Yellow gold and white gold wedding bands can be equally beautiful but have a few key differences. Knowing and understanding these can make your purchasing decision easier. While yellow and white gold are extremely popular, choosing one over the other can be challenging. Therefore, we’ll look at what to consider when choosing diamond bands at Jeweler’s Touch.
White Gold vs. Yellow Gold
Pure gold is relatively soft. Therefore, it’s not suited for everyday jewelry. Metal alloys are added to increase strength and durability. The types of alloys used determine whether a band is white gold or yellow gold. Here’s a closer look at the properties of each material:
- White Gold: White gold is strengthened by blending it with palladium, nickel, or silver. It’s plated with rhodium to create a shiny, silvery tone. Rhodium protects the jewelry from scratches and is generally hypoallergenic.
- Yellow Gold: Most people associate gold with a yellowish color, but yellow gold is not pure gold. A soft, creamy yellow color is created by adding metals such as copper, silver, zinc, nickel, or palladium. These create the sought-after classic golden hue.
Only 24-karat (K) gold is pure. However, 22K gold contains 8% alloyed metals, 18K gold contains 25% alloys, and 14K gold contains 42% alloys.
Key Considerations When Choosing Yellow or White Gold Wedding Bands
Strength and Durability
Yellow gold is the less durable option. It is more prone to scratches and dents and must be polished regularly or it can become dull. More resistant to wear and tear, white gold wedding bands are further protected by rhodium plating. But they still need to be maintained as worn plating can reveal the less appealing pale yellow material underneath.
The purity of the metal determines the cost of gold jewelry. Color has little impact on upfront costs. Containing at least 99.7% pure gold, 24K gold is the most expensive but is also too soft for everyday jewelry. An 18K piece (75% pure gold) is the second most expensive, followed by 14K (58.3% pure gold) and 10K (41.7% pure gold). However, rhodium plating can add to the cost of a white gold wedding band.
Generally, a jewelry piece’s design determines its weight. Nonetheless, white gold often has more alloy metals, making it heavier. Most people barely notice the difference. The choice of white over yellow gold, or vice versa, ultimately depends on the wearer’s preferences.
White gold must be re-dipped in rhodium every few years. While this makes it look like new, such maintenance comes at a cost. However, yellow gold also requires professional care; since it’s more prone to scratching, it may need to be polished and buffed. Nonetheless, yellow gold’s softness makes it easier to resize. Cleaning any wedding band can be accomplished with warm water, mild soap, and a soft cloth.
White gold may have nickel as an alloy metal, which can irritate sensitive skin. Nickel is often used to attain a pale white color more quickly. If rhodium plating is used, your jewelry will be hypoallergenic (palladium also suits those prone to metal allergies). Therefore, it helps to know what metals a ring has.
Matching with Skin Tone
Yellow gold generally complements yellow, olive, medium-dark, and other warm skin tones. You can achieve a radiant glow with a yellow-gold wedding band. White gold complements cool skin tones and can help make paler skin with pink and red undertones look more vibrant. Regardless, many people prefer white gold’s sleeker and more contemporary look.
Pairing a White or Yellow Gold Wedding Band with Your Engagement Ring
Being sleek and modern, white gold pairs well with delicate wedding rings. It looks especially great with pear-shaped, oval, or emerald-cut diamonds. Meanwhile, yellow gold is more traditional and is a timeless choice. It can go well with lower-color-grade diamonds and fancy-colored stones such as blue or green diamonds. Either metal pairs well with the elongated shape of a baguette diamond, which is suited for all types of engagement rings.