Created by combining gold with at least one other white metal, white gold is an alloy that is considered to be both attractive and durable. Its qualities make the substance ideal for a number of uses, especially in the creation of jewelry for both men and women. Here is some background on the creation of various grades, as well as a couple of examples of how it is used.
Just as with gold or silver, karats is the means of accurately measuring or grading a particular gold alloy that will be sold as white gold. The determination of the number of karats has a lot to do with what type of white metal is used in the mix. For example, white gold that contains measured amounts of silver or palladium will classify with a higher amount of carats. The presence in nickel helps to give the material durability but can also lead to a slightly lower designation of karats.
Perhaps the most popular application for white gold is in the use of jewelry items. This jewelry includes such items as earrings, necklaces, ankle bracelets, and rings. More recently, white gold has also been used for nose and belly button rings, as well as in the creation of other interesting pins that are sometimes used as ornamentation with cheek or brow piercing.
The exact properties of white gold will vary, depending on the metals that are included in the mix. When it is composed of a gold and palladium mixture, it will tend to be somewhat more pliable, which is ideal for creating settings for stones. The presence of some nickel adds strength that is desirable for the creation of rings and other jewelry that is expected to wear gracefully over long periods of time. In just about all cases, items that are created with white gold are usually treated with a layer of rhodium, which acts as a sealant. The rhodium also helps to protect the finish from scratching and other forms of wear.