Differences Among Karat Values of White Gold Jewelry
in Jewelry Blog

Differences Among Karat Values of White Gold Jewelry

There are a few points to consider when shopping for white gold chains and jewelry. You have decided you like white gold, but that is only one decision you must make. Now you must decide which karat value you require, as well as a few other considerations.

What Is the Composition of White Gold?

Gold must be in the mix, of course; otherwise we wouldn’t get to call it gold. But as you are probably aware, gold is such a soft metal that it must be mixed with other metals to produce a durable piece of jewelry. So, most often, gold is mixed with silver, palladium and sometimes nickel, to achieve more durability.

In the case of white gold, in order to produce the whitish gold color and provide additional shine, a coating of rhodium is attached to the finished piece.

Which Karat Value Should You Buy?

Since 24-karat gold is the pure stuff and it needs to be alloyed with other metals for durability, your decision will no doubt be based on the frequency and type of use your new jewelry will have. The lower the karat number, the stronger the metal will be.

The most common karat values are 10K, 14K and 18K. The numbers represent the amount of pure gold in the piece. For example, 14-karat means gold content is actually 14 out of 24 parts (24 divided by 14 = 58.34 percent gold). So the higher the karat number, the more gold your jewelry contains.

When considering which to buy, you need to know yourself a little. Will you be wearing this every day, once in a while, with varying frequency? The reason you need to take your activity into consideration is that the lower karat pieces will have more durability, generally speaking.

Hardness and Price Generally Go Together

When considering a jewelry purchase, many people focus on finding the best bargain, or lowest price. That may be your goal, but you will need to consider the use of the article, as well as the beauty you expect from fine jewelry.

Hardness is built into the piece by the alloyed metals mixed with the gold. The lower the karat value, therefore, the harder and more durable the jewelry tends to be. It stands to reason that the more gold you have in your ring, for example, the easier it is to scratch or otherwise damage it.

So it comes down to values. Do you value the greater luster and beauty of the higher karat piece, or are you more practical and look for longer-lasting pieces? Or do you just want to lowest price? It’s still a question you should put to your jeweler, because the purchase is meant to be a long-term one, so every aspect should be considered before reaching a decision.

Are You Allergic to Nickel?

One important fact to consider. If you have allergies, especially contact allergies, i.e. poison ivy, contact dermatitis, etc, you need to be aware that some jewelry has a small amount of nickel in the alloy, and it can cause a rash for sensitive folks. The jeweler should be able to tell you whether or not a specific piece of jewelry contains nickel.

If you don’t know whether you are allergic to nickel or not, if you in general an allergic person, it’s better to stay away from the nickel alloys, even though you may have to pay more.

What Makes White Gold Different from Yellow Gold

White gold is covered, or plated, with a coating of rhodium, causing the white color. The rhodium has the added benefit of making the material harder and also shielding the skin from the harsher metals in the alloy. White gold tends to last longer because of the protective coating.

The Choice is Yours

Now that you have informed yourself about the facts, you will be able to ask better questions and make a better choice when it comes to your white gold purchase.