Vintage White Gold Necklace Buying Guide

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Vintage White Gold Necklace Buying Guide

A piece of jewellery must be at least 20 years old to be classified as vintage. Vintage jewellery remains popular and makes an ordinary outfit look extraordinary. Some may invest in vintage jewellery solely to add to a collection. If buying for an investment, shoppers may need to have their jewellery appraised by an expert. Vintage white gold necklaces are recognised for their unique design and the quality of the material.

Vintage white gold necklaces range in design, size, and carat count. Some necklaces fit high around the neck area, while others dangle closer to the chest. Vintage white gold necklaces may be worn by both men and women alike. When purchasing a vintage white gold necklace, buyers should understand the characteristics of white gold, familiarise themselves with the history of this alloy, learn how to identify and examine the quality of the jewellery properly, and recognise how to care for these keepsakes. Vintage white gold necklaces are available at antiques dealers and at retailers, such as eBay.

Characteristics of White Gold

White gold is created by combining gold with at least one other white metal. White gold is accurately measured or graded in carats. The type of white metal that is used in the mix is often a determining factor in the number of carats, as well as the jewellery's ductility, malleability, and hardness. Ductility is the ability of the metal to be drawn out into a thin wire. High quality white gold has a higher carat count. White gold that contains measured amounts of silver or palladium are more pliable and classify with a higher number of carats. The use of nickel can help to increase the jewellery's durability, but often lowers the designation of carats. In more recent times, nickel is often replaced by a member of the platinum family to help to prevent allergic reactions.

White gold is usually treated with a layer of rhodium, which acts as a sealant. Rhodium is white and extremely durable. It is a less expensive alternative to platinum. When used to plate white gold necklaces, it helps to protect the finish from signs of wear, including scratches. White gold is considered to be durable and attractive. It is often used in the creation of jewellery, including earrings, watches, brooches, bracelets, rings, and necklaces.

History of Vintage White Gold

Early uses of white gold date back to the early 1900s. It became commercially available in 1912 in Pforzheim, Germany as an alloy containing gold, nickel, and palladium. White gold quickly became a popular low cost alternative to platinum. In 1917, David Belais acquired a patent for the alloy. So, during the 1920s white gold was often referred to as "Belais metal". Many pieces of vintage white gold jewellery from this period may be marked "Belais".

Early forms of white gold necklaces have a dull or dark colour. These necklaces are often plated with rhodium, although this process was not typical until the early 1930s. White gold necklaces dating before this period should not have signs of the sealant. However, this factor alone should not be an indicator of the age of a necklace. Rhodium tends to wear away over the years, diminishing the whiteness and shininess of the necklace. In addition, a vintage necklace may have been replated.

Identifying a Vintage White Gold Necklace

White gold can often be confused with platinum or sterling silver. In order to determine if a necklace is made of white gold, buyers should examine it. They should look at the clasp of the necklace, or at any small metal tags dangling from the clasp, for signs that read as follows:

Type of White Gold

Mark on Necklace


22 carat

22 K, 916, 917

Necklace is 91.6 percent pure gold or 22 parts pure gold out of 24

18 carat

18 K, 750, 18 KP

Necklace is 75 percent pure gold or 18 parts pure gold out of 24

14 carat

14 K, 585, 14 KP

Necklace is 53.8 percent pure gold or 14 parts pure gold out of 24

10 carat

10 K, 417, 16, 10 KP

Necklace is 41.6 percent pure gold or 10 parts pure gold out of 24

Marks on the necklace tend to vary, often depending on their country of origin. However, all of the marks listed above indicate that the necklace is white gold.

Examining the Quality of a Vintage White Gold Necklace

The quality of white gold is given in carats. The carat count is always stamped on the white gold itself, often on an inconspicuous part of the necklace. 18 carat white gold is the most malleable and usually the most yellow of the white gold variety. 14 carat white gold is stronger than 18 carat and appears whiter. 10 to 14 carat white gold is known for its durability and whiteness, and is often recommended for everyday wear.

Buyers should determine if the white gold is rhodium plated by examining the colour of the necklace. Rhodium plated white gold is brilliant silver, while unplated white gold appears slightly yellow or grey. High quality white gold is often not rhodium plated and appears slightly grey. Poor quality white gold appears more yellow and needs to be replated on a more frequent basis.

If the necklace is rhodium plated, buyers should examine it closely to see the colour beneath the plating. High quality white gold has a silvery tint and contrasts less with the rhodium plating, making it less noticeable when the plating wears down. On the other hand, poor quality white gold exhibits an extremely yellow colour through the rhodium plating as it wears.

How to Care for a Vintage White Gold Necklace

To maximise vintage white gold's durability and beauty, buyers should take proper care of their necklace. White gold is the most susceptible type of metal to yellowing. This is because the rhodium plating, which gives the metal its white appearance, tends to wear off with age and wear, displaying the metal's yellow tint. In order to compensate for this, many buyers may choose to restore the lustre of their white gold necklace. This can be done by using a few household products. Buyers should first mix together a few drops of washing up liquid and water. Buyers should then gently scrub over the yellowed areas of the necklace with the mixture and a very soft brush. It is best to avoid brushes that are too abrasive as this only causes further damage to the white gold. The jewellery should then be rinsed with water and dipped into a small amount of rubbing alcohol. The white gold necklace can be dried and buffed with a soft cloth.

In addition to restoring the white gold's lustre, buyers may also choose to have their necklace rhodium plated as deemed necessary. Replating of white gold is recommended every 12 to 18 months. It is a good idea to remove white gold necklaces when swimming or working with household chemicals. White gold is sensitive to harsh chemicals which can cause pitting, discolouration, or irreparable damage. Vintage white gold necklaces should be stored separately in a cloth jewellery bag or in a box. This helps to reduce scratches.

How to Buy a Vintage White Gold Necklace on eBay

To navigate to eBay’s selection of vintage white gold necklaces, buyers should use the search bar located on the home page. Buyers are free to enter any related key terms such as, vintage 14K white gold necklace. Once you have been redirected to the new page, use the filters to narrow down options based on a preferred era.

Alternatively, buyers can search for vintage white gold necklaces using eBay's advanced search feature. This feature allows buyers to limit search results based on price. Buyers may also use this convenient feature to search by Top-rated sellers. Top-rated sellers are known for dealing fairly and have received consistent positive feedback ratings. Knowing this can help a buyer to feel comfortable and confident throughout the buying process.

When buyers have found the vintage white gold necklace that they wish to purchase, they should read the item description carefully and look at the photos to check the condition of the necklace.


Vintage white gold necklaces are made of both gold and another white metal such as silver, palladium, or nickel. They are usually plated with a layer of rhodium which acts as a sealant, and gives the otherwise yellowish alloy its white lustre. White gold became immediately popular after its creation and was often referred to as "Belais metal". This alloy is identified easily by its markings, which state its grade in carats. Higher carats indicate a greater amount of gold in the alloy. When buying a vintage white gold necklace, buyers should consider the quality of the jewellery. High quality white gold necklaces have a greyish tint when not plated with rhodium, while low quality pieces have a yellowish hue. To preserve the value and beauty of the vintage white gold necklace, buyers should care for the jewellery properly. This entails maintaining its lustre and replating the rhodium periodically. eBay sellers offer a range of vintage white gold necklaces.

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