White Gold Price Explained

Looking For The Price Of White Gold?

18k_white_gold_ring

When high proportions of silver, nickel, or zinc are added to gold, it becomes “white gold”. Higher end goldsmiths prefer to alloy with palladium and platinum, and this increases the value of this particular type of white gold considerably. Making gold of different colors is part of the goldsmith’s art.

The color of gold alloys changes from yellow to white as the proportion of white metal (such as silver, nickel or platinum) increases. When 70% or more silver is added, for example, the alloy will be pure white. The content of gold alloys is expressed in units of 24 called carats or karats. So, a 12-karat gold alloy is only contains 50 percent gold, and 24-karat gold is 100% pure.

The price of White Gold depends on which metals have been used to make it. Gold buyers prefer alloys of high value metals. Platinum is very expensive and, at over $1,600 an ounce (at the time of writing), is almost as expensive as gold. This means that gold made from an alloy of gold and platinum will have virtually the same value as one made from pure gold. If silver or nickel had been used to make the white gold, the value will be much less. Remember this when looking where to buy gold.

The downside is that the platinum-gold alloy of white gold can be expensive to get hold of in the first place. This is because the smelting process is not as straightforward as it is using other metals. Platinum has a much higher melting point than gold. It is usually mixed with irradium to make it tougher and the mixture is more prone to changes of texture. It takes a very skilled hand to make this process work.

Having said that, high-end jewellers find a ready market for white gold that has been alloyed with platinum. It provides a very good setting for diamonds and other stones, and the combination can looking stunning.

One of the problems is that the retail price of buying white gold can be far higher than the price you will be able to sell it for. There are compensations. Platinum is much denser and harder than white gold, which also makes it heavier. This weight difference has a major affect on the final price.

Pure platinum is more expensive (per gram) than traditional white gold made from another allow, and the added density means that the overall weight of an item can be doubled. It follows that the price will also be far higher – possibly even doubled. If white gold ismade from a less expensive mix of gold with copper, zinc and nickel, it needs to be plated with rhodium. This changes the grey to off-white color of the white gold into a more acceptable shade of white, roughly matching platinum.

The plating process creates two problems you should be aware of:

  1. The rhodium is usually only a very thin coating, which often wears off relatively quickly. You will then have to have your item re-plated. If you have to do this several times, it can become expensive.
  2. Quite a few people are allergic to metals like zinc and rhodium. When these are contained in your white gold, you could find it harder to sell on.

White Gold Versus Platinum

In effect, most white gold is trying to look like platinum. That’s what happened during the 1920s and 1930s, when there was a explosion in the use of the gold “substitute”. In those days, the price of platinum was far higher than that of gold. Much of the antique white gold we see today comes from this period. Telling the two apart is not very difficult, especially when you have an example of each in your possession. Platinum, as we have already seen, is always much heavier than a gold-platinum mix. The easiest way to tell the two apart is simply to weigh them.

 Rose, Pink and Red Gold

Other metals are smelted with gold to make interesting colors. Most common of these is an alloy of 50% copper and 50% gold, most commonly called “rose gold”. Rose gold, pink gold and red gold are generally the same thing. What makes the different hues of red is the concentration of copper in the alloy. As more copper is used, so the tint becomes redder.

The most common rose gold alloy is an 18K formula of 25% copper and 75% gold. Red gold is often 50/50 gold and copper (12K gold). Because there was a popularity fad among the Russian aristocracy during the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th centuries, it became referred to as “Russian gold”. It is believed that the fashion in rose and red gold began because ancient smelters could not get the degree of purity they wanted and impurities added a red tinge to all gold at the time. This would explain why several Greek and Roman texts refer to things being as “red as gold”.

 Finding Out The True White Gold Price

To discover what an item of white gold is worth, you need to discover what alloys are included with the gold and what purity the gold is. You can find this out using a gold testing kit, which you can buy online at eBay or Amazon for a few dollars.

Once you know what your white gold consists of you need to do a few simple calculations. Here’s an example: you may have a 12K white gold ring, which would be 50% gold and 50% other metals. The weight of the item x 50% x the spot price of gold, would give you the price of the gold. You follow the same process with the other metals.

One Way Of Turning White Gold Into Cash


Note: you can get the spot price of gold at websites such as those operated by LBMA.