What is white gold

White gold, rose gold, yellow gold - what's the difference?


In our business, we are often confronted with questions relating to the topic of colored gold alloys. With regard to white gold, in particular, there are countless questions: Why is white gold white when gold otherwise has its typical metallic yellow color? Why is white gold jewelry more expensive? Why do you get the same amount for 14 carat white gold in buyback as for 14 carat yellow gold, even though you have paid more beforehand? In the following we want to try to answer these common questions and to tell a little about the origin of white gold.


by Walter Hell-Höflinger


What is white gold anyway?

The goldsmiths in the 19th and early 20th centuries initially relied on silver and later on platinum to set stones. Especially with diamonds, the white color of these metals made the color of the stone more prominent. When platinum deliveries from Russia failed to materialize due to political upheavals, white gold was developed as a replacement in Germany around 1912. In contrast to silver, gold - and thus also the white gold alloys - does not oxidize and there are no undesirable discolorations.

White gold is a gold alloy (= metal mixture) that has been given the yellow color intensity by adding silver, nickel, platinum or palladium. The appearance of raw white gold ranges from steel gray to blue-gray to pale yellow. Often white gold jewelry is also coated with a wafer-thin layer of rhodium, which then creates a silvery-bluish-gray color. White gold alloys that are made with a sufficiently high proportion of palladium or platinum, on the other hand, are inherently white-gray-silvery in color, which means that subsequent rhodium-plating is not necessary: ​​the color is retained even after severe wear and tear. By adding different metals, the goldsmith can greatly influence the color of the gold. Many different shades are possible from red gold to gray gold.

Why is white gold more expensive than normal gold?

One reason for the higher price is certainly the higher material costs. In addition to copper, colored gold alloys also contain valuable metals such as silver, palladium and platinum. But the more difficult processing is also a reason for the higher price. White gold jewelry is often rhodium-plated before being sold, i.e. coated with a layer of rhodium in order to achieve a look comparable to platinum. This additional work step makes production more expensive and also affects the sales price.

Is 14 carat white gold more valuable than 14 carat yellow gold?

When selling, you get the same amount for 14 carat white gold as for 14 carat yellow gold if the piece of jewelery is sold as old gold. What is relevant is the amount of gold contained - the fineness - and this is the same for 14 carat yellow gold as for 14 carat red or white gold, namely 58.5%. Unfortunately, the working time that was put into a piece of jewelry and that influenced the purchase price cannot be taken into account for the price as scrap gold. However, since white gold jewelry is often provided with diamonds, it often achieves better sales prices as jewelry with stones than yellow gold or red gold jewelry.

The price that white gold achieves at the gold dealer is based on the gold content of the piece and the current gold price. Because white gold can consist of different alloys (585 white gold, 750 white gold, ...), there is not just one white gold price.

You can find the current price for scrap gold on our price overview page

Is there also 24-carat white gold?

No, because 24 carat would correspond to 100% gold and so the color would then be yellow. However, it needs at least 14% platinum or palladium to give the gold a white color. This means that the gold content can only be a maximum of 86%. In practice, white gold exists as 14 carat jewelry with 58.5% gold or as 18 carat jewelry with 75% gold.

White Gold Allergy - Are There Any Alternatives?

Most white gold alloys contain at least small amounts of nickel, a metal that can cause an allergic skin reaction in around 15% of the population. White gold jewelry therefore causes itching, redness or skin irritation in some people. An alternative is jewelry made of higher quality palladium white gold or jewelry made of platinum, which is more suitable for allergy sufferers, as all alloy components (gold, platinum, palladium, copper) are antiallergenic.

Would you like to sell your white gold jewelry or have it valued?

Come to us and have your jewelry valued free of charge - we will be happy to advise you! We buy all items made from gold, silver, platinum and palladium.

Do you want to buy or sell gold?

Come now for a personal, non-binding and serious consultation in one of our branches in Vienna 9 or Vienna 22.