I often get asked the following questions: “What’s the difference between white gold and yellow gold?” and “Is white gold better than yellow gold?”. In this write up, we will address them and go in-depth into the pros and cons of white gold vs yellow gold.
In its purest form (24 karat), gold is too soft for jewelry and would lose its shape easily. Because of this, pure gold is often alloyed together with harder metals like nickel and platinum to boost its durability and strength.
For white gold, metals like nickel, platinum, palladium and zinc are typically mixed into its composition. Depending on the type of jewelry made, the alloy mixture would be varied.
Interestingly, most people have the misconception that the raw form of white gold is white in color. The fact is, white gold has a natural tinge of yellow in its raw form. In order to get a white appearance, they undergo a rhodium plating process to give the finished piece a shiny, lustrous coating.
For yellow gold, metals like silver, copper and zinc are typically used in its composition. Using metals such as copper and silver produces a natural layer of colored oxide on the surface and helps enhance the yellowish hue in yellow gold.
The advantages of white gold are:
• White gold is a lower cost alternative to platinum with a similar appearance.
• Neutral color enables good matching with different color gemstones/diamonds.
• Hard rhodium coating offers good protection against wear and tear.
• White gold is stronger than yellow gold due to the harder alloyed metals.
The disadvantages of white gold are:
• May cause skin irritation if you are hypoallergenic to nickel.
• Require more maintenance as rhodium needs to be recoated periodically.
• Ring resizing or servicing would require an additional plating step and a higher expense.
The advantages of yellow gold are:
• Vintage and classic color appearance.
• Easy to work with during repairs and require less maintainence.
• Complements lower colored diamonds nicely and this could lead to substantial savings.
The disadvantages of yellow gold are:
• Lesser engagement ring designs to choose from due to lower popularity.
• Harder to match with fancy color diamonds and gemstones.
• More prone to scratches and may require rebuffing to restore luster.
The truth is, there isn’t any right or wrong answers here. Whether you should choose white gold or yellow gold is entirely up to personal tastes. So, go think about what your preferences are.
If you still have trouble deciding, here are some other factors you can think about to guide you towards a choice.
In my opinion, yellow gold settings tend to look nicer on women with darker skin tones. On the other hand, white metals generally go well with all types of skin tones as it is more neutral.
You may also want to consider things like the recipient’s occupation or if the recipient is going to be rough with their hands (white gold may be better here). What about the recipient’s character or personal color preferences?
Ultimately, it boils down to what the recipient likes and both types of metals can be stunning options in their own rights.
Now that you know what the differences between yellow and white gold are, you probably want to see some amazing rings made from both types of metals in a side by side comparison. Hopefully, this gives you some ideas and visualization of how they look in real life.
Graduated Milgrain Diamond Engagement Ring – BlueNile.com
This classy engagement ring from Blue Nile features graduating accent diamonds on the shank and is finished with milgrain detailing on the edges. It’s perfect for people who are looking for more bling at an affordable price point.
Intertwining Pave Rope Diamond Ring – JamesAllen.com
Here’s a gorgeous ring design from James Allen that is full of symbolic meaning. This rope style diamond ring has interwoven shanks with pave diamonds that represents your love with the recipient.
Verragio D-101S Shared-Prong Split Claw Diamond Ring – WhiteFlash.com
If you are looking for a one-of-a-kind diamond ring, this Verragio ring from White Flash will knock your socks off. Both yellow gold and white gold versions are exquisitely detailed. However, on a closer look, both exude different vibes.
We’ve covered a lot of ground in this article and I’m glad that you made it to the end.
To summarize, you have learned the differences between white gold and yellow gold as well as some guidelines to help you choose between them. You had also seen some beautiful ring designs made from both types of metals.
Between yellow gold and white gold, which would you personally choose for your engagement ring and why? Leave a comment below to let us know below!
Lastly, the choice of setting is only part of the equation when buying a diamond ring. The center diamond is equally important as well and makes up the bulk of the cost.
So, if this is your first time buying a diamond ring, make sure you check out other sections of Beyond4Cs to find out tips on buying high quality diamonds!