You are going to go shopping for a chain, and you like the idea of white gold. What should you look for? We will break it down for you here.
White Gold Is Real Gold
The gold is made in the usual way, by mixing pure 24k gold with other metals to harden it. The result is a gold alloy. The metals used in the white gold alloy are usually nickel, manganese or palladium, resulting in a whitish cast. In order to turn the metal completely white, a rhodium layer of rhodium is added to the jewelry. This coating will wear out over time, so you’ll have to have it re-plated then.
What Karat Value Should You Choose?
Pure gold is 24k, and as you may know, isn’t suitable for jewelry due to its softness. So the gold has to be mixed, or alloyed with other, harder metals. The amount of pure gold in the alloy is what your karat value refers to. A 14k white gold chain would contain approximately 14 out of 24 parts pure gold, so over 58% of it is real gold. You can evaluate the different karat values by sight and relatively pleasing appearance, but since the rhodium covering disguises the gold color, the different karat values may not matter.
The price you pay for a 10k piece will be less than for a 14k one, but you might not be able to tell much difference, so why pay more? If the difference is important to you, and you like the additional softness, by all means spend the extra money for the 14k, or even 18k or 20k. It’s up to you.
Should the Gold Chain Be Hollow or Solid?
Most people prefer solid chains since they feel better when wearing them and are less subject to breakage. The hollow ones are considerably cheaper, so if price is the main consideration, you may want to choose one. Just be aware that you need to exercise more care with it.
How Thick Should the Chain Be?
A couple of considerations here: a thin chain can twist or break easily. A thicker chain is more durable, so if you are buying this piece of jewelry for the long term, it’s better to pay the extra money to get a sturdy one, especially if you are planning to add weight to it with a pendant.
Links and Clasps
Some types of links are easier to wear than others. Here are a few to avoid, or evaluate closely to determine their value to you: herringbone, snake and omega chains. These will twist easily and are not easy to repair.
Better choices include rope, mariner, box, Figaro and anchor chains. Ask the jeweler to show and explain each of the chain types.
The clasp is important, too. Lobster clasps have become popular in recent years due to their design and relative strength. Beware of cheap clasps, as you may lose your jewelry if they break.
Now you are better informed, as you shop for your white gold chain. Choose carefully, and we hope it gives you much pleasure for many years to come.