Gold is a yellow metal, right? So how does it get turned into white gold?
That is a common question about white gold. We’ll answer it in today’s post, along with some others.
How Is white gold made?
It’s an alloy of gold that has been mixed with a combination of other white-toned metals that can include platinum, palladium, silver, with maybe a little zinc added too.
Is there such a thing as 24K white gold?
No, there can’t be, because 24K gold is pure gold, which is a yellow metal. As soon as you start to mix in other metals (see the question just above), the karat rating drops and the result is a lower karat rating of 18K or lower.
Why is white gold made?
Because it is beautiful. It is white, shiny, and ideal for watch cases, rings and other jewelry. Contrary to common opinion, it is generally not made because it is harder or more scratch-resistant than yellow gold; the addition of platinum, silver or palladium do not result in a metal that is resistant to scratching or wear.
Does white gold look exactly like platinum?
They are both white shiny metals, and look similar. Jewelers and precious metals experts, on the other hand, can often distinguish between white gold and platinum just by looking. (If they are not sure, a quick analysis with a test kit will decide.)
Is white gold ever plated with other metals?
Yes, it is. Some white gold jewelry is given a thin plating of rhodium, which helps protect white gold and prevent it from becoming scratched. Some people report that after a time, the plating can wear thin and have to be reapplied.
Does white gold tarnish?
In general it does not, because (as you know), gold is highly tarnish resistant. Even though white gold can be an alloy of gold that contains silver (which tarnishes), the high percentage of gold prevents tarnish.
Is there such a thing as white gold scrap?
Yes there is, but it is rare because jewelry and watch manufacturers use relatively small quantities of it to produce their beautiful products. If any white gold powder or filings are produced during the manufacturing of those items, they are almost always captured and reused at once.
Is white gold used in printed circuit boards and other electronic devices?
Almost never. It is made for aesthetic reasons and there would be no reason to use it for electronics.
Where am I likely to find white gold?
In watch cases, rings, and other items of jewelry.
How can I tell if something I own is made of white gold?
Call Specialty Metals Smelters and Refiners at 800-426-2344. We can test your items promptly and tell you exactly what you have. We often pay postage for items that are sent to us for testing. When you speak with us, be sure to ask.