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When looking for the perfect engagement ring, there are a few big decisions to make, namely what kind of center stone you like the most and what kind of metal you want the band to be. White gold diamond engagement rings are a really popular option, for good reason: White gold is beautiful to look at, it’s very versatile, and it’s pretty easy to take care of.
What Is White Gold?
White gold is an alloy of gold and at least one other white metal, like palladium, nickel, zinc, copper, or silver.
As jewelry expert Kim Kanary explains, white gold gets its signature silvery white hue from a very thin layer of rhodium. In fact, when gold is mixed with another white metal "the resulting color is still a dull gray to brownish-yellow," making a rhodium plating necessary to achieve a white luster.
Meet the Expert
Kim Kanary is the vice president of community development and engagement at JTV, one of the largest jewelry retailers in the United States.
Keep reading to learn more about white gold engagement rings, including what to look for when shopping for one and how to care for it.
Pros and Cons of White Gold Diamond Engagement Rings
One of the biggest advantages of a white gold ring is that the band is a neutral, silvery shade that won’t affect the center stone at all.
“Gemstones will reflect the color of the metal in which they are set, meaning that colorless gemstones (like diamonds) can appear to have a tint of color if the surrounding metal contains color,” Kanary says. This can happen with certain yellow gold settings but not white gold. “Your gemstone will reflect the silvery-white metal, which will not result in any noticeable color differences in your stone." Also, white gold tends to be shinier and less dull, making the metal a valuable yet cost-effective option.
While white gold is more durable than yellow gold, it doesn’t quite measure up to a metal like platinum. Platinum is more durable, so it’s more resistant to everyday wear and tear and provides more security for center stone settings than white gold does. “It’s also denser than gold, so if all other qualities are equal, a platinum ring will be heavier than a white gold ring,” adds Kanary.
Yellow gold is purer than white gold since white gold is gold mixed with other metals. "Pure natural gold is yellow in color, so the higher in purity you go, the more yellow it will be," Kanary says. But while yellow gold may be purer, it’s also naturally softer, meaning white gold is the more durable option. "If you are interested in a higher degree of fineness, white gold may not be your best option."
Also, white gold is often alloyed with nickel, so if you're allergic to nickel, stay away from white gold.
What to Look for in a White Gold Diamond Engagement Ring
• What type of diamond cut pairs well with a white gold ring? Virtually every diamond cut will look great with a white gold band.
• Should I select 14-karat or 18-karat white gold? While 18-karat is a purer gold, 14-karat is recommended, as it's more durable and scratch-resistant.
• How much do white gold rings cost? Prices can vary, but generally white gold is a less expensive alternative to platinum.
How to Care for Your White Gold Diamond Engagement Ring
White gold requires a bit more care than other metals. “[It] will require occasional buffing and polishing as well as periodic replating to ensure it maintains its silvery-white sparkle year-round,” Kanary says. It is softer than platinum, so it can scratch more easily, though it is still suitable for everyday wear. To store your white gold ring, wrap your ring in a soft cloth or piece of velvet.
Think white gold is the ring metal for you? See 20 of our favorite white gold diamond rings below.
Catbird Violette The Swan
This white gold ring is made with lab-grown diamonds for brilliant sparkle. The three stones are meant to represent life’s past, present, and future, and the arrangement looks almost floral.
Simply Tacori Ring
A marquise diamond not only looks lovely with a white gold band, but heirloom-inspired details give it an antique vibe. This ring is also customizable so it offers a lot of versatility.
Anna Sheffield Hazeline Three Stone Ring
Mixing metals is a fun and unique way to make your ring stand out. This Anna Sheffield ring does it subtly with a white gold band and rose gold setting.
VRAI The Signature Bezel
For a signature look, opt for this round brilliant-cut ring featuring a modern aesthetic. Minimal details, including a knife-edge bezel setting, give the 18k white gold band a streamlined finish.