White gold is an alloy of normal yellow gold and white metals such as nickel, platinum or palladium – added in order to give it its distinctive colour. White gold will vary in quality according to the actual gold content and according to the other metals used in the alloy.
White gold is categorized into four grades according to the colouration. Grade one is the best and 'whitest' gold, whilst grade four is still very yellow in colour. What is important to realise is that when purchasing white gold, it is plated with a protective rhodium coating. Therefore grade four will look just as shiny and white as grade one.
However, this rhodium plating will wear away over time and reveal the true colour of the metal. With a grade one alloy, you probably wont even notice that this has happened. But with a lower grade, you will need to get the metal re-plated in rhodium at regular intervals if you want it to keep its colour. This can cost upwards of £20 every time.
Taking this into account, it is always best to spend the extra money and go for white gold at grade one or two, and never have to worry about having it re-plated.
The higher grades of white gold will contain high levels of palladium, which gives the gold a very pure white colouration. Lower levels will contain cheaper metals such as nickel, and will result in a creamy yellow colour over time.
Why Does White Gold Turn Yellow ?
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25 September 2012
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