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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.
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. While white gold is still suitable for everyday wear, it is softer than platinum, so it can scratch more easily. 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."
What to Look for in a White Gold Diamond Engagement Ring
• Are there any allergy concerns with white gold diamond rings? White gold is often alloyed with nickel. So, if you’re allergic to nickel, stay away from white gold.
• What’s the difference between white gold and platinum? 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.
• How durable is white gold? 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.
• How does the cost of white gold compare to platinum? 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. “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.
Think white gold is the ring metal for you? See 21 of our favorite white gold diamond rings to inspire you.
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.
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.
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.
Mejuri Diamonds Crown Band
Feast your eyes on this beautiful diamond crown band featuring just the right amount of sparkle. The 14k white gold band can be stacked with another ring of your choosing for a dash of whimsy.