White gold is pure gold that has been alloyed with nickel and/or palladium and other metals to achieve a "whiteness" of the metal. White gold is a gray metal with a very subtle warm hue when alloyed with nickel and a slightly darker, cooler gray hue when alloyed with palladium. The use of white gold is popular in contemporary jewelry and is sometimes used in lieu of platinum when hue is not an issue, but cost is.
Most commercial white gold jewelry is plated with rhodium, a platinum group metal with a bright white color. White gold is warmer in tone than the rhodium, so as it wears the rhodium scratches off, showing the darker color underneath. Upon request, we can rhodium plate if you seek the bright white color in your engagement ring.
White gold became popular in the 1920s, promoted as a more affordable alternative to platinum. During World War II, the use of platinum and nickel were prohibited outside the military. Palladium white gold alloys then became standard, but after the war, the cheaper alloys containing nickel prevailed.
Nickel free White Gold
At Krikawa, we use a nickel-free white gold alloy. So those with nickel allergies need not worry when wearing our jewelry! We use 14 karat palladium white gold
You may also choose a 14k gray gold. This alloy has a higher palladium content than our standard palladium white gold. The resulting color is a medium gray color with a warm tone. High palladium white gold is too soft for engagement rings. However, it provides a nice contrast with other metal colors, and therefore is used in mokume gane and flush inlay designs.