White Gold

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What is White Gold?

Gold is a very versatile metal, not only because it can be formed into different kinds of useful and ornamental items with ease, but also because it can be colored into different shades or hues not limited to the yellow coloration that most people are accustomed to seeing. Next to yellow gold, white gold is another popular gold alloy that is used in many accessories including jewelry and other personal accoutrements. The term white gold encompasses many types of precious metals and semi-precious metals employed in the jewelling industry, as any precious metal or alloy thereof that is of a whitish hue can be called white gold. White gold made is not strictly silvery-white either, as its hues range the gamut from very pale yellow, slightly off-white, to very pale rose depending on the metallic composition.

Modern white gold is generally an alloy of gold and another metallic substance of a whitish color such as palladium, nickel, silver, or platinum. A common formulation for the creation of white gold can consist of as much as 90% by weight of gold and 10% by weight of nickel, although other formulations exist. [1] White gold jewelry may also be composed of 90% by weight of gold, 8% by weight of silver, and 2% by weight of copper to strengthen the alloy. Depending on the types of metal used to create the alloy, white gold may come in a variety of different shades, and isn't exactly strictly limited to silvery white. The white coloration is the most desirable feature of white gold however, and any ‘imperfections’ in the alloying is usually amended by plating the white gold in rhodium or palladium to attain the desired aesthetic look.

While white gold is commonly thought of to be a ‘modern’ jewelry scheme, replacing the more traditional yellow gold, the ancients had their own type of white gold made by alloying gold and silver in varying consistencies to achieve a whitish hue which they called electrum. Nowadays, electrum is still made, although in limited numbers, and are usually are made-to-order.

The common alloy of white gold made with gold and nickel is quite popular, especially with the younger generation that finds yellow gold to be too dated an accessory to be fashionable. The gold-nickel composition does however result in a mild contact dermatitis in people who have skin asthma, as well as with individuals with very sensitive skin[2] . Because of this, white gold is usually no longer produced with nickel, with the alternative substance usually being palladium, silver, or a mixture thereof to make it more affordable.

White gold is known as a very hard, often heavy, highly durable metal because of its unique composition which lends it much of its durability and heft. [2] Commonly used in the creation of jewelry, finer examples of white gold which are composed of two noble-metal alloys (eg. gold and platinum, plus a very minute amount of copper) is usually reserved for gemstone settings and more expensive jewelry, while the common white gold alloy can be made into a range of different jewelries that appeal to varying tastes. The most common employment of white gold is in the creation of jewelry targeted at a younger market, usually referred to as bling or bling-bling. Alternately, the precious metal palladium is itself usually referred to as white gold due to its expensive nature, although it is by no means the alloy usually referred to as white gold. Platinum and other white-hued metals have been used alongside gold to create white gold, as well as a host of other white-hued metals made to imitate silver or white gold.

White Gold - References:

[1] http://books.google.com.ph/books?id=j-Xu07p3cKwC&pg=PA168
[2] http://www.springerlink.com/content/f62830wr49150858/fulltext.pdf?MUD=MP

Content researched and created by Alexander Leonhart for coinandbullionpages.com © coinandbullionpages.com

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