gold, and less likely to scratch. When it comes to pricing white gold vs yellow gold, white gold may cost more than yellow gold. White gold can become more expensive than yellow gold because of the extra materials that go into making white gold. The rhodium added into the white gold is a good example of why white gold can be more expensive than yellow gold.  The GLD Shop has the best price points compared to other jewelers for white gold and yellow gold jewelry. Browse the collection to view all the styles of white gold and yellow gold.

Diamond Cuban Link Necklace (10mm) in White Gold

Diamond Cuban Link Necklace (10mm) in White Gold


Should You Bling Out Your White Gold?

So now that you know more about white gold vs yellow gold materials, the next thing to consider is whether or not to add diamonds to the gold jewelry. It is common to think about how diamonds will look in white gold vs yellow gold, and if one look is more favorable than the other. Is it a good idea to add diamonds to white gold? The answer will always be a personal preference. If you want a flashier look to your white gold jewelry, then adding diamonds to white gold isn’t a bad choice. If diamonds are added to white gold vs yellow gold jewelry, the white gold with diamonds will always have a more neutral and monochrome look. Diamonds on yellow gold jewelry are popular because there is a contrast of the yellow gold coloring against the sleekness of bright diamonds. Diamonds in yellow gold will be more contrasting, and diamonds in white gold will be more neutral. Diamonds and other stones are offered in a spectrum of colors now, so the coloring of the diamond or stone is also something to consider if you want to add diamonds to either white gold or yellow gold.

Now that you know more about white gold vs yellow gold, check out The GLD Shop’s selection of white gold and yellow gold jewelry. Add both white gold and yellow gold to your rotation so you can always stay on trend.