What’s the Difference Between White Gold and Yellow Gold?

Buying an engagement ring can be an incredibly stressful undertaking. The different options available on the market can make the process seem overwhelming. When it comes to metal choices, gold is one of the most popular ring materials. However, learning about the differences between white gold and yellow gold will make it easier for you to narrow down your options.

Here is what to know if you are to make a well-informed decision:

Chemical Composition

White and yellow gold share a lot of similarities. However, because pure gold is soft and pliable, both white and yellow gold are often mixed with other metals to make them strong. Yellow gold is obtained by mixing pure gold and alloys of copper and zinc, while white gold is a mixture of pure gold and white metals like palladium, nickel, and silver. In case you are concerned about the percentage of pure gold, you should focus more on the karat number.


Just as the name suggests, yellow gold is yellowish in color. The metal has a vintage and classic color appearance and complements lower colored diamonds quite well. On the other hand, white gold has a yellowish hue and an appearance similar to platinum. The color provides good matching with gemstones and diamonds of different colors. Rhodium plating on white gold makes the metal look completely white.

Durability and Maintenance

The durability of these metals will depend on the blend of alloys used to create them. Generally, white gold is stronger and more durable than yellow gold because it consists of harder alloyed metals. Hard rhodium coating provides an added layer of protection against wear and tear. Yellow gold is more susceptible to scratches and dents because it is not rhodium plated. As such, the metal may require rebuffing to restore its shine.

The rhodium on white gold needs to be recoated from time to time, and ring servicing or resizing involves an additional plating step, which comes with extra costs. Yellow gold is easy to repair and requires less maintenance.

Additional Factors to Consider

For people who are hypoallergenic to nickel, white gold made with nickel may cause skin irritation. The good news is that you can choose jewelry made from nickel-free alloy if you have sensitive skin. Due to its components, white gold tends to fade over time.

The cool, sophisticated glimmer associated with white gold makes it perfect for complementing all skin tones. This metal works particularly well with fair and rosy skin tones. Yellow gold would be more suitable for people with olive or darker skin tones.

White Gold vs. Yellow Gold: Which Is Better?

The decision over whether to choose white gold or yellow gold comes down to personal preference. Some of the factors you should consider before deciding are your skin tone, the current fashion trends, whether you have sensitive skin, and if you have an active lifestyle. In the end, both types of metal are excellent in their own respects.

For more information about our offerings, or if you’re looking to buy or sell gold, reach out to the team at Michael’s Jewelers today!

Book an Appointment today!