What is white gold made of ?

White gold is currently the most popular of all gold alloys, especially for engagement rings and wedding rings.

Fashion question certainly.

However, few people really know what white gold is made of.

bague en or blanc

White gold ring being made

The composition of white gold

White gold is an alloy composed of fine gold, pure yellow gold that you know well, with other metals that will give it a white / gray color.

The only information available on the white gold of your ring will be the gold title, given by the punch of the jewel, of 9, 14 or 18 carats, which indicates to you the proportion of pure gold of the jewel.

A ring in 18-carat white gold (or 750/1000) is made of 75% pure gold.

But what about other metals allied to gold? Well, we do not know !!

The white gold alloys are made according to certain recipes that can vary, from mixtures of commercial metals and some are more or less secret, according to the jeweler or the company considered.

Here are some examples of known white gold alloys:

  • Composition of 20 carat white gold (833/1000): 83.3% of fine gold + 16.7% of Palladium
  • Composition of white gold 18 carats (750/1000): 75% of fine gold + 18.5% of silver + 1% of copper + 5.5% of zinc
  • Composition of 14 k white gold (583/1000): 58.3% of fine gold + 17% of silver + 17% of copper + 7.7% of zinc
  • Composition of 9 carat white gold (375/1000): 37.5% fine gold + 62.5% silverComposition de l'or blanc 20 carats (833/1000): 83,3% d'Or fin + 16,7%% de Palladium

    The French and international law is very strict as to the respect of the gold content announced by the punch of the jewel, but nothing is done to inform on the composition of the alloy of gold.

    Some gold alloys tend to give a light gray or gray tint to yellow to gold, while others give it a more pronounced gray-white color.

    composition de l'or blanc

    In this image, we can see yellow gold on the left, in the center, the alloy of various metals used to make white gold from yellow gold, and to the right of 14-carat white gold. We notice the gray color pulling on the yellow of this alloy.

    The cost and the toxicity in question.

    We can therefore make white gold with certain metals allied to yellow gold.

    Palladium and nickel are metals that give a white color to yellow gold.

    minerais de palladium naturel

    Yes, but here it is.

    Palladium is also expensive or more expensive than gold and nickel very often causes skin allergy reactions, so it was banned or limited to use in France by the decree of July 18, 2000.

    So for reasons of cost and health, the white gold manufactured is usually with metals that are not allergenic and economical. As a result, the white gold alloy eventually shoots to yellow.

    bague or blanc 18 carats non rhodiée

    Ring in 18 carat white gold out of foundry.

    We notice the white color of the gold in the rough, without polishing and without rhodium sign of the quality of the white gold alloy used.

    The use of rhodium

    Because white gold is not so white, it is rhodium plated to give it a really white look.

    Why ?

    And although white gold is never as white and shiny as rhodium, it has become customary in jewelery to deposit a plating on the metal of the ring giving a better visual effect.

    Indeed, rhodium is so brilliant, that on a ring with diamond, it is difficult to distinguish by far the brilliance of the diamond rhodium gloss.

    Note that platinum is sometimes used instead of rhodium. These two metals are both part of the same group of metals and have similar properties.

    Why does white gold turn yellow sometimes ?

    As you may have understood, the yellowing of your white gold ring is not due to dirt or old gold but rhodium plating (or platinum) your ring is fading.

    The strokes, rubbing and wear of your ring snatches microscopic pieces of the rhodium coating of your ring, revealing the natural color of the gold of it.

    The solution to the yellowing of your ring will therefore be to bring it to your jeweler who, after cleaning and polishing the jewel, redeposit a layer of rhodium on it, to regain its new look.

    How to recognize it?

    It is not possible to recognize the white gold itself.

    Indeed, the outer color of the jewel being due to a surface coating, it is impossible to visually recognize the white gold. Rhodium silver will have the same color as rhodium gold.

    You can test your jewel to find out if it is gold and measure the title of its gold.

    What is the price?

    It is difficult for me to give you a figure since the price of white gold is variable according to the gold price at the time of the valuation of the jewel and the title of the white gold constituting the jewel.

    For the same weight, a 14-carat white gold ring will not have the same value as an 18-carat gold ring because the gold content of the latter is greater.

    poincon 18 carats sur une bague en or

    To evaluate the price of your white gold jewelry you will need to determine the gold title of your jewelry, provided with the punch engraved on it and learn about the current gold price.

    You will then need to contact specialized gold buying companies that will certainly buy you at a lower price than the gold price, since they will have to reprocess your gold.

    To know the price of the gold in continuous, you can consult this site giving you the price of the gram of gold in US dollars.


    More information :

    enero 02, 2018 — Nicolas Tranchant
    Tags: Gold Jewelry


    Garry Perkins

    Garry Perkins said:

    Outside of France, there are many different alloys of white gold. For example, many still use nickel, along with palladium and zinc to whiten the metal, but often chromium and molybdenum are also added for strength and ability to polish. When Rhodium is not obscenely expensive, it makes a great addition to white gold that can show up in polishing. When working with white gold, one can tell the presence of palladium and rhodium from how much trouble finishing the gold causes.

    In general, zinc-white gold will yellow, but nickel/palladium white gold, especially bright white alloys (especially 14k) will actually maintain a white standard for decades, and the gold will re-polish without issue. Rhodium plating is not necessary. In addition, 10k gold can and should have a bit more whitening elements other than simply adding more silver.

    In general, nickel gives a whiter gold, especially with palladium and a small amount of chromium.

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