White Gold

White gold is of course not a "white gold", but a gold alloy.

Gold is rarely used as pure, pure "fine gold".
On the one hand this is because fine gold is relatively soft and is hardly suitable for jewellery that is really to be worn, on the other hand it is not only a question of cost, but also of taste, because with the help of the additional metals in a gold alloy, one can influence the colour tone.

The fact is: gold, the element and pure metal, is always yellow!
There is NO white, grey or red gold!

White gold is a kind of newcomer in the jewellery industry and has only been used for about 100 years.
It was originally developed as a "cheaper" platinum alternative when platinum became fashionable during the Art Deco era.

White gold should ideally be an alloy of gold, palladium and silver (so only precious metals!).
Palladium serves as a "whitener". It has such a strong effect that the golden hue of gold is widely "swallowed", in addition it should have a proportion of at least 15% of the total alloy.

Palladium white gold has a platinum-like grey, does not oxidise and is very tough.

The first white gold alloys were alloyed with nickel because of the high melting point of palladium. 

This is no longer necessary today. Unfortunately, there are still some black sheep who use nickel or manganese as additional metals instead of palladium.

However, these metals cannot only cause allergies, but will also lower the value of the jewelry.

There is no other gold alloy with such a wide range of different alloy compositions as white gold.

My experience through repairs of foreign goods shows it again and again: most so-called "white gold" jewellery pieces have only a moderately attractive, dirty yellow colour under their rhodium layer. This is very unfortunate for the customer, because once the rhodium layer has been removed, the true core comes to light. Of course, a rhodium layer can be renewed, but this is often very expensive.

If you want a permanently beautiful piece of jewellery without follow-up costs, you should always buy palladium white gold!

With white gold it is therefore all the more important to ask which additional metals are contained in the alloy!

White gold alloys have the following properties:

750/- white gold (18 ct.) needs at least 20% palladium. The reason for this is that the alloy consists of 3/4 yellow gold, which can often lead to yellowish discolorations.
Therefore, this alloy is not necessarily recommended for rings, bracelets or frequently worn jewellery.
Hardness according to Vickers: approx. 140-240 


585/- White gold (14 ct.) is the most beautiful white gold alloy suitable for everyday use.
Here almost half of the alloy is the "whitener" palladium, so 585/- white gold retains its colour even when worn daily.
It is high-quality and easy to work with.
Hardness according to Vickers: approx. 160-250 


333/- White gold (8 ct.) is ... nonsense. It is better to take palladium directly here. Mixing a little gold and a little silver into the palladium is more like adulterating than alloying.
Especially since most industrial 333/- white gold alloys are mainly not alloyed with palladium but with silver and unfortunately often with base metals such as tin or manganese.
Repairs and reworking are unnecessarily complicated.
It is often the case that Managan, nickel or similar materials are added to achieve a compulsively low price.
Hardness according to Vickers: approx. 80 - 135 (for Au/Ag)


Grey gold and rhodium

a final word on the misleading designation grey gold.
Of course, high-quality white gold, strictly speaking, is not really "white" but grey. Just like palladium, platinum and actually all metals except gold and copper are grey. (The brightest metal, by the way, is silver.)

The term grey gold is a clever invention of the industry.

They produce pieces of jewellery with cheap white gold alloys, which have a rather unattractive colour, which are then overrhodinated, i.e. a layer of rhodium* is applied galvanically to the entire piece of jewellery.
After a while this layer wears off.
Of course, this was also noticed by the, unfortunately then very disappointed, customers, at some point.
Now the clever strategists from the marketing department have come up with something really great:
"From now on we will call white gold "grey gold" and rhodium-plated grey gold "white gold", because without the rhodium it doesn't look that great.
We then leave the customer the choice, and if necessary we can also save the expensive rhodium, with which we beautify our adulterated alloys!
Quite a great idea! Bravo!

No matter what and where you buy, please ALWAYS ask for the alloy additives! For white gold: at least 15% palladium (!!!), silver and of course gold.

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