Choosing the metal that is best for you often comes down to your personal preference and lifestyle. In this article, we go over the look and overall maintenance required for the most popular metal choices in fine jewelry.
White gold is a mixture of yellow gold and other alloys to create a whitish-yellow color. We carry 14K and 18K white gold, which are made up of 58.5% and 75% pure gold. Because gold does not naturally come white, we mix gold with nickel or palladium alloy to create the whitish-yellow color of white gold. For white gold to get the lustrous white color, our fine jewelry is finished with rhodium plating. Rhodium is part of the platinum family and is the most scratch-resistant precious metal used in fine jewelry. The plating gives white gold a bright chrome finish and is typically re-done every six months to a year to keep your engagement ring looking fresh.
In gold's purest form, 24 karat, the metal is too soft to be worn as jewelry for every day. Because of this, yellow gold is mixed with zinc and copper to increase durability and strength. Yellow gold can come in a variety of different karats but is typically available in 14K or 18K for fine jewelry. 14K and 18K yellow gold are the sweet spots for durability and the amount of pure gold.
When comparing pure gold and pure platinum, gold is actually the more expensive metal. However pure 24K gold is hardly used in fine jewelry, whereas you will commonly be able to find platinum jewelry that is anywhere from 85-95% pure. Platinum is the only pure white metal used in fine jewelry and is also hypoallergenic.
|Weight / Composition||Hardness / Resistance to Scratching||Color||Allergenic||Maintenance||Pricing|
|Platinum||75 - 80% heavier than 14k gold
95% platinum, 5% iridium
|Scratches easier than 14k and 18k gold||Maintains it's white color forever. The color is darker, more gray, than rhodium-plated white gold.||Hypoallergenic||Long term maintenance includes repolishing typically every 6 months to 2 years depending on wear and body chemistry.||$$$|
|18k White Gold||15 - 20% heavier than 14k gold
75% gold, 25% additional metals: zinc, copper, silver, nickel (white gold)
|Softer than 14k gold but harder than platinum||Will eventually tinge to its natural light yellow (requiring rhodium plating)||17% of women and 3% of men are allergic to the nickel content found in the white gold alloys||Long term maintenance includes repolishing and replating (rhodium finish) typically every 6 months to 2 years depending on wear and body chemistry||$$|
|14k White Gold||58% gold, 42% additional metals: zinc, copper, silver, nickel (white gold)||14k gold is the hardest and will maintain its high polish the longest||Will eventually tinge to a very light yellow (requiring rhodium plating)||17% of women and 3% of men are allergic to the nickel content found in the white gold alloys||Long term maintenance includes repolishing and replating (rhodium finish) typically every 6 months to 2 years depending on wear and body chemistry||$|
|Vickers Hardness of Precious Metals|
|Rhodium (plating)||800 HV|
|14K White Gold||230 HV|
|18K White Gold||210 HV|
|14K Yellow Gold||155 HV|
|14K Rose Gold||150 HV|
|18K Yellow Gold||140 HV|
|18K Rose Gold||140 HV|
|24K Gold||75 HV|
|Sterling Silver||75 HV|