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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, and 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 thanks to a very thin layer of rhodium. In fact, when gold is mixed with another white metal "the resulting color is still a dull grey 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.
White Gold vs. Platinum and Yellow Gold
White gold is often seen as a budget-friendly alternative to platinum, but there’s a reason platinum is pricier. Per Kanary, 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,” she adds.
Since white gold and yellow gold are both gold, there aren't many differences between the two. The biggest difference, however, is that yellow gold is purer than white gold since white gold is gold mixed with other metals. Kanary says, “Pure natural gold is yellow in color, so the higher in purity you go, the more yellow it will be.” But while yellow gold may be purer, it’s also naturally softer, meaning white gold is the more durable option.
Pros of White Gold 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,” explains Kanary. 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." White gold is a less expensive alternative to platinum, and it tends to be shinier and less dull, making the metal a valuable yet cost-effective option.
Cons of White Gold Engagement Rings
And while white gold is more durable than yellow gold, it fails in comparison to a metal like platinum. While white gold is still suitable for everyday wear, it is softer than platinum, so it can scratch more easily. This also means white gold requires a bit more care than other metals. “White gold will require occasional buffing and polishing, as well as periodic replating to ensure it maintains its silvery-white sparkle year-round,” Kanary says. She also adds, "The purest form of gold is yellow in color, which means that you can only achieve a white color by diluting the purity. If you are interested in a higher degree of fineness, white gold may not be your best option."
White gold is often alloyed with nickel. So, if you’re allergic to nickel, stay away from white gold.
Think white gold is the ring metal for you? See 17 of our favorite white gold diamond rings to inspire you.
Gemist The Oval Solitaire Pavé
A classic shape, this white gold band features a half pavé of diamonds for added sparkle. The oval solitaire diamond in the center keeps it simple but beautiful.
SHOP NOW: Gemist, $14,912
Etincelle de Cartier Ring
For something more delicate and slightly more understated, this Cartier ring features an emerald-cut center stone. 22 brilliant diamonds line the white gold band.
SHOP NOW: Cartier, $3,350
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.
SHOP NOW: Catbird, $4,700
Shahla Karimi Pear Pavé V Ring
This uniquely shaped ring has a vintage vibe to it thanks to the pear-shaped diamond. There are brilliant-cut diamonds along the entire band, and the V-cut makes this really interesting.
SHOP NOW: Shahla Karimi, $3,190
Anna Sheffield Bea East/West Solitaire Ring
Set in luxury Deco decorum, this solitaire diamond almost looks like two diamonds when looking from a certain angle. It’s simple but stunning and features a plain white gold band to put all the focus on the center stone.
SHOP NOW: Anna Sheffield, $12,765
Gemist Glint of Light
For something basic but beautiful, try this ring. A thin white gold band looks perfect with a round solitaire diamond for subtle sparkle.
SHOP NOW: Gemist, $363
L Priori Kiley Ring
The gray diamond in this vintage masterpiece makes this ring one of a kind. The half halo makes it even more special, and white gold complements the look.
SHOP HOW: L Priori, $2,625
Sylvie Fae Ring
Most halos are pretty obvious, but this Sylvie ring features a hidden halo that gives the center stone a nice boost without looking overwhelming. The halo also features small diamonds.
SHOP NOW: Sylvie Jewelry, starting at $1,005
Simply Tacori Ring
A marquise diamond looks elegant and almost has an antique vibe, and looks lovely with the white gold band. This ring is also customizable so it offers a lot of versatility.
SHOP NOW: Tacori, $2,4900
Anna Sheffield Eleanore Delicate Pave Ring
An impressive and sparkling halo surrounds the emerald-cut center diamond for a ring that will definitely stand out. The white gold band features pavé diamonds halfway around.
SHOP NOW: Anna Sheffield, $11,750
Natalie Marie Diamond Cluster Ring
A cluster ring is a fun take on the classic engagement ring that looks both fresh and trendy. The way the center diamond and accent diamonds are shaped on this white gold band looks like flowers.
SHOP NOW: Natalie Marie Jewelry, $2,051
Tacori Petite Crescent
A princess cut center diamond is surrounded by smaller brilliant diamonds in an expansive halo. The white gold band features even more sparkle.
SHOP NOW: Tacori, $4,690
Mystique 14k White Gold Round Halo Engagement Ring
The halo on this ring lifts the center diamond up, making it look larger and more pronounced. With a double layer of pavé diamonds halfway around a thicker white gold band, this one is a bit different than others.
SHOP NOW: Mystique Jewelers, $3,144.87
Henri Daussi Pear Halo Pavé Engagement Ring
A pear diamond manages to look both modern and vintage at the same time. This one features a glittering halo and an 18K white gold band studded with more pavé diamonds.
SHOP NOW: J.R. Dunn, $29,500
Anna Sheffield Hazeline Three Stone Ring
Mixing metals is fun and a unique way to make your ring stand out. This Anna Sheffield ring does it subtly with a white gold band and rose gold setting.
SHOP NOW: Anna Sheffield, $13,225
Verragio Insignia Round Diamond Halo Engagement Ring
This ring has tons of sparkle thanks to a round center diamond, two side diamonds, and a white gold band featuring even more diamonds.
SHOP NOW: J.R. Dunn, $5,300
Verragio Couture Three Stone Vintage Engagement Ring
This two-tone engagement ring gives you the best of both worlds: a vintage style white gold band with a rose gold inlay band.
SHOP NOW: J.R. Dunn, $5,800