What is White Gold?

What is White Gold?

What is White Gold?

Lots of people wonder what white gold is. Is it a natural element? Is it really gold? How is it the silver colour? Well white gold is not a naturally occurring element, it is a man-made material which is a combination of yellow gold and white precious metals; such as silver or palladium. This gives the gold a white colour and to make finished jewellery pieces have a more silver look they can be coated in metal called rhodium. This can give jewellery a brilliant shine.

If you’d prefer to find out about sterling silver you can click here to read my previous post called “What is sterling silver?”

Why was White Gold created?

White gold as a material was created towards the end of the 19th Century when the gold was combined with copper, zinc and nickel. The nickel in the alloy was replaced in recent years with platinum and silver. This was because of reported allergic reactions to the materials when the jewellery was worn next to the skin. It was made available to people in 1912 and grew quickly in popularity. It was seen as a more affordable alternative to Platinum during the 1920s.

Why does white gold turn yellow?

The white gold base material, a mixture of yellow gold and white alloys, is coated in rhodium and over time the rhodium plating can wear or be scratched, especially with wedding rings, revealing the base metal. Even though the white gold is a silver colour it can still have a slight yellow tone, it can be noticeable, especially if you are used to the silver colour of the material. The only way to remove the yellow tone is to re-rhodium plate jewellery which will renew the white colour and shine.

Was this helpful to you?

I hope this post ‘what is white gold’ was helpful and if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask. Did this give you the information you needed? Is white gold something you would consider for your jewellery or wedding rings? I have a selection of handmade wedding ring designs in white gold that you may be interested in. For more information on the sugar ring click here and here for the daisy wedding ring. Or click directly on the images.

If you have any questions about white gold jewellery or white gold wedding rings please leave a comment below as I’d be interested to hear from you. Alternatively, you may be interested in a bespoke commission? If so can contact me here. Many thanks, Elizabeth.

What is Sterling Silver?

What is Sterling Silver?

What is Sterling Silver?

Customers and students who attend my jewellery classes often ask me what is sterling silver so I thought I’d tell you a little bit more about it. Sterling silver is an alloy, which is a chemically combined mix of two different metals. The two different metals contained in sterling silver are silver and copper. Sterling silver is made up of 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper. This is why the hallmark for silver is 925 (see photo). By the way, I only use sterling silver and gold to make my jewellery designs

925 hallmark what is sterling silver

The reason why sterling silver is used in jewellery making (and not pure silver) is because the addition of copper makes sterling silver stronger, therefore more durable. This is advantageous for making jewellery as sterling silver is harder than pure silver so it will stay in shape, get less easily scratched and last longer when worn.

Silver ring - what is sterling silver

Why do some people say they are allergic to silver?

Some people say they are allergic to silver but this is possibly because they have worn jewellery that is made from nickel silver or silver containing some nickel. Nickel can cause allergic reactions in some people. This is generally in the form of a dermatological skin reaction. The content of nickel silver is 60% copper, 20% nickel and 20% zinc. Nickel silver is used by some manufacturers of cheap jewellery and then plated with sterling silver. 

Another reason people may say they are allergic to silver is if they use detergent or chemical products that get between their jewellery and their skin. If these chemicals are not washed off jewellery properly it can cause irritation on the skin. Some people may think that they have an allergy to the metal rather than the chemicals that have been in contact with there skin for some time.

The good news is that the Nickel Directive (1994) and REACH Regulation (2006) both restrict the use of nickel in jewellery in the European Union. Supplies of sterling silver for jewellery making in the UK (from reputable suppliers at least) do not contain any nickel at all. Adding to this, all the sterling silver I purchase for my jewellery designs are from the largest UK supplier of precious metal bullion. I am pretty confident that their sterling silver does not contain any nickel.

Sterling silver Earrings - what is sterling silver

I hope this post about ‘what is sterling silver’ was useful. Did it give you the information you needed? Do you have any experience of allergies from silver jewellery? Where did that jewellery come from I wonder? Please leave a comment below as I’d be interested to hear from you. Many thanks.