There is no such thing as white gold. The use of alloys hardens the gold to enhance its durability, such as silver, copper, zinc and nickel and the content of gold is indicated by carats (k).
- 10K gold contains 41.7% pure gold, 58.3% alloy
- 14K gold contains 58.5% pure gold, 41.5% alloy
- 18K gold contains 75% pure gold, 25% alloy
- 19K gold contains 79.2% pure gold, 20.8% alloy
19 Karat white gold is a strong metal that stays white without repeat rhodium-plating. Some people like to rhodium plating for longer lasting, brighter white and shinier appearance.
18 Karat is also recommended, but unfortunately it is not as white as 19K.
18 Karat white gold will likely become “yellowish” over time so recurring rhodium plating is needed.
Pure gold is 24K and common lower measurements for jewellery are 19K, 18K, 14K, and 10K.
Gold, platinum, palladium and other precious metals
Gold comes in three colors: rose, yellow and white depending on the alloy used. Rose gold uses copper as an alloy, yellow uses bronze, zinc or nickel, and white gold uses alloys such as zinc, nickel, silver or palladium. White gold is sometimes plated with rhodium, which is a member of the platinum family, to enhance the white color.
Platinum is a precious white metal. It is used in jewellery in almost its pure form (approximately 95% pure). Platinum is extremely long wearing and maintains its bright finish. The most appealing characteristic of platinum is its durability. If scratched, platinum will not lose any metal and it does not wear away over time. Platinum is dense so feels heavier than the same item made in gold. It is also more expensive than gold – up to twice the price.
Palladium is such an attractive metal, as well as tarnish and wear-resistant. Palladium is hypoallergenic and remains white forever. Palladium is 95% pure when used in jewellery, is extremely durable and does not require alloy metals and plating for protection, which ensures that it will remain white as long as you own your jewellery. Palladium is an alternative to white gold or platinum, as it resembles both of these metals with no additional treatment or processing. It’s lighter and harder than platinum and it is often used in making white gold alloys.