Pure gold is a rich, yellow color but when combined with certain metal alloys, it blushes a range of colors, from white to red to green. White gold is the product of pure gold combined with a white metal, usually nickel or palladium.
White gold jewelry is ideal for jewelry lovers who prefer the look of white metal but don’t want to sacrifice the properties that drew them to gold in the first place.
Like gold jewelry of any color, white gold jewelry is sold according to its karatage, or the percentage of pure gold it contains. Twenty-four karat gold is pure, but it is also soft and therefore not ideal for jewelry purposes. In addition to changing its color, alloys can make the gold stronger. Therefore, white gold jewelry is sold in 22-, 18-, 14- and 10-karat varieties; the higher the karat quality, the greater proportion of gold it will contain. (In Europe, karat qualities are expressed as percentages: 750 is 18-karat gold, meaning it is 75 percent pure, and 585 is 14-karat gold, meaning it is 58.5 percent pure).
When nickel is the alloy in white gold jewelry, the item is generally hard and strong, and therefore ideal for rings and pins, while gold-palladium alloys are soft, pliable and best suited for white gold gemstone settings.
Palladium and nickel tend to give gold a brown tint that requires a thin layer of rhodium to maintain its white color, which is why virtually all white gold jewelry, including the wide selection of pieces available n Jewelry.com, is plated with rhodium.
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