There's something undeniably timeless and entirely classy about white gold. Somewhere between traditional yellow gold and the softer allure of silver, it's easy to be seduced by its unassuming, yet strikingly stunning look. And though its popularity has ebbed and flowed over the years, this high-lustre metal has been around since the early 1900s — and its backstory is as glamorous as it is fascinating.
So what exactly is white gold? Where did it come from, and how has it evolved over the years? History, characteristics, and care — let's get into the details.
History Of White Gold
White gold has been around since the turn of the 19th century, but it wasn’t until the 1920s when it really started gaining popularity. At the time, platinum had been the preferred precious metal for jewellery. But it quickly became scarce as World War II raged on, and countries began to stockpile it for military use.
In response, jewellery makers began combining pure gold with the likes of palladium and silver to create another alternative. And thus, white gold was born — a metal that was almost indistinguishable from platinum in terms of appearance and visual appeal.
Today’s white gold largely follows the same composition: gold alloyed with other metals such as silver, nickel, zinc, copper, and palladium. It’s generally plated with a layer of rhodium, which gives the metal its iconic silvery sheen. Without this finishing, white gold tends to take on an off-white, dull yellowish, or even grey hue. The plating does more than just add colour, though; it also adds to the metal’s durability, making it more resistant to oxidation and corrosion.
White Gold Characteristics
White gold’s elegant ivory aesthetic offers an appealing alternative to platinum. Here are some white gold characteristics you should know about.
White gold has a classic, elegant silvery-white appearance, sometimes with a faint yellow tint. Depending on the mix of metals, the colour can vary from a soft cream colour to a bright white.
White gold typically has a lower price than platinum due to a few reasons. Firstly, the gold price is lower than the platinum price. Then, it has a lower melting point, which yields fewer labour costs. However, over time, that price gap has narrowed, and the two precious metals are now priced almost identically, with white gold being just about 10% less expensive in general.
Like yellow gold, white gold is measured in karats; the most common being 9k (37.5%), 14k (58.3% gold), and 18k (75% gold). The higher the karat, the greater the gold content.
With proper care, white gold can be a very durable metal. It is more resistant to small scratches than when compared to platinum. But do take note that hardness is different from malleability. While it is more scratch resistant, it is more malleable compared to platinum, making your ring easier to be bent out of shape. Though for the same reason, that makes white gold a better option when it comes to more intricate jewellery designs.
5. Resale value
White gold generally has a better resale value than platinum, as its alloyed state retains more of the gold's inherent worth. In contrast, platinum has a less stable resale value, as more of the metal is lost when melted for reuse. This makes shops less likely to buy it back. However, while you do save on initial cost, white gold in general requires more upkeep. You’ll have to re-plate the metal once every 2 to 3 years to maintain its lustrous silvery-white appearance.
White gold can create a reaction for people who are allergic to nickel and other metals used in the alloy. Rhodium plating reduces this risk significantly. Platinum, on the other hand, is completely hypoallergenic, making it a great metal choice for anyone with sensitive skin.
How Do You Take Care Of Your White Gold Collection?
To keep your white gold jewellery pieces in pristine condition, invest in some routine TLC.
To wash, soak in a gentle solution of dish soap and warm water for about 20 minutes. Rinse in lukewarm water and dry with a soft cloth or polishing cloth. Avoid using any harsh cleaners such as toothpaste or chlorine bleach.
Make sure to remove your white gold jewellery before bathing, swimming, or applying any cosmetics (like perfume). If possible, avoid sanitizers, as they can cause discolouration.
Bask in the everlasting brilliance of your white gold jewellery; as a D&P customer, you’re entitled to our free lifetime cleaning services. We can also advise on re-plating if the pieces in your collection start to age (it's a relatively easy process). Simply walk into any of our showrooms and ask our staff for assistance.
Before You Go…
White gold has enjoyed unparalleled favour in the world of jewellery since the 1900s — and understandably so. It’s fabulous, platinum-like sheen resonates crisp luxury, while its versatility invites only the most intricate gemstone designs.
For those about to pledge their undying love, few materials can compare to white gold's romantic appeal. This glistening metal makes for a stunning wedding/engagement ring setting; it’s the perfect canvas for diamonds — a velvet-white backdrop that further accentuates the brilliance in every stone.
Now that you know what white gold is, dive into the best in rare metal craftsmanship with our white gold jewellery collection. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to gift someone you love with an exquisite token of pure-white allure. Follow your heart and adopt the timeless sophistication of white gold today — only from Diamond & Platinum.