As gold is a naturally yellow metal the name white gold is a bit of a misnomer and can be very confusing. White gold is not an element in itself and is in fact gold that has been alloyed with white metals to create a whiter colour. This means that it shares all the same characteristics as gold but gives an elegant choice of white jewellery that is more valuable than silver and less expensive and lighter than platinum.
White gold is created by alloying yellow gold with copper and silver, and small amounts of palladium and sometimes zinc, then coating in Rhodium which is a member of the platinum family. The rhodium coating on white gold pieces will wear over time, most noticeably on rings as they are exposed to more contact, leaving the metal looking a milkier yellow white colour. This loss of lustre is easily remedied by having the item re-coated or ‘re-rhodiumed’.
White gold shares the same hallmarks as gold most notable in the UK is 9ct ‘375’ and 18ct ‘750’.