What is white gold? Does it relate to yellow gold at all? How much is it worth? If you are looking for answers to those questions, in short: white gold is not a pure metal, it’s yellow gold that’s been bleached and fortified with other metals to create expensive looking, affordable gold jewelry you can wear daily without worrying it will scratch or dent. Like karats in yellow gold, the 10K, 14K, 18K engravings on your white gold jewelry indicate the purity of the metal. The purest, most valuable white gold is 18K which contains 75% pure gold. This article explains how to estimate white gold jewelry prices and why white gold is a favorite match for diamonds.

In This Article

What Is White Gold?

White gold is a chemical invention. It results from mixing soft and easily malleable 96.9% pure gold with tough white metals such as precious silver and platinum family metals, or inexpensive copper. The fusion gives white gold a luxurious platinum like color, long-term durability, high density, resistance to corrosion, malleability, and hypoallergenic properties that simultaneously make white gold jewelry more convenient to wear daily and more affordable than platinum or 22K and 24K gold.

The most common white gold alloys used in the jewelry industry are gold-palladium-silver and gold-nickel-copper-zinc. Palladium and nickel serve as primary bleaching agents for yellow gold, while zinc serves as the secondary bleaching agent for copper. Nickel causes allergic skin reactions to most people, so many brands exclude it from their white gold formulas even though it is the cheapest way to alloy white gold.

How Much Is White Gold Worth and How to Estimate It’s Value

The purity of white gold (measured in karats, or percentage of pure gold in the mixed metal) multiplied by the weight (measured in grams or troy ounces, which are heavier than regular ounces) — determines how much pure gold is in your white gold jewelry. How much is your white gold jewelry worth in the market will depend on how many grams of pure gold is in the jewelry, the current price of gold, the presence and price of silver or platinum in the alloy, manufacturing costs, and brand recognition. Here is how you can estimate the value of your white gold jewelry:

  • Check the karat stamp. Calculate the percentage of pure 24K gold in 10K, 14K, 18K white gold by dividing the number of karats by 24. For example, if your jewelry is 10K it contains 41.6% pure gold. That’s 10 divided by 24 which equals 41.7%. To save you some math: 14K white gold jewelry contains 58.3% pure gold, and 18K white gold jewelry contains 75% pure gold.
  • Weigh your jewelry in grams. If your 10K white gold jewelry weighs 50 grams, it contains 20.8 grams of pure gold. That is, multiply the percent of pure gold (in this example, 41.6%) by the grams (in this example, 50).
  • Estimate how much your white gold jewelry is worth in U.S. dollars based on the current market price of pure gold. Find gold prices per ounce, gram, or kilogram in real time. Once you know the price per gram, simply multiply the price by the number of grams of gold in your jewelry. If you happen to know the current pure gold price per Troy ounce you can convert it — there are 31.1 grams in one Troy ounce. For instance, if the current price of pure gold per Troy ounce is $1,580 the price per gram is $50.80. ($1,580 divided by 31.1 equals $50.80.)

Think of this estimate based on the amount of gold as your base price. Other factors like the presence of silver or platinum, depending upon which alloy your white gold has, or other features of the jewelry, like precious stones, can raise the value further.

Finally, you can check sites like Google or eBay to get an idea what similar jewelry pieces sell for. You can also contact a local jeweler to get an appraisal of your specific piece. Try the American Gem Society’s directory of local jewelry stores to find contact information.

Why Diamond Popularity Increases Demand for White Gold Jewelry

There is no right or wrong in choosing a diamond setting based on preference for white gold, skin tone, personal style, current fashion trends, or affordability. But some diamond experts argue in favor of white gold and recommend you spend more of your budget on the diamond. They claim that the reason white gold remains popular is our everlasting love for diamonds.  

Many jewelers confirm that platinum and white gold are the two most popular white diamond setting choices. Both provide the ideal setting for a diamond ring because they accentuate the brilliance of white diamonds, making them appear to shine brighter. Comparatively, yellow gold does not compliment white diamonds and may even do the opposite.

White gold and platinum settings look identical to the naked eye. What sets the two apart is price and attributes. Despite being similar to gold in terms of price per gram, platinum is up to 44% more expensive than white gold because it weighs 60% more than 14k gold so more platinum is required to make the same ring. If a white gold ring with a diamond costs $3,000, its identical twin in platinum would likely cost $4,000 or more. You can visit these jewelry stores that buy jewelry to see how much your jewelry is worth.

How White Gold Compares to Yellow Gold, Rose Gold, Silver, Platinum, and Palladium

All metals have pros and cons you should consider before a purchase. If you love white gold, for instance, beware that while 18K white gold is the purest, most valuable white gold, 14K white gold is less expensive, stronger, and more scratch resistant. If you are not sure what you want, check the listings below to see how white gold compares to palladium, platinum, rose gold, and yellow gold.

Palladium

  • Pros:
    • Jewelry composites are 95% pure
    • Looks like platinum
    • Highly hypoallergenic
    • More affordable than platinum
    • Bright, won’t tarnish, unlike white gold does not need rhodium coating
    • Strong but malleable, can be used in very fine, intricate jewelry
  • Cons:
    • Lighter, less dense than platinum

Platinum

  • Pros:
    • Very valuable, more rare than gold
    • Jewelry composites are 95% to 98% pure platinum
    • Very hypoallergenic
    • Heavier and denser than white gold
    • Holds gems more securely than any other metal
    • Malleable, jewelry can be delicate yet strong
    • Maintains its luster
  • Cons:
    • Up to 44% more expensive than white gold
    • Requires high level of skill to work platinum into jewelry
    • Easier to scratch than 18K or 14K gold

Rose Gold

  • Pros:
    • Strongest gold alloy
    • Most affordable 18K gold alloy (it’s a 25% copper, 18K gold mix)
    • Complements all skin tones
  • Cons: 
    • Can cause allergic skin reactions
    • Not widely available

Sterling Silver

  • Pros:
    • 96% pure sterling silver is brighter than platinum
    • Less expensive than white gold and platinum
    • Hypoallergenic
    • Durable and malleable
  • Cons:
    • Most sterling silver is 92.5% pure
    • Needs regular polishing

White Gold

  • Pros:
    • Considerably less expensive than platinum
    • Looks like platinum to the naked eye
    • Does not tarnish like silver
    • More durable and scratch-resistant than platinum and silver
  • Cons:
    • Needs a rhodium coating to stay bright
    • If alloyed with nickel it may cause skin allergies

Yellow Gold

  • Pros:
    • The most hypoallergenic of all gold alloys
    • Easiest for jewelers to manipulate
    • Lightweight, perfect for earrings and children
    • The easiest gold alloy to maintain
    • Complements lower grade diamonds
  • Cons:
    • 22K to 24K yellow gold is very expensive
    • Pure gold is extremely soft, making it prone to scratches and dents
    • Only less pure 10K and 14K yellow gold are durable and affordable

In Summary

The value of white gold is more or less the same as the value of alloyed yellow gold. To estimate the value of your white gold you need to know the karat purity and the weight of your jewelry in addition to the current gold price. Durability, density, malleability, and hypoallergenic or nickel-free attributes also affect the market value of your white gold jewelry. Whatever its value, white gold never goes out of style and is easy to resell.