White Gold vs Yellow Gold
People have been using gold to create jewelry for thousands of years. And today, the metal is continually utilized to produce versatile and timeless jewelry pieces—whether it be rings, necklaces, earrings, or other accessories.
White gold and yellow gold are two popular forms of this metal and both result in stunning and unique jewelry pieces.
However, you may have asked yourself which one is the superior option. White gold or yellow gold?
This blog post will break down the important differences between the two metals. This way, you’ll be well-informed when selecting your next piece of jewelry and can have full confidence in your decision.
Each option has its own pros and cons that must be considered. However, both are beautiful materials, and there’s no right or wrong answer. The bottom line is that it mostly comes down to personal taste, but there are some crucial differences to know.
Although both white gold and yellow gold are alloys of the same metal, they still display different colorings. This is because the percentage of metals—as well as which metals are actually used in the composition—affects their appearances greatly.
White gold looks more silver compared to yellow gold because of its higher percentage of nickel and zinc. It also exhibits a similar look to white platinum, which makes it appear more expensive. Additionally, because of its more neutral tone, this metal pairs well with colorful gemstones.
On the other hand, yellow gold displays a golden hue because of its higher percentage of copper. One downside of yellow gold is that it’s more difficult to match with different colored gemstones, though it pairs well with diamonds.
In its purest form, 24-karat gold is too soft and malleable to be used for jewelry, which is why different alloys exist—such as white gold and yellow gold. When combined with other metals, gold is strengthened and becomes more durable.
To create white gold, pure gold must be alloyed with a combination of silver, copper, palladium, or zinc. From there, the metal is often plated with rhodium to protect the coloring, creating a glossy sheen. Additionally, this outer coating protects the white gold from being scratched.
People frequently confuse white gold with silver because of their similar coloring. However, they are very different metals—and the primary difference between the two is that silver doesn’t contain any gold in its composition.
It’s also a mistake to believe that white gold is fake gold. Although it isn’t pure gold or natural because of its alloys—white gold is still real gold. Pure gold is too soft and delicate when isolated, making it an unrealistic jewelry material. Alloying other metals with pure gold results in a stronger and more durable material. Therefore, white gold makes more sense for everyday-use jewelry since it’s less likely to become bent or misshapen.
Common karat counts for white gold include 18k (58% pure gold), 14k (75%), and 10k (41.7% pure gold). Generally, the most common karat count is 14k because of its affordability and durability. The higher the karat count, the softer the metal is.
Similar to white gold, yellow gold is made of a combination of metals. The most common alloys mixed with pure gold are silver, copper, nickel, palladium, and zinc. Many mistakenly believe yellow gold is pure gold because of its golden coloring. However, this belief is false.
Additionally, yellow gold is not necessarily more pure than other gold alloys. Just like white gold, the concentration of pure gold depends on the number of karats. For example, a 14k white gold piece and a 14k yellow gold piece contain the same amount of pure gold. The main difference between these two metals is the coloring since, as stated, white gold appears more silver in complexion, and yellow gold exhibits a brighter golden hue.
Comparing the resistance levels of both metals is another important factor to consider. Both are sturdy materials. But for the most part, white gold is the stronger of the two because the alloys in its composition are stronger. Usually, yellow gold is the weaker metal and is more prone to becoming scratched over time.
Additionally, the lower the percentage of pure gold in the alloy, the more durable the metal is. This principle applies to both white gold and silver gold. For instance, an 18k piece of white gold is softer and more bendy compared to a 14k white gold piece, which would be the stronger option.
The price of these metals varies depending on the state of the market. But normally, white gold is slightly more expensive than yellow gold because it requires extra materials in the creation process. In addition, for both metals, the higher the karat, the higher the price. For example, a 22k piece of yellow gold would be more expensive than a 14k piece.
There are a few easy steps to clean your white or yellow gold piece in order to preserve its shine. First, use soap and warm water to delicately wash your jewelry. After this, soak the piece in water for 25 minutes and rub with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Rinse it again and then dry with a towel. It’s as simple as that!
Unfortunately, the rhodium coating on white gold may fade after a while, resulting in an undesirable yellow color. In this situation, you’re better off bringing your piece to a jeweler, so they can re-polish it.
One of the most common metal allergies is an allergy to nickel. Since this material is often used to create white gold, you’re probably better off opting for a yellow gold piece, if nickel irritates your skin.
On the bright side, some jewelers provide a service to create a hypoallergenic coating. If you’re set on white gold, it wouldn’t hurt to ask for this option in order to shield your skin from a reaction.
There you have it—the central differences between white gold and yellow gold, two of the most popular jewelry metals. Both options make for beautiful jewelry pieces, so either way, you won’t be disappointed. Take into consideration the various pros and cons, as well as your own personal taste when making your decision.
Now that you’re aware of what sets these two apart, browse our vast collection and place your custom order from Sincerely Silver today!
- May 23, 2023
- Jared R