Historically, gold and silver jewellery indicated the status of the one who wore it. It was a sign of power and wealth. Today, both men and women wear jewellery such as a white gold necklace in their everyday activities. White gold, in particular, has become more popular in recent years as an inexpensive substitute for platinum. Most white gold necklaces save buyers more than 50 per cent on the cost of their platinum counterparts. Understanding the history of white gold and also its current uses helps shoppers comprehend exactly what provides the most value for their money. Furthermore, there are many styles and types of white gold necklaces to suit every person's tastes and needs.
Because white gold is a mixture of gold and alloy, it does require a little extra maintenance over other rare metals. Understanding this as well as other aspects, ensures that buyers find the best necklace available for them.
White gold necklaces can be purchased at a jeweller, speciality high street shop, estate sale, and online marketplaces such as eBay.
What is White Gold?
White gold does not actually exist. There is no such precious metal. In reality, white gold is man-made by mixing true yellow gold with a nickel alloy. The nickel enables the necklace to appear whiter than pure yellow gold. However, this alloy mixture still retains a yellowish shade. To bring out that pure "white" appearance jewellery enthusiasts enjoy, the necklace is electroplated in rhodium, a liquid form of platinum. Hence, a white gold necklace is simply a yellow gold necklace with a thin platinum exterior.
Over time and depending on the frequency of use, this thin exterior wears off and gives white gold jewellery a tarnished appearance. This can be remedied easily by any local jeweller with re-plating but typically must be done every six to twelve months. As such, white gold requires more detailed maintenance than its natural counterparts.
However, due to its properties, white gold tends to dent and scratch less easily than platinum or yellow gold. What’s more, it is also far less expensive.
Characteristics of White Gold Necklaces
Some of the most important considerations buyers should remember when purchasing a white gold necklace are who they are buying for and how often he or she is planning on wearing the piece. The frequency of use often determines what kind of white gold to buy.
Pure gold necklaces are made from 24 carat gold ("carat" is used as a measure of gold purity as opposed to the weight of the gold). That being so, 24 carat gold is valuable but impractical for daily use since it is extremely soft. To harden the precious metal and enable it to endure much longer, alloys are mixed in with the gold, as referenced above. This brings the carat or amount of pure gold in the jewellery down. The most common rarity levels for everyday use are 10 carat, 14 carat, and 18 carat gold.
10 Carat White Gold
10 carat white gold necklaces contain the least amount of pure gold. This brings the price down but also makes the necklace less valuable. However, 10 carat gold is extremely resistant to nicks and dents since it encompasses a large amount of alloy. The lack of gold also gives it a lighter colour. As well, 10 carat gold tarnishes over time and requires frequent polishing to maintain its silvery appearance. Because of its high alloy content, it can cause skin irritation in sensitive people.
Overall, 10 carat jewellery is considered to be the lowest quality jewellery but it’s great for those who are planning on wearing their necklace all the time.
14 Carat White Gold
14 carat white gold necklaces are both practical and cost effective. They are often chosen as a good mid-range option for this reason, which makes them easier to find. Unlike 10 carat necklaces, 14 carat jewellery has a stronger yellow shade because of its higher gold content, which often shows up when the white plating begins to wear off. It tends to nick more easily than 10 carat but not as much as high gold ratings. Because it is a softer metal, it polishes more easily. Also due to its properties, 14 carat white gold necklaces are sold more frequently than other carats.
18 Carat White Gold
18 carat white gold necklaces are the highest quality gold necklaces sold and the most valuable out of the three choices. Because of the high pure gold content, 18 carat necklaces tend to look more yellow once the rhodium plating wears off. The metal is softer, meaning jewellery designers get to create more complex designs with it. This same softness, however, can cause the necklace to wear quickly, which is why it requires constant maintenance and should only be worn for special occasions.
The following chart illustrates the differences between each unit. It is important to understand each distinction, since this directly affects the durability of the chosen jewellery.
Pure Gold Amount
Resistant to nicks and dents
Good for everyday necklaces
Needs polish to reduce tarnish
Causes skin irritation
Easy to find
Great for necklaces worn often
Stronger yellow shade
Nicks more easily than 10 carat
Slightly decreased value
Can support complex designs
Buyers trying to decide between the three ranges available, should consider how often they plan on wearing the necklace. This and budget restraints can assist in a final decision.
White Gold Necklace Styles and Lengths
White gold necklaces come in a variety of styles that suit men, women, and children. Buyers considering their options should take into account a few simple things. Is the necklace intended for a pendant? Is the necklace a simple chain or a strand design with beads or gemstones interwoven? Does the buyer intend to wear it for a glamorous event? The answers to these kinds of questions point out what style is most appropriate.
The length of the necklace goes hand in hand with choosing the style. It is largely a matter of personal taste, what matches with a given wardrobe, and where it is to be worn. It can be difficult to choose the right size, especially if the buyer is shopping online. There are, however, a few simple measurements buyers can use to find out what should work best:
Measure the circumference of the neck and add the number of centimetres she wishes it to hang to. For example, a necklace that lies along the collarbone can add five to ten centimetres to the neck measurement.
The general style for men puts their chain measurements at 46-51 centimetres in length. This allows the necklace to be worn at the collarbone. It should be slightly longer for medallions or pendants.
White gold necklaces for children are typically a standard 35-41 centimetres long.
Buyers should remember to match their jewellery to the occasion for which it is intended. Attire and activities also dictate the best options.
Buying a White Gold Necklace on eBay
Buying a white gold necklace on eBay is simple and easy. The first thing you should do is enter your keywords into the search field located on every eBay page. For example, if you want to look at listings for white gold necklaces with aquamarine pendants, you should enter "white gold aquamarine necklace&" into the search field. With so many private and commercial sellers on eBay, the results can sometimes be in the hundreds or thousands. If the listings are overwhelming, you may want to consider utilising the category filters to narrow the listings down to a manageable amount. Both the category and the organisational filters make it easy to search for what you want, compare prices, and find the best deals.
When you find a listing you are interested in, click on the title or picture to be taken to that listing's page. Here, you can view a complete product description, details on the necklace's condition, and photos from the seller. It is also best to view the seller's profile to ensure a good fit before you purchase your item. Click on the seller's name to be taken to their profile page, where you can peruse their feedback history, shipping charges information, and more.
The first thing buyers should do when purchasing a white gold necklace is determine who it is for and how they intend to use it. Everyday wear, for example, erodes the jewellery faster than wearing it only on special occasions. It is best to then decide what level of purity is desired versus how much stability is needed. After these decisions are made, the buyer can then decide what style the necklace should be in. As an alternative to platinum necklaces, a white gold necklace is partially filled with other alloys, requiring more maintenance than its more expensive counterpart.
Once prospective buyers determine what kind of white gold necklace they want to purchase, it can be found at jewellery stores, estate sales, department stores, and from online marketplaces and auction sites like eBay. Featuring used and new products from both private and commercial sellers, websites like eBay make it easy for shoppers to find the perfect white gold necklace.