Choosing between white and yellow gold can be a tricky decision, but what is the difference between the two? They are both great options for engagement rings and wedding bands but what makes white gold white and yellow gold yellow? We explore the main differences and pros and cons to help you make your decision.


The first thing we need to do is look at how white and yellow gold are made.  Gold, no matter what colour, is made up of 24 carats (24ct, 24k). In its purest form, gold is 24 carats. Gold in its purest form, however, is not a workable metal for crafting jewellery and would be too fragile to wear. Pure gold is therefore combined with other alloys in order to improve its durability and make it possible for it to withstand everyday wear and tear. It is for this reason in fine jewellery in Ireland we normally use 9ct or 18ct gold. The parts that aren’t gold are made up of metal alloys such as silver and palladium.


Pure gold has a natural yellow colour so the alloys added to it are only to improve its durability. White gold on the other hand typically uses alloys such as palladium to change its colour. When created white gold does not have a natural shine, it is therefore normally rhodium plated. This gives it a sparkling finish.  Personal preference is normally the biggest deciding factor when choosing between white and yellow gold.

Durability & Maintenance

Yellow gold is prone to scratches with everyday use, but the good thing is that polishing the metal can take these scratches out and return it’s original sparkle.

White gold can be slightly more durable but needs more regular maintenance as it is normally rhodium plated. The plating adds luster to the ring but wears off over time. The length of time plating lasts depends on a wide variety of factors. The natural oil on your skin, bumps and knocks, products used during the day such as soaps, hand sanitisers and creams are just some examples of what can impact on how long the plating lasts. One can expect their rhodium plating can last up to 12 months but this can vary from person to person.  Having your white gold rings rhodium plated can be quite expensive, costing up to €60 per ring and taking a week to get back from some shops, so make sure you shop around.

If you live near Trim Jewellers and want your white gold rings rhodium plated, just pop in. We offer this service for just €20 per ring and offer a same-day service when possible.