White gold it an increasingly popular choice these days. Many women opt for this colour because while it maintains the age-old tradition of having a gold engagement ring, the colour of metal has a more contemporary look to it than yellow gold. The purest form of gold is 24kt, though, so why opt for 18kt? Surely, the purer the better for the lady in your life? In fact, 24kt gold is simply too soft to be used for jewellery. It would scratch, tarnish and dent in a very short space of time. Gold is, therefore, usually combined with a few other metals to give it the strength and resistance to cope with everyday life.
In the case of 18kt white gold, the ring will be composed of 75% gold and 25% of other metals. It is the metals that are alloyed with the gold that give it its distinctive silver-white colouring. Alloys that are typically used include copper, zinc and nickel, or in some instances, palladium and silver. It is worth noting, however, that it’s not uncommon for people to have an allergic reaction to nickel, so it is important to point this out to your jeweller when choosing a ring if this is true in your case.
Whichever alloys are used, the final shank is then coated in a process called plating with rhodium. Although rhodium is a metal that is related to platinum, it is even tougher than that and tends to cost around four times more. Its value is reflected in the fact that it resists scratches and tarnishing, keeping your ring looking newer for longer. Also, it gives the white gold an additional reflective appearance, which will set off your diamond beautifully.
It’s worth bearing in mind that the rhodium plating will wear off over time. However, it is not a big job for your jeweller to re-plate it for you, giving it that good as new appearance.
18kt White Gold Ring (left) vs Platinum Ring after one year wear