How Is White Gold Made Facts Which Will Make You Fall In Love | Kidadl


How Is White Gold Made Facts Which Will Make You Fall In Love

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White gold is an alloy of gold that was not used much until the '20s.

It was made by two alchemists, Johan Frierich Bottger and Ehrenfried Walther Von Tcshirnhaus in Germany in 1710. It is said that this metal became popular during wartime.

Many countries started hoarding platinum for military purposes. This pure metal was costing the countries a lot. They desperately needed an alternative. This led to the making of white gold. It was initially used widely however due to several misconceptions and skin allergies the popularity eventually dies down. Millennials seem to have developed a liking towards the white gold metal. So it is once again becoming popular. Water resistant white gold watches and rings are the most popular. It is easier to make intricate designs in your wedding or engagement ring when it is made of white gold. Other colors of gold like rose gold and green gold are also used widely. Several alternatives have made them skin friendly as well. The purest gold is called 24 karat gold. You do not have a 24 karat white gold or rose gold. This is because the second metals used in the formation of rose gold and white gold alloys cannot be mixed with 24 karat gold without bringing down the purity. White gold is used in jewelry as an easily affordable substitute for platinum. The shiny silver white color mainly comes from a metal called rhodium. This is a precious metal just like gold or platinum. Continue reading to find out more about this metal and do check out our other articles on how is rose gold made and how is white chocolate made.

What is white gold?

Based on the color of gold they are categorized as yellow gold, white gold, and rose gold. Gold as such is a very soft metal. It has to be mixed with other metals to attain the rigid form.

White gold is an alloy of gold made by a combination of two metals. Generally white gold consists of 75 percent of yellow gold and 25 percent of white metals like nickel, silver, zinc, or palladium. These metals give the gold a silvery white color. These alloys are hard and durable. Yellow gold is the only purely occurring gold. The rest are man made. The white gold price is the same as the yellow gold price. There isn’t much difference in the value or quality. When people in the market use the word white gold there are referring to a bunch of neutral colors like pale yellow, tinted brown, and even pale shades of rose. All of this is made into the perfect white color during the coating process. Moreover, it is best and easier to do intricate designing on white gold as it is more malleable than platinum. It is also affordable. This is because larger amounts of platinum are needed to make platinum jewelry. Platinum jewelry has 95-98 percent platinum composition and the white gold composition in jewelry is generally 75-80 percent. More platinum implies more cost. While white gold is mixed with other metals and is affordable.

Jewelry made out of white gold looks very similar to silver and platinum jewelry. Is white gold better than yellow gold? There is not much difference between either as both of them are gold mixed with metals. The white gold is durable as it is combined with stronger metals like zinc and silver while the yellow gold, is comparatively not as hard as the white one since it is combined with copper which is relatively weaker than zinc or silver. However one of the things to consider is that it needs constant polishing. White gold is an alternative when it comes to wedding rings, engagement rings, and other gold jewelry. Platinum and white gold look very similar.

The general misconception is white gold is not gold. White gold is the same as yellow gold. The difference lies in the additional metal used to make them hard. Sometimes copper can also be added to increase flexibility. Gold in itself is often mixed with mercury and is not completely pure before mixing it with other elements. The nickel in white gold jewelry can cause minor skin reactions like rashes when used over a long time. If your skin is extra sensitive you might want to think twice before purchasing it.

How is white gold made?

The naturally occurring gold comes from the fallen stars. The natural gold, which is mined, goes through purifying process to remove the impurities. Unlike gold, in jewelry, the naturally occurring gold is much softer and hence easily mixed with impurities. They are extracted from the earth's surface by amalgamation or syndication. There are many methods used to purify gold but the most common and widely used methods are the Miller process and the Wohlwill process. In the miller's process, the gold is heated at a temperature of 879 degrees Celsius. Once it reaches its melting point (which can vary ) gaseous chlorine is introduced to separate the impurities. This gas solidifies the other impurities. The liquid is easily separated from them. The gold obtained after this is 98 percent pure. It is further put through a method of electrolytic purification, to remove platinum and palladium making it 99.95 percent pure. The miller's process is much easier and can be done quickly compared to all other methods.

In the Wohlwill’s process, strong acids like Hydrochloric acid and nitric acid are introduced. These acids due to their strength dissolve the impurities. When the gold is poured into an electrolyte solution made of hydrochloric acid and gold chloride it separates and is accumulated near the cathode on the passage of current. The impurities are left behind. The gold obtained by this process is 99.99 percent pure. Though this process produces the purest concentration of gold it is still very costly.

This gold is yellow in color and known as yellow gold. The yellow gold is then mixed with 25 percent of white metals like nickel, silver, zinc, or palladium. This is how white gold is made. Regardless of the color of the jewelry (yellow, white, or rose) all of them need to be mixed with other metals to attain a rigid form. The alloys can vary depending on the desired color. Sometimes the gold made by the mixture depending on the metals does not always turn white. This is corrected during the rhodium plating process. The white gold alloy is plated with rhodium. Rhodium is a white metal that adds more hardness and makes the jewelry durable. It also gives the gold an extra shine. This coating lasts for a year or so and often needs repolishing. This is one of the reasons why it is not seen as an investment. The resale value of white gold is also lesser than the resale value of gold.

The amount of second metal added has a great effect on the color of the gold. The rose gold alloys have higher amounts of copper. Since the rose gold and yellow gold get their colors based on the copper level the rhodium plating process is skipped when they are made. More than the yellow gold wedding or engagement rings the rose gold and white gold wedding rings and engagement rings have been gaining a lot of popularity in recent times. The price is determined based on the karat and not the gold. However, rose gold is comparatively a bit cheaper than other golds.

Workplace of a jeweler with tools making White gold ring

How is white gold different from yellow gold?

There isn't much difference between the two as white gold is nothing but an alloy of yellow gold. The karat of white gold is comparable with the karat of yellow gold. The difference lies in the second metal of the gold alloy and not the gold itself

Combination of metals: The major difference between white gold and yellow gold is the combination of metals that forms the alloy. Yellow gold is mixed with copper to form an alloy. On the other hand white gold is mixed with white color metals like nickel, silver, or even palladium to form an alloy. Lately, nickel is being avoided in the formation of white gold alloy as it causes a lot of allergic reactions to the skin when the alloy is used in the long run.

Rhodium plating: White gold is put through a process called rhodium plating after it is mixed with the metals. Rhodium is a precious metal that belongs to the same family as platinum. Not all the time white gold is pure silverfish white in color. Sometimes they can be pale yellow. To turn them into the desired white color they are put through this process. This plating lasts for a year or two and will need recoating based on how often you wear it.

Strength: white gold is stronger than yellow gold. The first reason being the second metal in the alloy. Silver, nickel, and palladium are stronger than copper. The second reason is the plating. Rhodium adds extra strength and extreme durability to the previously strong alloy.

Color: the other obvious difference is their colors. The white gold alloys are silvery white while the yellow gold alloys are yellow.

Drawbacks: bnoth the alloys are not free of flaws. The white gold tarnish is something people worry about a lot. Over time the metals rhodium coating wears off ad you can see the yellow surface of the gold on your wedding ring. The coating is not on the pricier side however it is a pain to get it coated every now and then. How often your ring needs to be coated spends on the layers and quality of rhodium.

Contrary to the white metal coating the gold plating removes a layer of the metal. When your engagement ring or any piece of jewelry made of yellow gold is coated or polished the outer layer dissolves and some amount of gold is lost in the process. This might cause a reduction in its weight.

Fun fact: lower grade diamonds like the K grade diamond or L grade diamond that have a yellow or brown hue are often placed in yellow gold jewelry rather than white so that the hue blends well with the jewelry. The fact that your diamonds are of a lower grade becomes less obvious this way. If the diamonds are colorless, it is better to add them to white gold as it adds a sparkle and blends well, bringing out the color of the jewelry.

Difference Between White Gold And Platinum

Platinum and white gold look the same. White gold is often considered an alternative to platinum. The reason being the rhodium which belongs to the same family as platinum. They do have quite a few differences.

Purity: this is one category where white gold falls short. In order to consider jewelry or ring platinum, the ring/jewelry must have 95 percent of platinum in it. That is not the case when it comes to white gold. In a white gold ring, only 75 percent of pure gold or 24 karats gold is present. Platinum is much purer than white gold.

Wear and tear expense: platinum will need polishing frequently. White gold will also need polishing from time to time however not as frequent as platinum. Both of these metals are prone to scratches but platinum beats white gold here. The cost of plating or polishing is also pricier when it comes to platinum. The wear and tear expenses of platinum are higher than that of white gold.

Price: the price of a platinum ring is two to fives times higher than that of a white gold ring. This is because platinum jewelry has 95% of platinum in it. More platinum means more cost. This is why they are very expensive. It is costlier than 18 karat gold.

Durability: when it comes to durability platinum is more durable. The major difference in surface scratches is that the scratched on a platinum ring only moves the platinum from one place to other without losing it. Whereas in a white gold ring when a scratch on the ring occurs a part of the metal is lost. Platinum is also a very hard metal.

Alloys: the difference in alloys is notable. In the case of white gold alloys, the second metals are nickel, zinc, or palladium. In platinum alloys, the second metal is either copper or palladium. Other metals like rhodium, iridium, and titanium are also used.

Skin friendly: in white gold, the nickel component is a potent skin irritant. A platinum wedding ring or any other jewelry is made up of 95 percent platinum making it one of the most hypoallergic and skin friendly alloys.

Weight: platinum is heavy. White gold on the other hand is a lightweight metal.

Color: platinum is a natural silver white metal. White gold alloy is warm gray, it needs rhodium to attain the silver white color.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for how is white gold made then why not take a look at facts about how is quorn made, or how is yeast made?

The Kidadl Team is made up of people from different walks of life, from different families and backgrounds, each with unique experiences and nuggets of wisdom to share with you. From lino cutting to surfing to children’s mental health, their hobbies and interests range far and wide. They are passionate about turning your everyday moments into memories and bringing you inspiring ideas to have fun with your family.

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