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White gold jewelry is having a moment, and we couldn’t be more on board with this trend, but we know it’s not the most straightforward material. Some FAQs that we get include: is white gold actual gold and if so, how isn’t it yellow? Is it the same as silver? If not, what’s the difference? Read on for answers to all of your questions.
The History of White Gold
White gold was invented in the late 19th century as a substitute for platinum, a metal with the same look as white gold, but much more expensive (since it’s 30 times more rare than gold!). It first became commercially available in 1912 when it was patented and sold in Germany.
What is White Gold?
White gold is made using a mixture of pure yellow gold and other metals (called alloys) that have a silvery white appearance like palladium, nickel, and zinc. But this doesn’t mean that white gold isn’t real gold, in fact, the opposite is true. All solid gold jewelry, whether it’s yellow, rose, or white, is made by combining pure gold with alloy metals because pure gold is too soft to keep its shape. These alloy metals harden the gold to make it more wearable, and in white gold’s case, they also change the color. You can learn more about alloys and how they affect gold karats here.
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How is White Gold Different From Yellow Gold?
The difference between white gold and yellow gold lies in their alloy metals. Yellow gold is mixed with yellow toned metals to keep its golden color, and white gold is mixed with silver toned metals to make the final product appear white in tone. Yellow and white gold of the same karat is equally strong and long lasting.
Is White Gold Different Than Silver?
White gold and silver are completely different metals, although they have a similar appearance. The biggest difference between the two is that silver will turn color over time and needs to be polished regularly, whereas white gold will maintain its color longer. White gold also holds up better with sweat and water exposure without having to be cleaned, and it’s stronger than silver which means it’s less likely to bend or scratch.