Which Should You Choose: White Gold or Yellow Gold?

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Yay! It’s time for some solid gold jewelry shopping. But if you’re wondering, white gold vs yellow gold: which is best for me, don’t worry. We’ve got you. Let’s discover their differences to help you decide. Before we delve into how they vary, let’s find out more about each of these metals.

What is white gold?

white gold ring

White gold is an alloy of yellow gold and other metals like palladium, nickel, platinum, and manganese. These metals are silvery-white, so they lighten the golden color of yellow gold and give it strength and durability. 

The metal is then coated with rhodium- a highly reflective silver-white metal that is resistant to corrosion. This gives white gold the silvery-white, lustrous color it is known for and a harder surface. 

What is yellow gold?

woman wearing a yellow gold ring

Yellow gold is gold in its natural color. In its purest state, it is a soft and malleable metal that cannot withstand the pressure of being made into jewelry. 

As a result, it is usually mixed with copper,  zinc, and silver to make it sturdier. The combination of pure gold and alloy metals produces the purest variety of all gold colors. 

💡 Did You Know? The more yellow a piece of gold jewelry is, the more the percentage of pure gold it contains and the less sturdy it is. The amount of pure gold in a piece of jewelry can be measured in karats

White Gold vs Yellow Gold: What’s the Difference?

White gold differs from yellow gold in some distinct ways. Let’s take a dive.


A major difference between white gold and yellow gold is the metals used to alloy them. 

White gold is a blend of gold and silvery-white metals such as palladium, platinum, manganese, or nickel. 

On the other hand, yellow gold is a fusion of gold and warm-colored metals like copper and zinc. This retains the characteristic golden hue we know.


White gold costs a little more than yellow gold. However, this is not because white gold has a higher value than yellow gold. 

For example, if two pieces of white and yellow gold jewelry contain 18 karats gold each, this means that they each have 75% of gold in them. The other 25% of their composition are other alloy metals. Therefore, their value is the same based on the measure of gold in them. 

But, because white gold requires an extra plating process with rhodium – a rare and expensive metal, it is slightly more expensive to manufacture. Hence, the slight difference in cost.


Before white gold gets plated with rhodium, it is slightly gray. After rhodium-plating, it takes on a bright, shiny, silvery-white appearance. 

Yellow gold has a luminous yellow tone. The degree of yellowness in a piece of yellow gold jewelry will depend on the amount of pure gold it contains. The appearance will vary from pale yellow to the bright yellow color that comes to your mind when you think of gold.


White gold appears to be more popular than yellow gold now. This may be because it is more durable and scratch-resistant than yellow gold due to its alloy metals. Still, statistics show that this preference is on a decline.

💡 Fun Fact: According to The Knot’s 2021 survey, in 2017, 61% of brides had white gold engagement rings, but in 2021, that number dropped down to 45%. In contrast, yellow gold engagement rings are gaining popularity, with an 11% increase since 2017. 


White gold certainly looks gorgeous when it has been plated with rhodium, but so does the classy yellow gold, with its timeless yellow shine. Unfortunately, with regular use, white gold sheds its rhodium finish and loses the eye-catchy shine it initially had when purchased. Yellow gold keeps its shine with regular cleaning and scrubbing, which can be done at home.

Ease of cleaning

Both white and yellow gold are easy to clean. 

To clean white and yellow gold, soak the piece in a mixture of warm water and mild dishwashing liquid for about 25 minutes. Scrub gently with a soft-bristled toothbrush, then rinse out thoroughly with warm water. 


White gold is more durable than yellow gold because it is mixed with harder metals. Its rhodium plating finish further fortifies it against scratches, dents, wear and tear. Yellow gold is more susceptible to scratches and dents.


This refers to the likelihood of a piece of jewelry causing allergic reactions to the skin. White gold is more likely to cause an allergic reaction. This is because it may be mixed with nickel which can cause nickel allergy in some individuals. 

Yellow gold may also be mixed with some nickel, depending on the country you purchase yours. However, 14-karat and 18-karat gold jewelry are unlikely to cause allergies. 

DifferencesWhite goldYellow gold
CompositionAlloyed with white metals such as palladium, platinum, nickel, and manganeseAlloyed with warm-colored-colored metals like copper and zinc.
CostMay cost slightly more due to its rhodium plating. May also cost more if alloyed with titanium or platinum.Value is the same as white gold but does not need rhodium plating
AppearanceBright silvery-white Luminous yellow tone
PopularityAppears to be in trendClassy and timeless
Shine Shinier when new, requires replating. Retains shine longer. Does not require replating. 
QualityHarder, because it is mixed with stronger metalsSofter, more prone to scratches
AllergenicityLikely to cause allergic reactions if alloyed with nickelUnlikely to cause allergic reactions, often alloyed with copper or zinc

White Gold Or Yellow Gold: Which Should You Choose?

Which should you choose - white gold or yellow gold

As we’ve considered, white gold and yellow gold are trendy and classy metals with distinct differences. But which should you choose? It depends on your preference, needs, and circumstances. Let’s consider some factors that may help you decide.


If you lead an active lifestyle or your job requires activities that may bring your gold jewelry into contact with hard materials, white gold may be a good fit for you. It is harder and can withstand more everyday use than yellow gold.

Skin Sensitivity

If you are susceptible to allergic reactions to metals, it might be wise to choose yellow gold since it has a reputation for being hypoallergenic. Be sure to ask your jeweler which metals it has been alloyed with, so you can avoid nickel.

Alternatively, if you prefer white jewelry,  opt for white gold alloyed with palladium. Another tip is to go for yellow gold 14 karats or higher. The higher the percentage of pure gold in yellow gold jewelry, the less likely it will cause allergic reactions.

Skin Tone

Your skin tone is another factor to consider when choosing white gold vs yellow gold. White gold flatters cool or pale skin tones, while yellow gold really pops on warm skin tones.

Complementing Gemstone

Another consideration to help you decide between white gold and yellow gold is the gemstone you would like to compliment your gold jewelry within a ring.  

The luminous tone of yellow gold tends to reflect on the diamond stone it is studded in, giving it a yellow shade. In contrast, white gold does not detract from the whiteness of the diamond stone, in fact, it makes the diamond sparkle more! 

Peridot, blue topaz, amethyst, emerald, and tanzanite are simply gorgeous on white gold. You can go for deeper shades of these gemstones to create an attractively striking contrast. On the hand, yellow gold sits royally in pink tourmaline, citrine, green onyx, light blue, and teal sapphire, as well as morganite.

Personal Preference

Sometimes, it all comes down to what we like more. If you’ve been dreaming of a white gold diamond engagement ring, it won’t matter that yellow gold jewelry flatters your skin tone more. 

So if you’re more drawn to a particular color and it makes you feel good, do you!

Frequently Asked Questions

We have highlighted some factors to help you decide between white gold versus yellow gold. If you’re still in doubt, you’ll find the answers to these frequently asked questions helpful.

Is white gold better than yellow gold?

Not necessarily. Both gold types are alloys of pure gold and other metals. Their value is measured by the amount of gold in them. If they contain the same quantity of pure gold, their value is essentially the same. 

Is white gold more expensive than yellow gold?

Yes, white gold is often slightly more expensive than yellow gold because of the rhodium finish in its manufacturing process.

White gold vs yellow gold: which one lasts longer?

Yellow gold lasts longer because it does not require regular replating and can be buffed and polished at home. Deeper scratches will require the professional help of a jeweler. Even though white gold is stronger, it requires regular replating at a jeweler’s to retain its color and beauty. 

White gold vs yellow gold: which is shinier?

White gold is certainly brilliant when it is new. Yellow gold is also gorgeous, particularly 18 karat gold which is 75% gold, and 24 karat gold which is 99.9% gold. It comes down to personal preference.

White gold vs yellow gold: which is timeless?

Yellow is the traditional color of gold. It was only in the early 1900s that white gold became popular. Although yellow gold has been in and out of fashion trends, it’s a timeless classic. 

White gold vs yellow gold: which tarnishes more? 

Depending on how often you wear your white gold jewelry and its exposure to water, sweat, and oils, the rhodium plating will gradually wear off, and the original color of the white gold will start to show. 

This is not necessarily tarnish. It is simply returning back to its original yellow-white state before it was plated with rhodium. 

Beauty Is in the Eye of the Beholder

Do you want a piece of white jewelry with the silvery glow of platinum? Or are you in love with the classic tone of yellow gold? 

Is your skin sensitive to nickel? How often will you be wearing your gold jewelry? What flatters your skin tone: brilliant silver or vintage gold? 

What do you love more: white gold or yellow gold? Your response to these questions may help you find the answer to the white gold vs yellow gold debate.

Considering another gold type? Read our article to see how white gold compares with rose gold.

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