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White gold is made up of a combination of yellow metal and elements like silver, copper, zinc, nickel, etc. The composition of the alloy appears yellowish in color. Once the design of the jewelry is created, the piece is covered with a layer of a white element like rhodium. The color offers a popular alternative to buyers who like to wear such jewelry.
Most such low-cost designs are made in silver but are soft and get tarnished easily. Some of the silver items combine with oxygen in the air resulting in the formation of the undesirable colored oxides. Some of the coatings are made from the combination of iridium, cobalt, and ruthenium, which increases the hardness of the alloys.
The designs made from pure gold have higher karats but it can be very soft and easily break, whereas, the ones made from the alloy are considered durable. The white ones are mostly found in 18 karats as it contains about 75% pure yellow metal and 25% of the alloy can be other metals which may include certain low-cost elements like nickel or copper or high costs like platinum or rhodium. The coating of metals like rhodium protects the inner layers, as it has higher strength and durability but due to the use of precious metals (like rhodium or platinum), the jewelry can be expensive.
Most of the precious metals can increase the overall cost of the piece of jewelry. Such platings protect the skin from exposure to inner alloys of low-cost metals like nickel which causes skin allergies. The alloys with a higher percentage of nickel appear white and have a faint ivory tone, which can appear very attractive.
If you want to clean your white gold item, use disinfectants but avoid using acidic solutions as it can result in reactions with the external layers and blackening.
To avoid damage to the item, it is advised to contact the jeweler who can use ultrasonic machines to clean without disrupting the design.
The jewelers may use buffing or advise to recoat the piece to get back the original color.
They can use machines to eliminate the scratches from the top layers.
One of the most common questions asked by the buyers is that - if the white gold item has the same value as the yellow one, or if one should buy alloys to invest in gold? The pieces of jewelry that are made from the alloy of precious metals, which are sold at a higher price in the markets, may not fetch the same price on selling.
Only the metals that are bought back by some sellers – can get you a part of the original invested value or some of your items may get a resale value for unique designs or historical value.
Sometimes, metals are alloyed with very expensive and rare metals (like iridium, rhodium) but even in such conditions, one may not get a resale value.
The pure form has a chance to get a buyer and people who want to buy for investment purpose should try to get pure ones to preserve the market value.
Pure gold mixed with alloy metals like silver or palladium results in getting the silvery-white gold. Depending on the element chosen, the process of alloying can be used to get different colours of the yellow metal. White plate is, sometimes, created by a coating made from rhodium that helps to enhance the luster, and it protects the inner layers from wear and tear.
There are many benefits of buying items made from such precious metal alloys as the appearance of a white one is bright and attractive, and is stronger in comparison. Also, it is available at an affordable price as compared to platinum. However, one should always check the hallmark to know the real composition of such items.
Rings and bracelets can turn yellow or brown after some time, particularly; if you have white gold, it can turn yellow. White tends to change colour very fast because it is made with a combination of metals like nickel, palladium and platinum that can enhance the durability of the items. Many choose to get white jewelries as it appears attractive and is highly durable but the application of natural acids or the exposure to acidic components or oils can change the colour of the jewelry or ring.
The interaction with chlorine, soaps, saltwater, detergents, lotions and other types of chemicals can lead to wear and tear of the plating. Rubbing can also make the item turn yellow fast.
Any metal can be polished and shined up that helps to remove scratches, dings, dents and nicks. It may take only a couple of minutes to polish to make it look new.
To clean such items at home, one can use mild engagement ring cleaner or dish soap water but should avoid anything that contains chlorine.
Note that there is no one size fit all way of cleaning such stones as it can react differently to heat or brushing. In general, a white gold diamond ring can be washed with liquid and warm water to remove the grease, dirt, debris and to loosen the ingrained substances from the ring. Soda water is also used in certain cases as carbonation helps to lose build-ups.
First of all, one should not have the white gold jewellery polished very often and should wait until there are a lot of scratches, and then one can take the jewellery to have it buffed.
Polishing can be a bad idea for a rhodium-plated white gold ring or jewelry. Rhodium is used to make a lustrous layer on the surface of the gold and it is not best-suited for polishing. If the top layer of the white gold is already worn down after a long time of wearing, polishing can remove the little plating it has and expose the inner layers to the environment, which can be yellowish.
Even in case, the white gold jewellery is not worn, it may have deep scratches and removal of such heavier polishing can remove a significant part of the plating.
If you want to polish the white gold jewellery professionally, the item is buffed using an abrasive material that removes the tiny layer off the surface. Then the metal is re-plated with rhodium and every jeweller has a different fee for plating, however, the cost can be anywhere in the range of $20 to $50 or more depending on the type of plating used by the jeweller.
In case, you want your item to be re-plated, you should ask the jeweller about the method they will adopt to accomplish and about the thickness of plating, to estimate the cost. Higher thickness increases the longevity of the plating.
One needs to establish the robustness of the ring and the embedded stones (if any) before selecting the method of cleaning. High hardiness does not mean the stone is resistant to everything. Diamond ranks 10 on the Mohs scale (Mohs is the scale used to measure mineral hardness) and certain substances like chlorine, toothpaste and bleaches can dull the sparkle of the ring.
It can be soaked in vinegar for 10 to 15 minutes and then a soft toothbrush can be used to remove the dirt from the surface.
Soak the ring in a solution for some time and then with a soft cloth gently rub the ring to remove any dirt. Rinse the ring to wash away residual soap and then dry the jewellery.
In the UK, the pieces of white gold jewellery that are over 1 gms are hallmarked to provide information related to the amount of precious metal added to the alloy. The process of hallmarking can be seen as a small symbol stamped on the inner surface of the item that gives the certification and it can be used to identify the authenticity through the strict standards of the Government Assay Offices.
The content in such items whether white, rose or yellow is measured in karats, expressed by alphabet K, for example – 22k, 18k and others. 18k items have 75 per cent pure metal regardless of the colour and it is present in a larger amount in 22K and higher K variants.
To know which type of treatment will suit the item the most, see the alloy constituents , the type and composition of material used as base metals, the type of items (antique or new), the basic structure, and various other details to avoid interaction / exposure to harsh / damaging chemicals.
It is advised to avoid the interaction of the jewelry with ultrasonic cleaners, especially, at home as it sends vibrations through water or the cleaning solution and the vigorous movement of energy towards the stone can lead to break or fall out of the stone. It is advised to get the item insured if it is rare and antique to avoid risking the loss of real price in case of any damage.
Dirty rings are breeding ground for bacteria and other skin irritants. The ring can be dirtied by the use of chemical sprays and lotions. It can also cause discolouration of the jewelry and lead to scratches. A simple at-home engagement ring cleaner can bring the sparkle back where the best way to clean a ring is with warm water, mostly hot water mixed with dishwashing soap.
Home cleaning cannot serve as a replacement for professional cleaning, while, it can easily dislodge surface buildup but cleaning at jewelry shops can help in the removal of hard layers of deep compressed dirt and debris.
Yellowing means wearing away and one of the simplest ways to fix it is to get the rhodium plating replaced. Most jewelers coat the metal surface with a thin coat of rhodium to restore the shiny colour but one should take extra precautions and avoid letting the white item get wet, soapy or dirty. It should be taken off before swimming or showering to curb the loss of shine.
If a person wears such a white gold jewellery every day in the kitchen, or if one is working with dirt, or with oil, or in the garden, it is best advised to clean it twice a week at home. If involved in active outdoors, one can adopt the services of professional-grade cleaning products to get back the brilliance.
Sometimes, the harsh base metals can break down when it comes in contact with baking soda, toothpaste or other abrasive product like the regular powdered cleaners and it can also lead to scratches on the metal surface.
Pure gold is always yellow as the metal exists naturally in this form. The 24K is one of the purest but it is too soft to be made into jewellery and other metals are added to the alloy to make it durable to be worn daily. Certain brands and popular jewellers have their own standards to create the alloys. Some people are allergic to nickel, and for this reason, quality jewellers avoid adding it to ring alloys.
Sometimes, palladium can be used with the metal to make a white variant or it can be made into a grey one with less of yellow hue. The traditional artisanal smithing methods may find it difficult to get proper designs and alloys at a higher temperature that is required to melt palladium; hence, they use mostly silver and zinc with it.
White gold is coated with white alloys. The metal is a perfect choice for those who prefer the silvery appearance over the yellow colours. Sometimes, the neutral colour makes it appropriate for gemstone setting and it appears beautiful with white diamonds gemstones- that can match different types of outfits and events.
There can be a certain disadvantage of using alloys or using a coating of rhodium. The coat can be damaged after long use and one may have to get the item recoated regularly to maintain the colour. Recoating is an inexpensive method but one has to go to the jewellers and it may take a few days to give back the newly coated ring.
The price of a platinum engagement ring can be in the range of $300 to $3000, while, the cost depends on many factors, the style, the brand and the amount of metal used in making the jewellery and it can give you a rare vintage design for the ring. Platinum is preferred by many buyers as it is rarer than gold, hypoallergic, heavier and durable, it is related to elite.
The drawback of the metal is that it is highly expensive, it can get scratched and dull over time, and it requires cleaning and polishing in a few years, and the item tends to lose a certain amount of precious metal during the process.
The difference between white gold and platinum is the composition and price. The former is made from alloy with constituents of other durable metals like zinc, nickel, copper, but platinum is pure with 95 – 98% of the basic element composition.
If it is used to create a ring, it can cause the price to increase by 40 to 50 per cent. The key difference is that more platinum is needed to create a dense ring. The metal used in jewellery is in the range of 95 to 98 per cent of platinum, and remaining is rhodium and silver. The 18K version is 75 per cent and 14K is 58.3 per cent gold.
The upkeep tends to be higher. Even gold requires re-polishing and re-plating but it is not as often as platinum.
White gold is more affordable as compared to plutonium and is more popular as compared to yellow. The alloyed version is a stronger, scratch-resistant and durable option which complements white diamonds. The drawback of white is that it needs to be dipped in the rhodium plating in every few years to maintain the colour and luster, moreover, in certain rings nickel is used that can cause allergic reactions.
Yellow gold is made from a pure element or an alloy of copper and zinc. The karatage of 24 per cent is 99.9 per cent, and 22 karat is 91.7 per cent, 18K is 75 per cent and 14 is 58.3 per cent. The higher K means purer and it also means less durable. So 14K and 18K are used to mount engagement and wedding rings.
The pros of yellow are that -
It is most hypo allergic of all the other variants.
Historically, it was used for creating wedding rings and engagement bands, and it can be worn every day as it does not cause allergies.
It is also just perfect for vintage style settings.
It has the purest colour of all and the easiest to maintain.
Since it is most malleable, it can be manipulated to be designed into items.
It works as a complement to darker skin and matches diamond of lower colour grade.
The drawback is that it should be polished and cleaned regularly, and it can be subjected to dents and scratches.
Comparison points -
The key difference between the white and yellow is that the former is, sometimes, mixed with other elements like nickel and yellow gold can be mixed with copper.
White has a lustrous look and yellow is luminous.
If a gemstone matches the golden tone, yellow can be used and if the gemstone is white and matches the white tone, it can be used.
The cost of white and yellow is relatively the same. [The cost depends on karats- The 14K costs less than 18K.]
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