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White Gold vs Yellow Gold: All You Need To Know

by Minifora Jewels 01 Apr 2024
White Gold Vs Yellow Gold

Stood in front of a dazzling display of rings or necklaces, unsure whether to go for the classic yellow gold or the modern white gold? Choosing between these two gorgeous options can be tricky. But don’t worry; we will explore the difference between yellow gold and white gold in this article - from their looks, strengths, and upkeep needs to help you pick the perfect match for your style and preferences.

Is White Gold Real Gold?

The short answer is YES, white gold is definitely real gold! But it's not pure gold.

Okay, But How Does Yellow Gold Become White?

They start with pure yellow gold and add in other metals to lighten the color. It's kind of like adding white paint to change the color of a darker shade.

So, It's Still Mostly Gold?

Depending on the karat (like 14K or 18K), a big chunk of white gold is still pure gold. The other metals just give it that cool white look and a bit more strength.

 Let's take a look at each of their compositions and key differences.

What Is The Difference Between Yellow Gold And White Gold Jewelry?

The most obvious difference between yellow gold and white gold lies in their color. As the name suggests, yellow gold is the classic, warm yellow tone we traditionally associate with gold jewelry. White gold, on the other hand, is not naturally white. It's crafted from yellow gold alloyed with white metals.

Yellow Gold Jewelry

The quintessential gold tone, yellow gold is a natural alloy primarily composed of gold itself, usually around 75% for 18k gold jewelry (the most common karat). The remaining 25% consists of other metals like copper for its characteristic yellow hue, silver for strength and ductility, and sometimes zinc or nickel for further refinement.

White Gold Jewelry

Although it may appear naturally occurring, white gold is not a pure metal. It's crafted by alloying yellow gold with white metals, primarily palladium and nickel. This blend neutralizes the yellow hue, resulting in a silvery-white finish. Also, white gold is usually plated with rhodium, a rare and reflective metal, for an extra touch of brilliance and to enhance its resistance against scratches and tarnish.

 Appearance, Durability, and Maintenance

Now that we have explored their basic composition, let's delve deeper into the factors that define the difference between yellow gold and white gold jewelry.


Yellow Gold

Yellow gold jewelry has a warm, classic, and timeless look that complements various skin tones. Its natural yellow hue adds a touch of elegance and sophistication to any jewelry piece.

White Gold

White Gold jewelry has a modern and contemporary aesthetic. Its silvery color blends seamlessly with diamonds and gemstones, making it a popular choice for engagement rings and other statement pieces. White gold also works well with cooler skin tones.


Yellow Gold

Generally considered more durable due to the presence of copper, which strengthens the metal. It's a good choice for everyday wear, especially if you are someone with an active lifestyle.

White Gold

White gold jewelry is slightly less durable than yellow gold due to the softer nature of the white metal alloys used. However, it's still suitable for most jewelry pieces with proper care and handling.


Yellow Gold

Yellow gold jewelry is renowned for its low-maintenance nature. Regular wiping with a soft cloth removes everyday dust and fingerprints. For deeper cleans, a gentle soak in warm, soapy water followed by a soft brush and thorough drying can maintain your treasure's brilliance.

White Gold

White gold jewelry needs more frequent maintenance due to the rhodium plating, which can wear off over time. Re-plating, usually every few years, is recommended to maintain its lustrous appearance. Also, white gold may require more cleaning due to the nickel content, which can be a concern for individuals with nickel allergies.


Yellow Gold

Yellow gold, in its pure form, is naturally hypoallergenic. Since it's mainly composed of gold and lacks common irritants like nickel, it's a safe choice for people prone to allergies or skin sensitivities. Still, some alloys used in yellow gold may still contain traces of nickel, so you may need to inquire about the specific composition.

White Gold

White gold is generally considered less hypoallergenic than yellow gold due to the presence of alloyed metals, most notably nickel. Nickel allergies are fairly common and can result in itchy rashes, redness, or even blisters. While palladium-based white gold is a better alternative for those with sensitivities, it may not be entirely allergy-free for everyone.

Which One Should You Go For?

Ultimately, the choice between white gold jewelry and yellow gold jewelry comes down to personal preference. Here are some factors to consider:

Your Style

If you prefer classic elegance, yellow gold might be your ideal choice. For a modern and versatile look, white gold might be more suitable.

Your Existing Jewelry

If you have a collection of one or the other gold jewelry, consider what metal would complement them best.

Your Skin Tone

Yellow gold generally complements all skin tones, while white gold can be particularly flattering for cooler tones. Experiment and see which one you feel most confident wearing.

Your Lifestyle

If you lead an active life and prioritize durability, yellow gold jewelry might be a better choice. If you prefer a low-maintenance option, yellow gold might again be more suitable.

Your Budget

Both metals typically cost around the same amount, especially when comparing pieces of the same karat weight. So there is no need to worry about a price difference.

Beyond the Basics: Exploring Additional Factors

Gemstone Compatibility

Certain gemstones, like diamonds, can appear brighter and more vibrant set in white gold, while warmer-toned gemstones may complement yellow gold jewelry better.


Both white gold and yellow gold generally have similar costs due to their comparable gold content.

Ethical Sourcing

Look for jewelers who prioritize ethical sourcing and responsible practices when choosing your gold jewelry.

Personal Meaning

Yellow gold jewelry often holds a more traditional and sentimental value, while white gold jewelry can be seen as a modern and contemporary choice.

The Takeaway

Ultimately, it's all about what you love the most!  Want that classic, warm look? Yellow gold jewelry is your best bet. Looking for something modern and a little more blingy for your diamonds and gemstones? White gold jewelry is the way to go.

Both metals are beautiful, and with a little understanding and care, your chosen piece will look stunning. And remember, if allergies are a worry, play it safe with higher-karat yellow gold or ask about nickel-free white gold alternatives.

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