Battle of the Rings: White Gold vs. Yellow Gold
It’s funny how people form such strong opinions about relatively small things; like Coke vs. Pepsi, Sweet n’ Low vs. Splenda and Macs vs. PCs, but it doesn’t stop there. There is another silent “battle” going on within the world of fine jewelry – it is white gold vs. yellow gold, and the war rages on. Surprisingly, men are more likely to choose a side in this argument than women, who tend to be “equal opportunity jewelry buyers. “ Men may not talk about jewelry styles and metals very often, but when they get engaged it’s amazing how quickly that changes. Suddenly they are arguing the benefits of white gold vs. yellow gold or trying to convince their bride-to-be that their wedding bands don’t really have to match.
In order to truly understand the differences between the metals, and what inspires such passion for each of them; it helps to know what makes each of these metals unique. In the battle over white gold vs. yellow gold, most people are responding to the color that looks best against their skin tone instead of the inherent “properties” of each metal, but often it is the unique qualities of each metal that play a role in which one is favored.
It is also important to understand that white gold does not occur naturally. In other words, you will never stumble upon a white gold mine. White gold is created by combining yellow gold with white metals such as nickel, manganese or palladium. However, this doesn’t mean that white gold is any less pure than yellow gold. Both metals are alloyed with other metals because gold is too soft in its purest form. Yellow gold and white gold rings each contain a certain percentage of pure gold that is measured in karats.
In the battle of white gold vs. yellow gold, one will often hear jewelers extol the benefits of yellow over white because they say white gold can cause skin allergies. The main culprit for skin irritation with white gold rings is nickel, but it is possible to buy white gold jewelry that is nickel-free. Another downside to white gold is the fact that it needs to be re-plated with rhodium from time to time. In order to maintain its brilliance and shine without yellowing, white gold is coated with a rhodium film that can wear off over time. It’s simple and inexpensive to have your white gold wedding band re-plated at a jeweler, but it is an extra step that is not necessary with yellow gold.
Yellow gold lovers appreciate the way this metal captures the light and how unique it is from all the contemporary white metals now available. For example, yellow gold will never be mistaken for silver, stainless steel, cobalt, palladium or titanium. It can only look like gold. When paired with diamonds, yellow gold perfectly complements the brilliance of the stones.
Men with traditional taste tend to prefer yellow gold wedding bands, and the same applies to women. However, women who wear a lot of silver-toned jewelry are often concerned with whether a gold ring will clash with rings, bracelets and watches that are made from white metals. Ultimately, the choice of white gold vs. yellow gold comes down to a matter of personal taste.