Identifying precious metals can be tough, but it is crucial to know exactly what you are purchasing before pulling out your credit card. White gold is one such precious metal that can be hard to spot without the proper information. Fortunately, tell-tale signs exist that can help you spot this alloy. We’ll show you a couple ways to tell if you have white gold.
But before we start analyzing any metals, we should first understand exactly what white gold is.
What Is White Gold?
White gold is an alloy typically composed of gold and at least one white metal, although there can sometimes be more. These white metals can include palladium, zinc, nickel, and rhodium. Copper is sometimes added as well to make the white gold less brittle and easier to shape. However, a very small quantity of copper is used – as adding too much can cause gold to take on a pinkish hue (aka “rose gold”).
Now that we understand what white gold is, let’s pretend you’ve found an interesting white colored ring at the mall. Here’s how you can tell it’s white gold instead of a white metal like silver.
Know Your Metal Characteristics
An easy way to distinguish white gold from other metals is to understand their characteristics. Below are a few metals you can set apart from gold from a close visual analysis.
To the average eye, it can be easy to mistake platinum for white gold. Although both these metals are white, platinum appears brighter. Your jewelry may also be made from white gold if you see any scrapes on its surface. This is because white gold is more likely to exhibit signs of wear than platinum.
Aluminum is not visually like precious metals. It is soft and more likely to show signs of wear. Its softness means it would be easy to bend if used to make a ring. This is why you probably won’t find any rings made out of aluminum.
Stainless steel is not a precious metal, but it is used frequently in jewelry. This is due to its scratch-resistance and durability. Like platinum, you will find it is harder than white gold.
If you’ve picked up a ring and found it is heavily oxidized (meaning the ring has a dull, matte, whitish coating), it is probably made of silver. This is because white gold does not tarnish. Although silver is still good to have, make sure you are buying it at the correct value. If you buy silver thinking it is white gold, you’re in for a disappointment when it comes time to sell as it is less valuable than gold.
Testing for White Gold
If all else fails, it is still possible to use a testing kit to see if you have white gold. At-home options exist, but you can always use a precious metals refiner to test your item for you. Remember to do your due diligence when buying precious metal jewelry to ensure you make a satisfactory purchase.