Difference between White Gold and Yellow Gold

Updated on February 23, 2018

White and yellow gold are popular choices all over the world when it comes to jewelry of all types and women as well as men prefer buying gold more as compared to any other metal or stone. Gold is a naturally existing element and can be found in mines in various locations around the world. Gold has an amazing legacy with unique qualities which make it the most chosen metal for investment as well as making jewelry.

Gold is available in many other colors apart from its typical yellow color in which it is mined but these colors are obtained artificially by processing the yellow gold with other agents. It is important to know the properties of both white gold as well as yellow gold in order to decide which works best in jewelry,  and therefore which should be purchased, apart from considerations of personal preference.


white gold
White gold jewelry

White gold is an alloy of gold and is obtained by using one white metal, usually nickel, manganese or palladium. The properties of white gold depend on the metals and their proportions used in converting it from yellow gold. It is also plated with rhodium to help it keep its shine and protect it from wear and tear.

Yellow gold jewelry
Yellow gold jewelry

Yellow gold is the most popular alloy of gold. Gold in its purest form is very soft and can be very difficult to work with and so alloys are added which not only enhance the color of the yellow gold but also make it hard enough to be made into jewelry.

Yellow gold is the classic form of gold which has been used by people for more than 6000 years. It contains several qualities which make it exceptionally valuable.

White Gold vs Yellow Gold

People all over the world use white and yellow gold to make jewelry and these two are the most commonly used metals to make ornaments. Even though they are both forms of gold, there is a big difference in their color as well as their look and feel.

The basic difference between yellow and white gold is that of their color. Yellow gold is the metal’s purest form which is only mixed with other metals to give it structure and shape, but white gold is obtained after alloying yellow gold with nickel, manganese or palladium, which bleaches the yellow color and gives it the white hue.

Along with this, yellow gold is more durable and lasting than white gold because it is not coated. On the other hand, in addition to alloys, white gold is coated with a thin layer of rhodium to keep it shiny, and this can wear off with time and hence it is not so durable.

Another difference is that white gold made with nickel can prove to be an allergen, while yellow gold usually doesn’t cause allergy.

White and yellow gold also differ in prices; white gold jewelry is more costly as it is polished by rhodium, an expensive material to give it more shine and beauty.

Comparison Chart

White GoldYellow Gold
It can fade with passage of time as it has other elements mixed in to give it a white colorIt does not fade because gold is naturally yellow in color
It has more nickel which gives it the white shadeIt contains more zinc
It needs regular polishing or re-plating to retain its shine and it is more vulnerable to scratches and dentsIt is solid and durable and does not need regular polishing or re-plating
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