Two timeless classics, you might be wondering what sets a yellow gold ring and white gold ring apart. While each gold is distinctly different visually speaking, is there much of a discrepancy in things like durability, quality, and chemical makeup? And of course, the big question on everyone’s mind, what about the cost? Is one type of “gold” more valuable than the other?
Here, we will discuss the pros and cons of each precious metal as well as the key differences between the two metal types to help you understand everything that you need to know before making your engagement ring or fine jewelry purchase.
What Is Yellow Gold?
When it comes to white gold vs yellow gold, yellow gold consists of a mixture of pure gold and alloy metals like copper and zinc. The amount of pure gold a jeweler uses in a piece of jewelry depends on overall karat weight. A higher karatage will consist of a purer gold content than a lower karatage. However, the more pure gold used, the less durable a ring will be. For this reason, 14 karat and 18 karat gold is most commonly used in yellow gold engagement rings and wedding rings as opposed to 24 karat gold which is too soft.
Yellow Gold Pros
- The most hypoallergenic of the available golds.
- The purest form of all of the golds.
- Easy to maintain.
- Yellow gold is the most historically popular metal and it looks great in vintage engagement ring settings.
- Easily malleable.
Yellow Gold Cons
- Requires regular cleaning and polishing.
- Is vulnerable to dents and scratches from everyday wear.
- Less durable than other golds and precious metals.
What Is White Gold?
White gold is created using a mixture of pure gold and white metals like palladium, silver, and nickel, usually in combination with a rhodium plating. Although it requires other white gold alloys to increase its durability, white gold is still real gold.
The value of a white gold piece will vary depending upon the karat weight and how much metal was used to craft the piece.
White Gold Pros
- Less expensive than platinum.
- More durable and scratch-resistant than yellow gold.
- Pairs well with diamonds.
White Gold Cons
- Rhodium plating must be replaced every few years to retain color.
- When combined with nickel white gold can cause allergic reactions.
Is White Gold More Expensive Than Yellow Gold?
When it comes to price, variety is the key factor to consider. 10K, 14K, or 18K – the higher the concentration of gold, the higher the price tag. That being said, 18K gold is more prone to scratching and damage due to its high gold content.
That being said, it’s not uncommon to find white gold that is priced slightly higher than yellow gold. There are a few reasons for this. Firstly, in the 1990s, the popularity of yellow gold jewelry decreased amongst diamond engagement ring shoppers as platinum and white gold enjoyed a trending moment, thus driving up cost.
Secondly, white gold rings are dipped in rhodium plating to improve durability and to create the beloved luster that white gold engagement rings are known for. However, this isn’t a one-time expense. White gold jewelry should get a new layer of rhodium every two to three years to keep it looking its best, especially if the piece is worn regularly.
Is White Gold Worth More Than Yellow Gold?
Again, the value of both white gold and yellow gold comes down to the gold content within the piece. For this reason, the two different metals are similar in worth. As we discussed above, white gold is created using pure gold and a variety of white color alloys. And regardless of the alloy, white gold must contain a minimum of 50 percent gold.
Your best bet to determine the true value of gold engagement rings and wedding bands is to visit your local jeweler or online retailer, where they can calculate how much gold you have and compare it to the current gold market price. However, keep in mind that rings aren’t a super fruitful investment, and they almost never hold their original value.
White Gold vs Yellow Gold: Which Is Better?
In all honesty, deciding between white gold and yellow gold usually comes down to personal preference. Both metals are tried and true favorites on the fine jewelry market, and both are sure to make for a lovely addition to your forever adornment. One tip to keep in mind if you’re stuck between the two is that cool skin tones tend to look nicer when paired with white gold or platinum jewelry, while warm skin tones look amazing in yellow and rose gold.
Alternatively, if you want the best of both worlds, opt for a mixed metal engagement ring setting or engagement stack.
*Here at Diamond Nexus, we strive to provide valuable information while being clear and honest about our products. The Nexus Diamond™ alternative is a patented lab created diamond simulate that, among all simulants, most closely imitates the look, weight and wear of a diamond, with two exceptions – it is absolutely perfect in every way, and it costs significantly less. Price points and environmental facts expressed in this blog were taken from popular online retailers and may vary. Learn more about the environmental impact of mining by visiting our blog.