White Gold Jewelry
White Gold is the term given to gold that has been combined with other metals to change the gold to a cooler, elegant, paler gold - white gold.
A combination of different metals is mixed with the gold to create white gold. White golds are made up to 21 karat gold. Usually platinum or silver is mixed with gold in varying amounts to create different shades of fine white gold jewelry.
According to jcrs.com, "White gold was developed in the 1920s as a substitute for the more expensive platinum."
Depending on the metals used to combine with gold to make white gold, the price for white gold can vary greatly. Platinum is expensive - over $1000 per ounce. Platinum is a hard, dense material when mixed with about 10% iridium. It is difficult to create white gold with platinum due to platinum's high melting point. However, the alloyed white gold is very desirable when making white gold jewelry with settings of expensive stones, such as diamonds, as it makes a very secure setting.
Silver is less expensive and has a high lustre.
The quality and price of white gold jewelry is determined by the metals chosen to mix with gold.
Expensive white gold is created by alloying it with copper, silver and platinum or palladium. The result is a brilliant whiter white, so the jewelry doesn't need to be plated with rhodium.
The traditional white gold is a less expensive mix of gold with copper, nickel and zinc. A coating of rhodium is added to the finished jewelry piece to make its off-white color appear white. However, beware that this type of white gold jewelry may need re-plating with rhodium to maintain its whiteness, or it may 'yellow' as the rhodium plating wears off.
Some people may be allergic to some of the alloys used to make white gold, such as rhodium and zinc, another reason besides investment price to know what metals are in your white gold.