Which do you prefer, yellow or white gold? This is an age old question that I am frequently asked by friends, clients and even colleagues. The answer of course, is whichever metal you prefer and which you think looks best on you.
People (especially women) usually have a very strong opinion about what color they prefer.
Some people believe that white gold has a vintage look to it, they think it looks like platinum. It does have a cool, sophisticated gleam.
Some people believe that yellow gold looks expensive. There is no gold except yellow gold. It is true that with warm skin tones yellow gold really “pops.”
As an enduring element found naturally in a distinct yellow color, gold is resistant to rust, tarnish, and corrosion. Although gold is very strong, it is also the most malleable of all precious metals.
A client recently asked me if yellow gold was dead. Yellow gold is not “dead.” Like most things, metals go in and out of fashion. Platinum used to be the metal of fine jewelry. Rose gold was very popular in the 1940’s-50’s and it is certainly having another moment right now.
I like them both! These are 14 karat yellow or white gold diamond disk dangle earrings. See them here.
Today’s jewelers have access to an astounding variety of metals in different colors. While options such as platinum, palladium and titanium are becoming more popular, gold has always been the staple. Many people don’t realize that gold comes in a variety of colors. In addition to yellow and white gold, there is red gold, pink gold, gray gold, green gold, purple gold, blue gold and black gold. The resulting color depends on what the gold was alloyed with. Nickel, manganese and palladium create white gold. Copper and gold makes rose or pink gold, etc., etc.
Purple and blue gold are intermetallic. Purple gold (also called amethyst gold and violet gold) is an alloy of gold and aluminum. The gold content in AuAl2 is around 79% and can therefore be referred to as 18 karat gold. Purple gold is more brittle than other gold alloys. Blue gold is an alloy of gold and indium. It contains 46% gold (about 12 karat) and 54% indium.
Black and blue gold can also be achieved by applying a surface treatment.
As with all gold colors, the higher the karat amount, the higher the actual gold content with 24K being pure gold. The higher the gold content the softer and somewhat less durable the piece of jewelry will be.
Here are a couple of more things to consider when choosing between yellow and white gold.
If you like the look of platinum but want to spend a little less, white gold is a fantastic choice. When comparing white gold vs. yellow gold, white gold is stronger and more durable, meaning it is less susceptible to scratching and denting. Like all precious metals used for rings, white gold requires some maintenance. Most white gold jewelry is rhodium plated (rhodium is a white metal used as a coating) to give it that bright, white look. It also makes white gold more durable by covering the softer yellow gold alloy with an extra protective layer. After time, the plating will come off and the jewelry will start to look a little yellow. When that happens, it is time for the jewelry to be re-plated. This service is inexpensive, some jewelers may offer it for free if you bought the piece from them. Another consideration for white gold – if a person has a nickel allergy, white gold can cause allergic reactions in some people with sensitive skin. If you have a nickel allergy and want to wear white gold, you will need to choose a product made with a nickel-free alloy.
Which are you, a white gold or yellow gold wearer?