White Gold Vs. Yellow Gold: How Different Are They?

5 pendants of yellow, white, and rose gold colors placed on a table

When it comes to the world of valuable jewelry, both white and yellow gold dominate. People’s preferences make a difference in the arena, as there is no such thing as one is better than the other. It all boils down to what color the wearer thinks suits their skin tone best.

Did you know that there is no real difference between an 18K yellow gold ring and an 18K white gold ring in terms of value? Just like any piece of jewelry, you must look at the karat number to know how much of the item is made of pure gold. Obviously, the higher the karats, the more valuable the piece of gold is.

However, 24K gold (i.e. 100% pure gold) is not recommended for use in the crafting of jewelry items including engagement rings. The reason for this is due to the fact that gold is a soft metal, making its purest form very delicate. This means it is not robust enough for jewelry items.

The main differences between white and yellow gold have barely anything to do with value. Turn your brain on and get ready to become knowledgeable in this sphere:

1. The metal mixture

One of the most obvious differences between white and yellow gold is “color.” In its purest and most natural form, gold is yellow. But that does not mean white gold is not authentic gold. In reality, the color of gold in jewelry items depends heavily on the different metal mixtures used to make them. Metals such as copper, silver, zinc, nickel, and palladium are usually mixed in with gold. If the mixture has high amounts of nickel and zinc, it’ll create white gold. And if it contains more copper, it’ll produce yellow gold.

On a side note, it is worth noting that white gold is usually plated with rhodium, a metal that gives the piece of jewelry shine and more durability.

2. Their popularity over time
The use of gold in jewelry dates back centuries; some even say it goes all the way back to 4000 B.C. The invention of “white gold” is not as historic as one would assume. It was invented in the 19th century and then became a hit among jewelers and wearers alike in the 1920s.

When it comes to more recent times, we have seen fluctuating patterns regarding white and yellow gold’s popularity. Yellow gold was fashionable during the late 1990s and has made a comeback in the last few years among the millennial generation. White gold has faded out, though it was extremely popular during the 2000s.

At the end of the day, neither white nor yellow gold will fade out completely. They are both available and being sold as jewelry items as tastes and preferences among people of different generations alter over time.

3. In terms of durability 

As mentioned previously, gold in its purest form (24K) is incredibly soft, making it a less popular option among good jewelry craftsmen. Adding different metals to create both yellow and white gold not only changes pure gold’s hue but also increases its durability.

Both white and yellow gold are mixed with alloys in jewelry making, which means they are both quite durable. White gold, however, is said to be slightly stronger because of the metals added to the mixture. The fact that white gold is plated with rhodium is also a plus, as it provides it with an added layer of protection. Unlike white gold, yellow gold is not plated with any material, making it more susceptible to scratching. But don’t worry, if you handle your jewelry well, you won’t need to worry about such scars.

4. In terms of pricing 

There is no clear-cut difference between the prices of white and yellow gold, unless they differ in liquidity and karats. To give one example, a 14K plain yellow gold ring should hover around the same price range as a 14K plain white gold ring. Sometimes, white gold is sold at higher prices due to the rhodium plating that is added for an extra layer of protection.

But in general, the price tag of all pieces of gold increases as their karats go up. But as you probably know by now, 24K gold is not usually recommended for use in jewelry making.

P.S. We Got Your Backs!
At Zein Pieces, our pieces are made with 18K gold … with a side of love and creativity. Many of our pieces are made with yellow gold, but we have many items that embrace white gold and even rose gold. Make sure to check our diverse jewelry collections at your own leisure.

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