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White Gold Vs. Yellow Gold in Rings

Emmins BlytheMarch 23, 2010

Overview

Gold rings have a long history of being one of the most sought after and significant pieces of jewelry made from precious metal. Pure 24-carat gold jewelry is naturally a dark yellow color, with a slight orange tint. By adding different alloys, the color, malleability and durability of gold can be altered. Gold can be turned green, pink, red, and even purple. The most popular colored gold is white. When in the market for a gold ring, be it through a jeweler or an online retailer such as RedEnvelope, the choice usually comes down to white gold versus yellow gold.

Significance

There are many significant differences between white and yellow gold that are important to know before picking out a ring for yourself or a loved one. These differences will help you to make an informed purchasing decision, ensuring the jewelry piece will be cherished for years to come.

History

White gold was invented in the 1920s as a less expensive option to platinum. This is due to the fact that white gold looks more like platinum than it does traditional gold, which is always yellow in color. Eventually white gold gained a status as a viable substance for jewelry and began to gain a following.

Yellow Gold

24-carat gold is yellow, and it is only through the addition of alloys that gold can be turned white. This means that if you are looking for the very highest level of purity in your gold jewelry, you will want to go with a yellow gold ring. However, just because a gold ring is yellow does not mean that it is 24-carat; gold that has certain percentages of silver and copper added to it can still be yellow.

White Gold

Gold becomes "white" through the addition of alloys such as copper, nickel, zinc, palladium and silver. The elements and percentages can vary widely. White gold is often plated with rhodium to make a poorly colored piece look more polished and whiter in appearance.

Considerations

Yellow gold is the standard in many ways. It is classic and should be chosen for those with traditional tastes. White gold tends to be more popular among the younger generations but is worn by, and is appropriate for, both young and old. It is important to note that some people are allergic to nickel. Those individuals should not purchase white gold that has nickel as an alloy. If you cannot determine whether or not a ring contains nickel, you should probably chose a different ring.

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