White gold is the metal you like best, especially those who get married. But do you really know everything about white gold? Maybe you think of buying a ring? This metal, in fact, has strengths, but also some flaws: better to know everything first. In this article, we explain the characteristics and weaknesses of white gold.
According to the American marketing company GemFind, in fact, the most searched metal on the web in 2019 was 14 carat white gold, with 41% of clicks, followed by 18 carat white gold with 11%. In short, over half of the research concerns precisely white gold: a sign that it is the preferred metal, certainly in the USA and in Europe.
Why gold turns white
Gold in nature is yellow. White gold, in fact, is obtained by mixing the original yellow metal with other elements to lighten the color. The most common alloy for making gold white includes nickel, palladium, platinum and manganese. But sometimes copper, zinc or silver are also used, but these metals have contraindications because they can oxidize on contact with air and skin. Alternatively, a thin platinum plating (which is naturally white) in alloy with iridium, ruthenium or cobalt can be used, which add strength to this alloy.
How much yellow gold is there in white gold?
It depends on the carats, a measure that serves to indicate the proportion between the yellow gold contained and the other metals. 18-karat white gold is composed of 75% original metal and 25% other metals. 14-karat gold has only 58.3% of natural gold and for 9-karat white gold the proportion is reduced to 37.5%.
The right color for white
Many buy a white gold ring because it has a very simple color and is shiny on one finger, perhaps because there is also a beautiful diamond in addition to metal. But white gold isn’t actually polished. Indeed, it is opaque. The glossy white, in fact, is obtained with the rhodium-plated metal plating, a patina is applied to all the white gold jewels. Without rhodium plating, white gold may appear gray, tending to beige or pale pink.
Warning: white gold, especially in the past, has often been obtained with the massive use of nickel, which corrects the yellowish white tinge. But nickel is also a metal that can cause allergies: about one in eight women suffers from it. Those who suffer from nickel allergies must make sure that the white gold that contains nickel has been rhodium: the external patina, in fact, avoids the contact of nickel with the skin.
As we have mentioned, white gold jewelry usually has a platinum or rhodium plating. Plating makes the jewelry sparkly, but it also has two weaknesses. The first is that plating prevents a ring from being easily tightened or enlarged. Because, of course, rhodium plating must be done again. The second problem is that this patina fades over time and must be applied again. Rhodium plating can also be lost due to sweat from the skin or frequent contact with detergents, other metals or commonly used items. Therefore, if you wear the ring often, the rhodium plating should be done every two years or so. If you do not do the rhodium plating again, the ring will begin to have a yellow and opaque hue. But don’t be afraid, it’s an operation that lasts a couple of hours and is not too expensive.