White Gold vs. Yellow Gold: Everything That You Should Know

Choosing an engagement ring is fraught with decisions, but perhaps none is bigger than the question of white gold vs. yellow gold. In this article, we’ll discuss the differences between white gold and yellow gold, the factors you should consider when you are choosing between them, and how to best weigh your final decision.Yellow gold oval Sophia and white gold marquise Sophia engagement rings in a velvet box

Two Kinds of Gold: Different Alloys

First up in operation white gold vs. yellow gold: the technical differences. Both white and yellow gold are made with gold. However, pure gold is not strong enough for most jewelry purposes, so it is mixed with alloy metals to make it stronger. 14k gold contains 58.3% gold, and 18k gold has 75% gold. One of the differences between white gold and yellow gold is the specific alloy metals they are mixed with. The metals combined with yellow gold are intended to keep the gold color intact (like copper), while the metals mixed with white gold are meant to give the final product a lighter, more silvery color (like nickel). It’s important to note, however, that even when gold is alloyed with white metals, the yellow of the gold will be somewhat visible in the ring. That’s why most white gold rings are also plated with a silvery white metal called rhodium.

Practical Considerations


There are a couple of practical considerations to keep in mind when you are weighing white gold vs. yellow gold. The first pertains to maintenance. In order to keep white gold looking bright silvery white, it will need to be rhodium plated by a jeweler every so often. This is the most true of rings that are worn daily since the rhodium plating will wear off more quickly with more frequent contact. Yellow gold, on the other hand, needs only to be cleaned and polished. It requires no plating.


The second practical consideration can be even more important. Some people are allergic to white gold, specifically the nickel in the alloy. These people may have a better experience with yellow gold or platinum, which is the most hypoallergenic precious metal. (For more information on platinum, see our article tackling platinum vs. white gold.)

Diamond Quality

One final practical point regarding white gold vs. yellow gold is the appearance of the diamonds that will be set in the gold. If a diamond has a lower color grade and appears slightly yellow or brown, the color will stand out more in white gold than it would in yellow gold. Yellow gold casts some warmth of its own, which can make slightly yellow diamonds blend in better rather than throwing a sharp contrast against them the way that white gold can. (This is not an issue at Taylor Custom Rings unless you are working with heirloom stones since our diamonds are DEF color.)Hand wearing oval bezel engagement ring and diamond contour wedding band

Personal Considerations

To Follow or Not to Follow (the Trends)

Like so many aspects of jewelry, the answer to the question of white gold vs. yellow gold changes throughout the years. It’s important to know that although their popularity may fluctuate somewhat year-to-year, both white and yellow gold have stood the test of time for many years as popular engagement ring choices. Both colors always come back in style, even when one becomes preferred by more people for a few years. Both are also very popular today. To make sure you are happy with your ring, consider not only current trends but most importantly, your own personal preferences.

What Color of Jewelry Do You Wear?

One way to help you contemplate the question of white gold vs. yellow gold for your engagement ring is to think about the color of jewelry you already wear. Many people feel more drawn to gold, while others will only wear silver. If you already fall into one of these camps, the answer may be easy for you. Other people enjoy wearing different colors of gold with different outfits or enjoy mixing metals for a more nuanced look. At Taylor Custom Rings, we encourage our clients to go with the combination that makes them feel their best.

Consider Your Skin Tone

Just as with different colors of clothing, people often consider their unique skin tone when considering white gold vs. yellow gold for their engagement ring. One of the differences between white gold and yellow gold is how each color flatters various skin tones differently. Trying on rings of each color can be very helpful to see how each option looks on your skin. You may find that you prefer the warmth of yellow gold or the cool silvery tones of white gold once you see it on your hand.

White velvet ring box holding white gold and yellow gold diamond wedding bands

Make Your Choice

In conclusion, the differences between yellow and white gold include variations in composition, maintenance, allergies, and personal style. Both colors of gold generally cost the same. Your decision is ultimately one of personal preference, but hopefully all of this information helps you make an informed decision between white gold vs. yellow gold. Only you can make the best choice for you! If you need more assistance in choosing your precious metal or your engagement ring, don’t hesitate to reach out to our friendly team of experts. We are always glad to help!