The Ultimate Guide to White Gold Jewelry

Leigha is a writer and artist living in Toronto, Ontario. She loves to mix and match…

White gold is a popular choice for engagement rings, wedding bands, and other fine jewelry because it has a bright, lustrous appearance. The combination of white metals gives the characteristic color and makes it more durable than pure gold.

But, what is white gold? And how is it different from other types of gold jewelry?

What is white gold?

Many people are familiar with white gold, but they may not know exactly what it is. Like many other pure metals, gold is too soft to be used alone in jewelry, so it is typically combined with other metals.

White gold is an alloy of pure gold, made stronger by fusing gold with metals like nickel and palladium to create various kinds of jewelry. These metals allow the piece to have a platinum-like sheen, which many people find more appealing than the traditional yellow color of gold. 

What is white gold made of?

Unlike pure gold, white gold does not naturally occur; it must be created. White gold is a type of gold alloy made by combining pure gold with white or white-presenting metals such as nickel, palladium, and zinc. 

💡 Take Note: The ratio of these alloy metals can vary, but white gold typically contains around 75% pure gold.

The other added metals help to give white gold its white color and strength. White gold jewelry is often plated with rhodium to enhance durability and brightness. 

14k white gold ring
14K white gold ring

What is 10K white gold? 

The purity of white gold is measured in karats (K). The higher the karat number, the purer the gold. Most white gold jewelry is 18K or 14K, but white gold is available in various karats, including 10K white gold. 

Gold is calculated out of 24 parts. The “K” in karats indicates how many parts out of 24 are pure gold. Therefore, 10K white gold contains 10 parts pure gold out of 24 parts total. The other 14 parts are made up of the alloyed metals previously mentioned.

What is white gold worth?

In general, white gold is less expensive than pure gold, but it still has a good value. The value of white gold depends on its purity. 

The most common purity for white gold is 18K, which is 75% pure gold. An 18K white gold piece will, therefore, be worth more than a 10K white gold piece because it contains a larger quantity of gold.

Pros and Cons

Now that we’ve gone over some of the basics of white gold let’s highlight the pros and cons of this versatile metal before diving in with more detail.


  • White gold will not tarnish.
  • White gold has a beautiful white color that can complement gemstones and other metals.
  • White gold is generally more affordable than some alternatives, such as platinum.
  • White gold is more resistant to scratching and denting than pure gold.


  • White gold commonly contains nickel, which can cause some people to have allergic reactions.
  • White gold requires more maintenance to keep it from becoming dull.

How It Compares to Other Metals 

Understanding white gold can be confusing, especially since so many other metals might look the same. 

Here, we will highlight just a few of these similar metals and explain how white gold compares.

What’s the difference between white and yellow gold?

Both white and yellow gold are made from pure gold, but the addition of different metals gives them distinct colors and properties. 

White gold is typically made by adding nickel or palladium and has a slightly silver-ish tint. It looks more sleek and modern. However, white gold may also require more maintenance, as it may need to be re-plated periodically to keep its bright white color.

Yellow gold is created by adding copper and it has a warm, bright hue, representing the more traditional color of gold. Yet, in terms of durability, yellow gold is actually less resistant to scratching than white gold. 

The Verdict: When it comes to jewelry, white gold is often preferred for its modern look, while yellow gold has a more classic appearance. Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference when deciding which type of gold you prefer.

Is white gold silver?

White gold is not the same as silver. 

💡 Did You Know? While it may look silvery due to the alloyed metals, white gold contains the same amount of pure gold as any gold alternative of the same karat. 

white gold bead stud earrings
14K white gold bead stud earrings

What is the difference between white gold and sterling silver?

Both white gold and sterling silver are alloys used in many different jewelry types, but they aren’t exactly the same.

White gold is created by fusing gold with metals such as palladium, nickel, and zinc. The properties of these metals change the appearance of the gold from a normally yellow hue to its glimmering white. 

Given the quantity of alloyed metals, white gold does not contain the same purity of gold as sterling silver holds with silver.

Sterling silver is frequently made using a combination of 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% copper. The level of silver in sterling silver causes it to appear more brilliant. However, it is more prone to tarnishing than white gold.

The Verdict: Sterling silver is more affordable and appears more brilliant, whereas white gold is more durable and less likely to tarnish. That being said, both metals are wonderful additions to your jewelry collection!

What is white gold vermeil?

Vermeil is a type of jewelry made with a base of sterling silver and plated with gold – or in this case, white gold.

💡Take Note: Unlike solid white gold, vermeil jewelry is not an alloy; it is simply sterling silver that has been coated with gold. Because of this, vermeil jewelry is usually less expensive than white gold jewelry. 

The sterling silver base provides durability and strength, while the white gold coating gives the jewelry a beautiful, lustrous finish. 

White gold vermeil is an affordable alternative to solid gold or white gold jewelry. It can be an excellent choice for those who prefer the look of these metals without the high price tag. 

Is platinum better than white gold?

When it comes to white gold and platinum, it depends on what you want from your jewelry. Both metals are popular choices for fine jewelry, and their white color makes them an excellent backdrop for diamonds and other precious stones. 

However, there are several key differences to keep in mind between white gold and platinum. 

White gold is an alloy of gold and other white metals, such as nickel or palladium. It is often used in jewelry because it is less expensive than pure gold and has a white color that can be easily matched with other metals. 

In addition, white gold is generally plated with rhodium to improve its white appearance and increase strength.

Platinum, on the other hand, is a pure and rare element. As a result, it is significantly more expensive than white gold. Platinum is also harder and more durable than gold, making it ideal for settings that require a lot of wear and tear.

The Verdict: White gold is a popular choice for engagement rings and other special occasion jewelry, while platinum is often preferred for more everyday pieces. Ultimately, it is up to the individual to decide which metal is right for their needs.

How to Identify White Gold

If you’re looking at white gold jewelry, you might be wondering if it’s the real thing. Here are a few tips that can help you identify white gold. 

  • Look closely at the piece of jewelry in question. White gold should have a bright, shiny appearance. If the metal looks dull or gray, it might not be white gold. 
  • White gold should have a slight yellowish hue, rather than being stark white.
  • Consider the price. White gold is usually more expensive than silver, so if the price seems too good to be true, it’s likely that the piece is not white gold. 
  • Check for any markings on the piece of jewelry. Real white gold will be stamped with the jeweler’s mark and the karat content. If there are no markings, it’s probably not white gold. 
  • Take it to a jeweler to have it tested. If you’re still unsure, they should be able to tell you if it’s white gold or not. 

Keep these tips in mind next time you’re looking at white gold jewelry and you’ll be able to identify white gold with ease.

Frequently Asked Questions

You might still have some questions about white gold even after all of that – but, don’t worry! 

In this section, we answer some of the most frequently asked questions, and hopefully, they help with some of your own.

Is white gold good quality?

White gold is a stunning gold alloy that uses specifically chosen metals to give it a toughness meant to last and a gorgeous white sheen. 

White gold contains pure gold in several karats from 10K to 18K, meaning your piece will always be of perfect quality. 

White gold jewelry is also commonly plated with rhodium, meaning it will shine brighter and last longer than many other common metals.

Can you turn gold into white gold?

White gold is a gold alloy made from white metals, like nickel and palladium, to give it a silvery appearance. 24K pure gold can be alloyed with these metals and turned into white gold.

💡 Keep in Mind: Other forms of gold jewelry, however, are made from different metal alloys, such as yellow gold which is typically developed using an iron alloy.

While yellow gold can’t be turned into white gold exactly, it can be coated with rhodium which will make it appear whiter.

How much does it cost to get a ring dipped in white gold?

In general, jewelry plating costs around $145-$300, but the cost of gold-plating jewelry depends on the level of detail in a piece and the size and current condition. 

If a ring is heavily tarnished, for example, the cost of gold-plating may become more expensive because the piece will need to be cleaned and polished beforehand.

How long does white gold last?

Since white gold doesn’t tarnish, it will typically last many years to a lifetime with proper care. However, we can’t say the same for the rhodium plating on your white gold.

💡 Quick Tip: Rhodium plating will wear down naturally with frequent use. Generally, white gold should be replated with rhodium every 1-3 years to keep it looking its best.

Can white gold rust?

White gold will never rust or tarnish. It may, however, start to look dull or worn over time and without proper care.

If your white gold begins to look cloudy or has lost its luster, there are ways to revive it from home using a few simple cleaning methods. You should also take it to a jeweler if the piece starts to look more yellow – this could be a sign the rhodium finish needs replating.

Tips to Make Your White Gold Last 

White gold can lose its shine over time if not properly cared for. Here are some tips to help your white gold jewelry last longer:

  1. Store white gold jewelry in a cool, dry place. Exposure to air and humidity can cause white gold to become dull.
  2. Clean white gold jewelry regularly with a microfibre cloth. Gently rub the jewelry to remove any dirt or grime build-up.
  3. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive materials to clean your white gold jewelry, as these can damage the finish. Instead, use a mixture of gentle dish soap and water. 
  4. Do not over-polish your white gold – over-polishing can damage the rhodium plating.
  5. Have white gold jewelry professionally cleaned every 6 months to 1 year. This will help keep the metal bright and shiny.
  6. Remove white gold jewelry before participating in activities that could damage it, such as swimming, gardening, or household chores. 
  7. Take your jewelry off before showering or using cosmetics to prevent any build-up that could lead to decay.

By following these simple tips, you can help your white gold jewelry retain its beauty for many years to come.

The Perfect Piece

White gold is a beautiful, affordable, and unique gold alloy perfect for engagement rings or everyday jewelry. If you’re looking for something different from traditional yellow gold, white gold is definitely worth considering. 

And there are plenty of options to choose from – whether you want a classic solitaire ring or something more elaborate, the choice is yours!

So, take your time finding the perfect fit. We hope you enjoy shopping for white gold jewelry as much as we enjoyed writing about it.

💎 You should know: We use affiliate links throughout our site. This means we may earn a cent or two when you make a purchase on our site. Thanks for adding to our shine.