White gold was orginally a replacement for platinum in the 1920s, but today is one of the most popular fine Jewelry choice, often paired with sapphire, diamonds, gemstones or even crystals.
White gold is a true carat gold, very similar to red or yellow carat gold fine Jewelry. Using certian allow metals, the gold appears white, as there really is no naturally occuring white gold. New white gold fine Jewelry is noramly covered with rhodium, a finish that protects the white gold. If you are intersted in keeping your fine Jewelry looking brand new, think about having your rhodium renwed as the coats tend to fade over time.
White gold is quickly gaining recognition nowadays as one of the top choices for wedding rings. It started to pick up popularity during the 1920s as a good platinum substitute, and since then has created waves in the jewelry industry.
But then, there is really no such thing as “white gold.” Pure 24-carat gold is yellowish in color, and it only transforms into other colors because of the alloys mixed into them. In fact, all jewelries containing gold have other elements mixed into them, since the 24-carat pure gold is too soft to be molded into fine jewelry. The more gold there is in a piece of jewelry, the more yellowish it appears. For example, an 18-carat gold may be a little more yellowish than a 10-carat gold.
In the case of white gold, the alloys mixed into it are metals of whiter color, such as silver, palladium, and nickel. However, this mixture results into an off-white color, which is why rhodium plating is further added to the gold to enhance its white luster. Since rhodium is extremely reflective and resistant to corrosion, it is the perfect choice for white gold plating. The downside is that the rhodium-plated white gold may lose its luster over a period of five years, and the white gold may then appear yellowish.
Of all the metals that can be alloyed to produce white gold, nickel produces the most allergic reactions. Around one out of eight persons are mildly allergic to nickel, which is why it is now seldom used as a white gold jewelry alloy, even if it is hard and strong. Also, those white gold jewelries with nickel alloys have a higher tendency to whiten and become less bright.
Platinum vs. White Gold
Platinum and white gold jewelry had always been compared and contrasted with each other. While both are equally popular choices for engagement and wedding rings, white gold jewelries pose several advantages over platinum. The first difference lies in the cost. Platinum rings are way more expensive than white gold ones, even though they look similar in terms of design. Moreover, white gold is said to be stronger than platinum, hence it cannot be bent or scratched easily. The white gold finish also stays bright for a long time. Also, platinum prongs, or those that are used to hold a gemstone in place, are said to break more easily than white gold prongs.
Taking Care of Your White Gold Jewelry
Since the rhodium plating of white gold jewelry wears off over time, the jewelries must be re-plated with rhodium every 12-18 months to ensure its continuous sheen. Just like other jewelries, keep them away from all harsh chemicals, like cleaning fluids and chlorine. You also have to constantly clean your white gold jewelry by washing it with warm water and a detergent-free soap. Make use of a soft-bristled brush to avoid any unwanted abrasions on your jewelry. When it comes to storage, you must keep them in separate soft cloth bags or boxes.