What Does White Gold Look Like: Characteristics and Visual Guide
This site has limited support for your browser. We recommend switching to Edge, Chrome, Safari, or Firefox.




Cart 0

Congratulations! Your order qualifies for free shipping You are $5 away from free shipping.
No more products available for purchase

Pair with
Subtotal Free
discount codes are calculated at checkout
  • American Express
  • Apple Pay
  • Diners Club
  • Discover
  • Meta Pay
  • Google Pay
  • JCB
  • Maestro
  • Mastercard
  • PayPal
  • Shop Pay
  • Union Pay
  • Venmo
  • Visa

What Does White Gold Look Like: Characteristics and Visual Guide

What Does White Gold Look Like: Characteristics and Visual Guide

White gold possesses an allure that is both elegant and modern. Often compared with the sheen of silver, white gold is distinct in appearance due to its composition. It is an alloy that blends yellow gold with white metal additives such as palladium, nickel, silver, or zinc. This combination gives white gold its characteristic silvery hue, which can vary in intensity depending on the proportion of gold to alloy. Typical white gold jewelry undergoes a plating process with rhodium, a platinum-group metal, to enhance its whiteness and durability.

When you encounter white gold, you may notice it does not exhibit the traditional yellow color associated with pure gold. Instead, it presents a pale tint that ranges from bright silver to a soft grey, depending on the specific alloy mix and the rhodium plating's freshness. Over time, this coating may wear off, revealing the true color of the metal underneath, which might take on a slightly creamy shade due to the natural color of gold. The
purity of white gold is measured in karats, similar to yellow gold, with common varieties including 14k—comprising 58.3% gold—and 18k, which contains 75% gold.

Your choice in white gold can be influenced by your personal preference and skin tone. It is often preferred for settings that house diamonds or precious stones, as its color helps accentuate the brilliance and cut of the gems. White gold remains a prestigious and fashionable choice for jewelry, offering a blend of timeless appeal and contemporary sophistication.

Overview of White Gold


White gold offers you a unique combination of the timeless elegance of gold with a silvery hue that sets it apart from other gold alloys. It's a popular precious metal that combines durability with a contemporary appearance.

Definition and Composition

White gold is an alloy that includes pure gold and one or more white metals such as nickel, palladium, or silver. This combination results in a silvery-white appearance. The purity of white gold is measured in karats, with common purities being 10k (41.7% gold), 14k (58.3% gold), and 18k (75% gold).

The composition of white gold typically follows these proportions:

  • 10k White Gold: 41.7% gold, 58.3% other metals
  • 14k White Gold: 58.3% gold, 41.7% other metals
  • 18k White Gold: 75% gold, 25% other metals

White Gold Versus Yellow and Rose Gold

Gold and its varieties

Yellow gold is the purest color of all the gold types, given that it contains no other metals that alter its color. On the other hand, white gold acquires its silvery-white color due to the white metals combined with the gold. Rose gold is another variant; it incorporates copper to achieve its distinctive pinkish tone.

Here's a brief comparison for clarity:

  • White Gold: Silvery-white; alloyed with nickel, palladium, or silver.
  • Yellow Gold: Traditional gold color; usually alloyed with metals like zinc or copper, but maintains its yellow hue.
  • Rose Gold: Pink tone; alloyed mainly with copper.

When comparing these, you'll notice white gold has a more neutral and less saturated color than yellow or rose gold, making it particularly versatile for jewelry.

Physical Properties

Property Value
🌟Density 12.9 g/cm³
🔥Melting Point 1,064°C (1,947°F)
💎Hardness (Mohs Scale) 2.5 - 4.5
Color White or silvery-white
🛠️Malleability Good
🔗Ductility Good


White gold's distinctive appearance and strength are a result of its unique composition. Your understanding of its physical properties will help you appreciate and maintain your white gold jewelry.

Color Variations

White gold is an alloy, which means it's made by combining pure gold with other white metals such as palladium, silver, or nickel, resulting in a lustrous, silvery hue. The 'whiteness' of this alloy can vary because pure gold (24 karats) is naturally yellow. The presence and proportion of the other metals in the alloy can affect the shade and color uniformity. Most white gold is coated with rhodium to enhance its whiteness, though this plating can wear off over time, requiring renewal to restore its color.

Durability and Hardness

The metals alloyed with gold not only influence color but also significantly enhance its durability and hardness. This makes white gold a suitable choice for jewelry that withstands daily wear. The karat rating determines the ratio of gold to other metals; the higher the karat, the more gold it contains, and thus, the softer the alloy. Commonly, white gold is available in 14k and 18k forms, offering a balance between strength and purity.

Maintenance and Care

Your white gold jewelry will require regular maintenance to preserve its brilliant luster. Cleaning should involve gentle scrubbing with a soft-bristle brush using warm soapy water, followed by a thorough rinse and dry. Over time, the rhodium plating may begin to wear off, leading to a slight yellowish tint; when this happens, recoating can restore its pristine white color. Avoid exposing your white gold to harsh chemicals to prevent tarnish and damage to both the metal and the rhodium layer. Regular care ensures longevity and lasting beauty of your white gold pieces.

Jewelry Considerations

A lady selecting white gold ring among other rings


When choosing white gold jewelry, it is essential to understand the hallmarks of purity, how white gold complements various jewelry types, and its potential impacts on the skin, especially in terms of allergies.

Hallmarks and Purity

Your white gold jewelry's purity is indicated by its karat hallmark. 18k gold comprises 75% gold mixed with 25% other metals for durability, while 14k gold contains 58.3% gold. These hallmarks, often found on the inner surface of rings, ensure you know the quality and purity of your piece.

White Gold in Rings and Necklaces

White gold is a popular choice for various types of jewelry such as engagement rings, wedding rings, and necklaces. Its silvery-white appearance provides a neutral backdrop that enhances the brilliance of diamonds and gemstones. Your engagement ring or wedding ring in white gold offers tasteful elegance, while a necklace can bask in its reflective luster.

Impact on Skin and Allergies

Consider your skin tone and potential for allergies when selecting white gold jewelry. The metal complements most skin tones with its soft glow. However, it often contains nickel, which can cause allergic reactions for some people. If you have a nickel allergy, look for nickel-free alloys or higher karat pieces, as these may reduce the risk of an allergic reaction.

Market Value and Affordability

Metal Cost (per ounce)
White Gold $1,000 - $1,500
🟡 Yellow Gold $1,200 - $1,800
🔶 Rose Gold $1,300 - $2,000
🔳 Platinum $2,000 - $3,000
Titanium $500 - $800


When choosing white gold, you must consider its market value and how it stacks up against other metals. This precious metal is often selected for its high quality and modern aesthetic, but its affordability plays a crucial role in your decision-making process.

Cost Comparison with Other Metals

White gold is an alloy of gold and at least one white metal, usually nickel, silver, or palladium. The mixture and the karat weight influence the cost. Here's how white gold typically compares to other popular precious metals:

White gold can be a cost-effective alternative to platinum while offering a similar appearance. It is generally more affordable than platinum but more expensive than silver.

Resale Value and Demand

The resale value of white gold jewelry is contingent on the gold market and its condition. Due to its gold content, white gold maintains a high resale value compared to non-precious metals but may fluctuate with market conditions. The demand for white gold remains strong, symbolizing a blend of tradition with contemporary taste and maintaining its status as a sought-after material for jewelry, especially engagement rings and wedding bands.

Aesthetic and Style Choices

A beautiful modern white gold jewelry necklace.


White gold offers a blend of timeless elegance and modern sophistication. Its neutral color and versatile nature make it a popular choice for a range of fashion styles and jewelry designs.

Role in Modern Fashion

Your fashion choices reflect your personal style, and the use of white gold in modern fashion speaks to a versatile and current aesthetic. As a material, white gold maintains a neutral color, making it an excellent base for both classic and contemporary fashion trends. Its popularity in engagement rings and other jewelry signifies its place as a timeless choice among jewelers and consumers alike. The material's neutral tone pairs effortlessly with today's varying styles, ensuring that your pieces fit seamlessly with any outfit.

Matching with Gemstones and Designs

When it comes to selecting the perfect piece of jewelry, white gold is a champion of versatility:

  • Diamonds: White gold amplifies the brilliance of diamonds, creating a striking contrast that draws attention to the stone's clarity and cut.
  • Colored Gemstones: It pairs exceptionally well with a spectrum of gemstones. The metal complements the deep blue of sapphire, the vibrant purple of amethyst, and even the dramatic black of onyx.
  • Neutral Color Palette: The neutral color of white gold allows it to match with various design elements, making it a fitting choice for your beloved jewelry that is both modern and timeless.

This fashion flexibility gives you the freedom to choose white gold for various types of jewelry, confident that it will always complement the overall design and gemstones with grace and style.

Comparative Analysis of Gold Types


Classic and timeless appearance

More affordable than platinum

Complements various gemstones

Durable and resistant to tarnishing



May require rhodium plating over time

Can cause allergic reactions in some individuals

Not as durable as platinum

May lose its luster over time


When considering jewelry, you may find yourself comparing different types of gold. Each variation, such as white gold, has unique characteristics, and understanding these can help you make an informed choice that suits your personal style and needs.

Pros and Cons of White Gold

Pros of White Gold:

  • Aesthetics: White gold offers you a modern, sleek alternative to the classic yellow gold. Its color is comparable to platinum but at a lower cost.
  • Durability: Alloys used in white gold, like 14k or 18k, are often combined with stronger metals, providing you with increased durability and scratch resistance.
  • Value: White gold maintains significant value as it's made with pure gold (10k, 14k or 18k denotes the gold content) and valuable alloy metals.

Cons of White Gold:

  • Maintenance: To keep its luster, white gold requires more maintenance, including periodic re-plating due to wear and tear.
  • Allergies: The presence of nickel in some white gold alloys can cause allergic reactions for some wearers.
  • Cost: While cheaper than platinum, white gold is often more expensive than yellow gold due to the processes and metals used for its production.

Preference Factors


  • Colors: The color of white gold complements cooler skin tones well and pairs seamlessly with diamonds and other precious stones, enhancing their sparkle.
  • Durability vs. Purity: You'll need to balance durability and gold content. For instance, 14k white gold is more durable than 18k white gold due to less gold content, making it a practical choice for everyday wear.


  • Investment: Higher karat gold pieces, like 18k gold (75% gold), hold more intrinsic value than 14k or 10k pieces due to the higher gold content.
  • Color Longevity: Unlike colored golds like red, pink, or rose gold, white gold does not change color over time, maintaining its distinctive hue with proper care.

Remember, the right type of gold for you depends on your preferences in fit, look, and how often you plan to wear the piece. Consider the pros and cons of white gold while factoring in your personal usage and style to determine the best fit for your needs.

Rhodium Plating and Recoating

A jeweler showing rhodium plating method for jewelery


When you purchase white gold jewelry, it's often coated with rhodium for a brighter finish. Understanding the rhodium plating process and the maintenance required can help keep your jewelry looking its best.

The Process of Rhodium Plating

To begin, a jeweler cleans your white gold jewelry to remove any dirt, oils, and other contaminants. The clean piece is then submerged in a rhodium solution, and an electric current is applied; this causes the rhodium to bond to the surface of the jewelry through electroplating. The resulting layer is usually between 0.5 to 2.5 microns thin. This process enhances the jewelry's appearance by giving it a reflective white finish and also adds a layer of protection against scratches and tarnish.

Maintenance of Rhodium-Plated Jewelry

Over time, rhodium plating can wear off, revealing the original color of the white gold beneath, which may have a yellowish tint. The frequency of maintenance will depend on factors such as skin acidity, the type of wear the jewelry experiences, and personal care habits. To maintain the original luster, your jewelry will need to be recoated with rhodium, typically once every one to three years. Regular cleaning and careful handling can help extend the longevity of the rhodium coating, minimizing the need for frequent recoating.

Longevity and Wear

Cleaning white gold ring with soft black color cloth


When you choose white gold jewelry, you're investing in a relatively durable material that balances longevity with aesthetic appeal. Here's how to handle wear over time with a focus on maintaining its value.

Dealing with Scratches and Dents

Scratches are a natural part of any jewelry's life cycle, particularly for softer metals like white gold. While white gold is stronger than pure gold due to its alloy composition, it can still accumulate scratches from daily wear. Here are practical steps to mitigate this issue:

  • Regular Polishing: Periodic light polishing can reduce the visibility of scratches.
  • Professional Buffing: For deeper scratches, consider professional buffing to restore the surface.

Remember, each polishing removes a tiny layer of metal, so it should be done sparingly to preserve the integrity and weight of your jewelry.

Dents can occur from impacts. Since white gold is malleable, it's susceptible to dents, which are more complex to repair than scratches. It's crucial to:

  • Store Carefully: Keep your jewelry in a padded box to avoid accidental impacts.
  • Seek Repairs: If dents occur, a skilled jeweler can carefully work the metal back into shape.

Jewelry Lifespan and Lasting Appeal

White gold for sale


The lifespan of your white gold jewelry directly correlates to how well you maintain it. Its lasting appeal is a testament to its quality and resilience over time, with proper care. To prolong the life and luster of your white gold:

  • Regular Cleaning: Keep it clean from oils and dirt that can cause wear and diminish shine.
  • Rhodium Plating: White gold is often plated with rhodium to enhance its white shine, which can wear off. Re-plating every few years maintains its reflective appeal.

As for value, white gold retains it well, thanks to its composition and popularity. It strikes a balance between luxury and practicality, making it a favorable long-term investment.

Frequently Asked Questions

When you're distinguishing between white gold and other metals, understanding its unique characteristics is crucial.

How can you tell white gold apart from other white metals?

White gold typically has a silvery appearance with a slight yellow undertone, differentiating it from metals like silver which are pure white. The presence of a hallmark usually indicates white gold content.

What visual differences distinguish white gold from yellow gold?

White gold has a subdued silver tone due to the white metals alloyed with gold, while yellow gold exhibits a vibrant, golden hue that reflects its higher gold content without the white metal additives.

How does white gold compare to platinum in appearance?

White gold has a warmer tone compared to the cool, greyish hue of platinum. Additionally, white gold is often coated with rhodium to enhance its whiteness, while platinum is naturally white and does not require this plating.

Is white gold considered as valuable as yellow gold?

The intrinsic value of white and yellow gold is primarily based on their gold content. However, since both can contain the same purity of gold (10k, 14k, or 18k), they are considered to have similar value weights being equal.

What are the characteristics of white gold when it's unprocessed?

Unprocessed white gold, in its alloyed state, has a duller color before polishing and plating with rhodium. Its composition of gold mixed with white metals gives it a less shiny appearance.

How can you identify genuine white gold?

Genuine white gold can be identified by its hallmark stamped on less visible parts of the jewelry, indicating the purity level — common marks include 10k, 14k, or 18k.

Unlock $50 OFF

Take our jewelry style quiz! Answer a few simple questions and we'll help you find the perfect piece of jewelry for you.

Blog posts

Ethical Sourcing

Our commitment to the planet shines in every piece, crafted responsibly and traced transparently for a sustainable tomorrow

Complimentary Shipping

Enjoyed on all US orders

On Demand Stylists

Our lovely team is here to help you 7 days a week

High Jewelry Blog