What Is White Gold Jewelry? Full Guide (Plus Pros & Cons)

Last Updated on September 26, 2022 by Juli "Jewels" Church

What is white gold jewelry?

How does it maintain its appearance?

Can you wear them in the water? This, and much more will be answered ahead.

In this LearningJewelry.com guide, you will learn the following;

  • What is White Gold?
  • What Are the Benefits & Drawbacks of White Gold Jewelry?
  • How Much Does White Gold Jewelry Cost?
  • How To Clean White Gold Jewelry?
  • And much more!
White Gold Jewelry Review

One of the most common misconceptions in jewelry is that the gold is only a yellow color.

There's yellow gold, rose gold, and white gold. And on rare occasions, you can also find green gold.

White gold jewelry is the most popular metal for engagement rings and wedding bands. However, most people think it is sterling silver because of its silvery appearance.

What is White Gold?

All gold in jewelry is made of a mixture of gold and alloy metals, with the exception of 24K pure gold. White gold jewelry has been mixed with white metals like silver, palladium, nickel, copper, and zinc.

But not all white gold jewelry looks the same. The brightness of the white is based on the varying amounts of white metals and their proportions to one another.

Confusion with Sterling Silver

White gold jewelry is most commonly confused with silver jewelry because they look similar. But there are some key differences.

White gold is more durable than sterling silver jewelry. It doesn't tarnish as silver does either. Lastly, white gold rings are more expensive than sterling silver rings.

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What Are the Benefits of White Gold Jewelry?

White Gold jewelry has a lot of positives when it comes to purchasing it.

It allows the wearer to enjoy the look of silver jewelry with the durability of real gold.

White gold is the most popular precious metal for bridal jewelry because many people feel that yellow gold is too old-fashioned. It has become the main modern bridal metal.

You can wear white gold in the shower

I never advise wearing jewelry in the shower or while doing dishes because of the possibility of it slipping off and going down a drain. But, white gold is safe to be in moisture or to be worn in the shower.

You should never wear jewelry in a chlorine pool because the chemicals will eat away at the metal.

It can be worked on by a jeweler

Platinum, sterling silver, and gold can all be worked on by a jeweler. This means that white gold can be resized if you need your ring in a different size. Prongs can also be rebuilt, and gemstones or diamonds can be reset in white gold.

Alternative metals like stainless steel, titanium, and tungsten can't be resized or worked on by a jeweler. An entirely new ring would have to be purchased.

Read Also >> What are my recommended alternatives to diamonds?

What Are the Drawbacks of White Gold Jewelry?

Although there are many positives to wearing white gold jewelry, there are a few drawbacks.

It requires upkeep

Because gold is naturally yellow, it has to be mixed to create white gold alloys from different white metal alloys.

White gold is coated in a thin layer of rhodium, which is also a white metal. The rhodium coating gives your white gold engagement ring its shiny, white color.

The natural oils in your hands can cause the rhodium plating to wear off, making your white gold shank look yellow and lacking luster. You'll need to take it to a jeweler to have it "re-dipped".

Read Also >> What is rhodium plated jewelry?

The positive out of this is that your white gold diamond ring will come back with previous scratches erased and looking brand new.

It is not always hypoallergenic

Since gold is a soft metal, it is blended with other metals to increase durability. One of the white gold metals is nickel. Nickel allergies are the most common allergen in jewelry metals.

A nickel allergy can cause allergic reactions like turning a finger green or becoming red and rashy looking. If you have a severe nickel allergy, you should look for nickel-free white gold.

Thankfully, most people with nickel allergies can still wear white gold without any issue because there's very little in it. 

Read Also >> What is black gold jewelry?

How Much Does White Gold Jewelry Cost?

If you are buying plain white gold jewelry, such as wedding bands, white gold is going to increase in price based on width. A 4 mm white gold wedding ring is going to be less than an 8 mm wedding ring, even if they're the same design.

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The more gold content, or karat gold a piece of jewelry, has a direct effect on price. 10K gold jewelry is more affordable because it only has 10 parts pure gold out of 24 parts.

If you'd like a general idea of its cost, you could say that white gold is more expensive than sterling silver and less expensive than platinum jewelry.

Overall, white gold tends to increase based on diamond carat weight or the presence of gemstones.

Tips for Buying White Gold Jewelry

While there can be a lot of information about white gold jewelry, there are some key points to remember as you shop for it.

Look for the Stamp

Solid white gold must be stamped with the number amount of gold parts in it. Most real gold rings will be stamped 10K, 14K, 18K, or 24K. If it is not stamped any of these and claiming to still be real gold, I wouldn't trust it.

Read Also >> What's the difference between 10K, 14K, 18K, and 24K Gold?

Consider Wearability

While buying a white gold ring with a higher karat of gold sounds nice and luxurious, keep in mind that the higher the gold content, the less durable that ring will be. 14K gold is the average for bridal jewelry, although some stores may sell 10K for men's bands as men are harder on their hands.

Choose Solid Over Plated

Some buyers think that if the purchased a ring with gold plating over another metal like sterling silver.

Sometimes it can be plated over the stainless steel or a mix of many different metals. But it is just a thin layer of gold over top. It will fade and need to be replated. 

Furthermore, if the base metal is not resizable, it won't matter if its gold, because you can't size it. If you must choose white gold plating, you should look for rhodium plated sterling silver. 

Plated jewelry requires a lot of upkeep and a lot of fine jewelers won't touch it. You should always choose solid gold when choosing any type of wedding jewelry for long-lasting wear.

Where To Buy White Gold Jewelry?

If you're looking for the best places to buy white gold jewelry whether it be earrings, bracelets, pendants, or a diamond engagement ring, there are many places you can go to. All fine jewelry stores both online and brick-and-mortar stores should have white gold jewelry because of its popularity.

Read Also >> How to shop for gold jewelry online?

Normally, we'd recommend Amazon for most of our affordable jewelry pieces, but finding white gold on Amazon is hard because you'll mostly come across white gold plated jewelry.

There are solid gold pieces on Amazon, but they'll be hundreds of dollars. An exception to this may be cubic zirconia or moissanite set in white gold. They can still be pretty expensive though.

If you're going to pay a higher dollar for solid white gold, you should look for it at a high-quality jewelry store.

My favorite for white gold jewelry is the Blue Nile or James Allen. They are both online jewelry stores that remove the pressure of going into a jewelry store and duped by salespeople.

James Allen has 24/hr customer service and neither company's employees make a commission on what you purchase. They have no added benefit to persuade you to go with one decision or another.

How To Clean White Gold Jewelry?

There are a few different ways you can clean white gold jewelry.

You can soak white gold jewelry under warm water for 15 mins or so and clean it with mild soap. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to brush away extra dirt between channels, under cathedrals, and the surface of any diamonds or gemstones.

Note that some gemstones, like doublet or triplet opals, can't be submerged. In this case, you'd rinse, brush, and pat dry.

White Gold Jewelry Facts

Another home cleaning solution you can do is to take pour some vinegar into a small bowl and let it soak for 14-20 minutes. Brush with a soft-bristled brush, rinse again, and pat dry. You can also do the same with ammonia, using 1 cup of water and 1/4 cup of ammonia.

Many local jewelry stores do free inspections and cleanings. This is where they check your diamonds under a microscope, tapping on individual stones to make sure they are not loose before putting them in an ultrasonic cleaner.

Ultrasonic cleaners are great for shaking loose dirt at high vibration out of hard to reach areas in your white gold jewelry. You can even buy mini ultrasonic machines for at home.

Keep in mind that some gemstones like emeralds are not able to be cleaned in an ultrasonic.

Lastly, if you want something a little more professional than water and a little less than ultrasonic cleaners, places like Walmart and jewelry stores usually have some gold cleaner solution available for purchase under $10.

Simply swish white gold jewelry in solution. Scrub the dirt with a soft-bristled toothbrush and rinse the gold cleaner off with water. Tap dry.

All of these are great methods to clean white gold jewelry with, but soap and water are going to be the best way as it is natural and you don't have to worry so much about what can be cleaned that way and what can't.  Water is safe for everything, even to clean the ones that can't be submerged. 

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