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White Gold vs Yellow Gold: What's the Difference?

When you think of gold, the yellowish color is probably the first thing that comes to mind. Traditionally, gold has cemented itself as a staple in jewelry, but it is no longer the only option out there.

Yellow gold's stiffest competitor, white gold, is an equally stunning variety that is used in many modern jewellery. They both have their own advantages, but there are some key differences that may make one more suitable for your needs than the other.

So what exactly is the difference between white gold and yellow gold? Is one better than the other?

Chemical differences

Time to break out your science goggles because we're giving you a little chemistry lesson so you can better understand the difference between these two metals.

Gold is an element in the periodic table, and it is a metal. It is known to be durable and a good conductor of electricity , making it ideal for covering electrical copper components.

When you buy a piece of jewelry, you will notice that it is marked as 14k, 18k, 24k, etc. These refer to the karats of the gold piece.

A 24k gold piece of jewelery is as pure as it gets, which means that 100% of the metal alloy consists of gold. Whereas 18k gold means that it is 75% gold, which means that the rest was mixed with another metal.

This is exactly what white gold is too. White gold is a mixture of pure gold with another metal alloy, usually a combination of nickel and zinc. If a piece of white gold jewelry is marked as 18k, it means that it is 75% real gold and 25% nickel and zinc.


14mm North Cuban - 18k Necklace

This is the main difference between yellow gold and white gold, but it also corresponds to a clearly visible difference.

As their names suggest, yellow gold takes on a yellowish color, while white gold takes on a platinum-like finish .


While traditional gold is considered a durable material, it is still prone to dents and scratches. Although regular polishing and retouching can restore the appearance of yellow gold jewelry, it can still be quite easily dented and scratched if you are not careful.
White gold is actually more durable than traditional yellow gold due to the mixture with other metal alloys. It is still susceptible to damage, but it may be able to withstand more extreme conditions compared to regular gold.
That said, scratches on white gold jewelry can be more easily visible than scratches on yellow gold jewelry. The best practice is to take care of all your jewelry by cleaning it regularly and keeping it out of harm's way whenever possible.


It's no secret that gold is an expensive metal. In fact, from March 2022, just one gram of gold costs almost NOK 600. So if you're on a budget, which one is the best option?

The purer the gold, the more expensive it is likely to be. For example, if you get a 24k gold chain, it will definitely cost you more than a 14k gold chain, which contains only 58% actual gold.

With that in mind, white gold tends to be a bit more affordable, as only about 75% of the alloy is pure gold. This can allow you to get some high quality pieces like Cuban chains at a more affordable price if you choose this option over the traditional one.

However, you can still get the look of yellow gold at a more affordable price if you opt for gold plating instead of solid gold. Gold plating usually involves adding a layer of gold over the top of a base metal, such as nickel or stainless steel. This can achieve the exact same look and is a less expensive option.


Choosing between white or yellow gold is a very personal preference, with that said each has its own purpose and can have different effects on the end result of your outfit.


Ambient - 18k Necklace

Since pure gold used to be worn by ancient kings and queens, this variety tends to have more of a traditional essence that harkens back to an earlier era.

Wearing a gold chain can give the impression that you are a classic hip-hop icon, which will only help to enhance your appearance and create status around yourself.

On the other hand, white gold has more of a modern touch that exudes modernity and professionalism. It's a great option if you need some pieces to wear with your business attire at work. Nevertheless, a white gold chain will also prove useful as an attention-grabber in all social settings.

We suggest that you have at least one of each at your disposal. This is important so that you can have a piece that can work for any given situation.

Other gold varieties

While white gold and yellow gold are the two most common colors that you're likely to see people wearing around their necks, wrists or on their ears, they're not the only ones. In fact, you can theoretically turn gold into a variety of different colors by simply changing the type of metal you combine it with.


20mm North Cuban - Rose Gold 18K Necklace

One of the more prominent variants besides white gold is rose gold , which takes on a unique pink hue. This is achieved by combining gold with copper and silver alloys. Like white gold, most high-quality rose gold options are 18 carat gold, meaning 75% of the final piece is made of solid, pure gold. And although it is unusual, you can also find pieces that take on a green tint. Mixing some silver alloys with gold is what ends up giving it this unique color. Rose gold is a bold move, but when worn right, it can take your outfit from boring to fresh.

Compare - Don't despair

Take a look at white or yellow gold, it's pretty clear that there is a difference between the two. But when you dig below the surface, there are many more differences that are important to understand before choosing one over the other.

First, white gold tends to be slightly more durable than yellow gold. However, yellow gold is extremely valuable, owning a 24k gold piece is not something many people manage.

Not to mention, white gold and yellow gold both serve different purposes when worn, so you want to make sure you're wearing yellow gold and white in the right proportions.

With all that said, you can't go wrong with any piece of jewelry as long as the quality is high. For a diverse selection of affordable and high-quality luxury jewelry, ICE FROM NORTH is the supplier you've been looking for.


Gold - Element information, properties and uses | Royal Society of Chemistry

What is white gold? | USGS

Gold Price per Ounce | GoldPrice


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