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While gold typically conjures images of the classic yellow hue, an equally fascinating and less conspicuous variation exists: white gold. Originally conceived as an imitation of naturally white platinum, white gold is an alloy composed of 75% gold and 25% nickel and zinc. Like its yellow counterpart, white gold’s purity is measured in karats.

However, what renders this metal intriguing and equally authentic is its inherent distinction. Find out the fundamental difference between white and yellow gold and the unique attributes each possesses. In this guide, we will cover:

  • The History of gold
  • How gold is made
  • Different karats and what they mean
  • Key differences between white and yellow gold
  • Pros and cons of white and yellow gold
  • Selling your gold
  • FAQs on white gold vs yellow gold


The History of gold 

The Incas eloquently named gold ‘tears of the sun.’ It initially appeared as shimmering nuggets in streams worldwide. Though its origins perplex scientists, many credit the ancient Egyptians, around 2450 B.C., for the first discovery. An Egyptian alchemist Zosimos is often associated with finding gold in Nubia during a mining endeavour.

Throughout history, gold swiftly became a sought-after commodity across the globe. People discovered that blending pure gold with other metals made it stronger and durable.

While yellow gold held its dominance, the 19th century witnessed the invention of white gold. However, it wasn’t until the 1920s that white gold gained widespread popularity as a platinum alternative, driven by the demand for platinum in military machinery during wartime.


How Gold is made?

Gold’s origin is rooted in the vast cosmos, specifically the process of supernova nucleosynthesis, which occurs when a star undergoes a cataclysmic implosion. This phenomenon is responsible for creating numerous elements, including gold, platinum, and uranium, by harnessing the colossal energy unleashed during a supernova’s explosive death.

In a supernova, temperatures soar to 100 million Kelvin, fostering the ideal conditions for heavy elements like gold to form. These elements disperse into space, becoming integral components of new stars and planets.

Gold can also be found on Earth, primarily formed through hydrothermal processes, where hot fluids deposit minerals in rocks. These fluids often carry gold, which crystallises within rock fissures. Additionally, placer deposits form when gold erodes from its source and is transported by water, eventually settling in riverbeds.


Different karats and what they mean

In jewellery making, purity, not colour, determines the quality of gold, and we measure gold’s purity in karat.

Higher karat signifies greater gold purity, typically leading to higher prices. While lower karat values indicate less purity resulting in more budget-friendly jewellery. Gold karats are categorised as follows:

Karat ValueGold PurityFeature
24 karat99.7%Soft
18 karat75%More Durable
14 karat58.3%Increased Durability
9 karat37.5%%Cost-Effective

24 karat: This represents the highest purity at 99.7% gold. However, it’s exceptionally soft and impractical for everyday jewellery. This is typically seen in yellow gold.

18 karat:  18 karat piece contains 75% gold and 25% other metals, making it more durable. Both white and yellow gold can be 18 karats due to alloy additions, with 18 karat white gold having a slightly less pristine appearance.

14 karat: 14 karat gold contains 58.3% gold and offers increased durability due to a higher alloy content. It’s available in both white and yellow variants.

9 karat: The lowest gold value legally considered gold in the UK, 9 karat gold is 37.5% gold. Although it lacks the lustre of higher karat gold, 9k gold is mixed with other metals making it more durable and resistant to wear and tear. It can be more economical and cost-effective due to the smaller amount of actual gold present. .

In summary, both white and yellow gold provide reasonably priced choices for precious metal jewellery. They offer greater value compared to sterling silver but remain notably more affordable than titanium or platinum alternatives.


Key differences between white and yellow gold

One of the primary distinctions between white and yellow gold lies in their appearance. Yellow gold has a warm, sunlit radiance, while white gold exudes a striking resemblance to platinum.

Yellow gold blends with metals like copper to achieve its hue, while white gold incorporates white metals like nickel.

Regarding their care and longevity, white and yellow gold exhibit differences. White gold frequently features a rhodium plating, which may wear off over time and necessitate re-application. In contrast, yellow gold requires no such plating or re-plating.

Nevertheless, both yellow and white gold possess distinct pros and cons that should be taken into account when making your purchase decisions.


Pros and cons of white and yellow gold

White Gold
  • Affordable
  • Modern Style
  • Durable
  • Complements the white colour of diamonds and coloured gemstones.
  • Suitable for Fair/ Rosy skin tones
  • Requires occasional rhodium re-plating to maintain its white lustre.
  • Contains nickel, which may cause allergic reactions in some individuals.
  • Needs alternative alloys for hypoallergenic options.
Yellow Gold 
  • Vintage charm
  • Pure and allergy friendly
  • Jeweller-friendly
  • Warm aesthetic
  • Suitable for dark/olive skin tones
  • Prone to dents and scratches
  • Can tarnish or corrode in specific conditions.

The kind of gold you should buy depends on your preference, lifestyle (for instance consider allergies you may have) and budget.

When gold content is identical, yellow and white gold jewellery share subtle differences. While shopping, explore various options within your budget. Both metals are timeless, offering enduring elegance.


Selling your gold

In 2023, a UK jewellery survey found that over 25% of people store their jewellery, untouched, in drawers or boxes. If you’re one of them, why not consider selling your unused gold jewellery?

The most favourable way to sell gold involves professionals who understand the market. Conveniently, you can do this from home.

Cash4Gold-Now offers an online gold jewellery-buying service, combining simplicity and security when selling your gold jewellery.

Request a free gold selling pack online, delivered to your door.

Securely pack your gold and send them via insured Royal Mail Special Delivery.

Our expert valuers meticulously assess your assets for an accurate and competitive valuation, all recorded for your peace of mind.

If you accept our offer, your cash will be transferred within 24 hours, or you can opt to have your gold returned for free.

Check our Trustpilot reviews for proof of our customer satisfaction throughout the gold-selling process.

Experience a hassle-free way to sell your gold from home. Reach out to Cash4Gold-Now to discover the true worth of your gold jewellery.


FAQs on white gold vs yellow gold

Which is better white gold or yellow gold?
Both white gold and yellow gold are high quality metals for your jewellery. But differ significantly in strength. White gold is more resistant to dents, scratches, and damage than yellow gold due to its higher content of alloys.

However it often contains nickel, which may cause allergic reactions in some individuals. Yellow gold, features the purest gold colour, is hypoallergenic and easy to maintain. Yellow gold is also more jeweller friendly due to it being easily manipulated.


Does white gold have better resale value than yellow gold?
Generally No. Most of the time, you’ll find that yellow gold and white gold with the same amount of pure gold cost about the same. However, if there’s a difference, white gold can become slightly pricier because of the rhodium plating it often has. Find out more about how to sell white gold with Cash4Gold-Now.


Which colour of gold is worth more?
The colour of the gold does not impact its value. What affects the most is the karat rating of the gold. 24 karat gold has 99.7% purity and would be the most expensive regardless of its colour whereas the lowest gold value legally considered gold in the UK, 9K gold has 37.5% . To know the exact worth of your gold contact us and order your free gold selling pack.

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