Articles / What You Need To Know About How White Gold Is Created

Why It's Popular

Right now, white gold is very popular in bridal jewelry, as well as fashion jewelry featuring diamonds and pearls. This is because the white of the metal enhances the white of the gemstones. But it doesn't end here. Many designers are using white gold settings with vivid gemstones, such as rubies, pink tourmalines, tanzanite and emeralds. They choose white gold because they like the way the colors leap out from the white settings.

It's All in the Mix

Because the natural color of gold is yellow, adding any white metal to it helps bleach out its color. There are basically two ways of creating white gold: by mixing yellow gold with either nickel or palladium. However, each has its disadvantages. The hardness of nickel makes it difficult to process, and palladium, one of the platinum-group metals, carries a high price tag. Sometimes, refiners create white gold using a combination of these two white metals.

Nickel Sensitivity

Because some women have a sensitivity to nickel, the nickel alloy is being phased out and being replaced by palladium in some countries. In the United States, there is no legislation requiring a specific alloy, but all jewelry containing nickel must be labeled.

Why the Trademark Is Important

Sometimes, yellow or white gold is electroplated with rhodium, one of the platinum group metals, to give it the desired white color. However, this coating can wear off in time and may need to be replated.

If you have a skin sensitivity or wish to know the makeup of your white gold jewelry, you should ask us the following questions: Is it a nickel white or a palladium white? Is it a nickel-free palladium white? Is it rhodium plated? We'll be happy to provide you with all the answers.

David WeissDavid Weiss

Graduate Gemologist, GIA
Certified Appraiser