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White gold


I love the look of white metal. I work mostly in silver and
sometimes 18 Karat gold. Eventually, I would like to start
working in Platinum.

In the meantime, I was thinking about working in white gold. I
have asked around and no one I know personally has ever worked in
white gold. Are the characteristics the same as yellow gold? Is
the cost similiar? How come you do not really see alot of white
gold on the market?

Any info would be appreciated.


White gold is wretched stuff to work with. That is probably the
reason you see so little of it. Stick to Sterling or Platinum
whichever price dictates and you will be much happier.

Susan have you ever worked with 18k paladium white gold? I
have just started working with it over the last 4 months. It
has a much darker color (one that I personally like-much
warmer). It has been a blast to work with. moves easily such as
bezels, or forging and mills out like butter.

If you are going to work in white gold for anything other than
(spring type gold) used for clasps enhancer bails …, etc. I
would strongly suggest palladium white gold. It is a little more
expensive than 14k yellow but cast and finishes like a dream and
stone setting is much, much easier. Robert Grey Kaylor

DeDe, Working in white gold is virtually the same as working in
yellow, same techniques, tools, etc. The cost is virtually the
same also. Actually there is a lot more white gold and platinum
commercially available in the past couple of years as promotion
and hype has created a greater demand for white precious metal


    In the meantime, I was thinking about working in white
gold.  I have asked around and no one I know personally has
ever worked in white gold.  Are the characteristics the same as
yellow gold?  Is the cost similiar?  How come you do not really
see alot of white gold on the market? 

DeDe, I asked my teacher. He said that white gold gets harder and
thus harder to work with if it is quenched following casting or
annealing because of its nickle content. He said to let it cool
very slowly. FWIW Geo.

Here in our country, Philippines, we mix gold with nickel and
zinc to make white gold. For example: 14k white gold is composed

	58.5% pure gold
	41.5% alloy = 4.5% nickel & .5% zinc

Unfortunately, we cannot produce white gold using same alloy
content as above higher than 14K because these alloys are so
inferior that when you mix 75% pure gold with only 25% of nickel
& zinc the finished color comes out yellow. So if our clients
require a higher purity we use 25% palladium instead which is
definitely more expensive than the cost of silver, nickel & zinc
combined. By the way, can anyone give me an idea how much gold,
silver, platinum, palladium, nickel, zinc, etc., cost per gram.

(o)/ Have Fun!
from: Lissa Barretto

Costs are similar. But white golds are a bit harder to work.
14K white is OK, usually. But some of the 18K white golds are
quite hard and stiff, even when annealed. They can take some
real “elbow grease” sometimes. Working with white golds is
somewhat similar in technique to working yellow golds, but you
have to be more careful with it. It will fire scale quicker,
crack quicker, and otherwise “go south” quicker than does work in
yellow golds. You’ll need to anneal it more often when rolling
or drawing, and be extra sure it’s clean before soldering, then
don’t take forever to get the soldering done. How much you see
on the market is mostly just a fashion trend. It’s not "in"
now. Which suits me just fine. I much prefer platinum, which is
capable of far more in some ways. One exception is those cases
where you need springy hard metal. Iridio platinum is not gonna
do that for you, and the new specialty platinums that can do it
aren’t so easy to work either.

hope this helps.

peter Rowe

DeDe RE I was thinking about working in white gold. I have asked
around and no one I know personally has ever worked in white
gold. Are the characteristics the same as yellow gold? Is the
cost similar? The cost of white cold varies on whether you are
purchasing Nickle white gold or Palladium white gold. Personally
I prefer Palladium white gold however I douse nickle white gold
for sizing rings (mostly because nickle white gold is the
dominant alloy). As to the working properties you will find
that there are differences, but as with gold and silver there are
more similarities than differences. Platinum is also more
similar than different, however the “soldering” alloys flow at
much greater tempatures, and contamination is a greater problem.
As to not seeing much white gold on the market I am seeing more
all of the time. But most of the high end is dominated by
platinum and the low end is dominated by silver. With price
points of high styled silver and low priced platinum within a few
hundred dollars of each other I do not for see a great market for
white gold, however I have been wrong before.


Hi DeDe,

I think there is actually a lot more white gold on the market in
the last year or so.Probably due to the popularity of platinum
-but the lower cost of gold. I use 14k palladium white gold
extensively. I have basically given up on the standard white
gold which uses nickel, zinc and silver because it is so much
stiffer and more brittle than yellow gold or palladium/white
gold. I think the palladium white gold is a little less “white”

  • noticeable if you look at the two white golds together but not
    very noticeable on it’s own. It’s a couple of dollars/dwt more
    expensive than yellow gold. I buy it from Hoover and Strong. The
    melting point is a bit higher than yellow or nickel/white gold
    which can be a help in some instances. I use 14kpalladium hard
    solder ( Hoover only carries it in hard) and use regular 14k
    white med or easy solder if I need something lower. Besides the
    melting point, I find 14k pd. white to be very much the same as
    working with yellow gold.

Hope this helps,

Sumiche Handwrought Jewelry
Creating what you want in gold, platinum and silver

White gold is lovely stuff to work with. Refiners (in Australia)
supply a range of white golds for different purposes. There is a
range of alloys for setting purposes - for die-formed collets and
wire settings as well as plate for bead and pave setting
purposes. This is usually a palladium, platinum, gold mix which
has lovely working properties; very malleable and easily worked.
Johnson Matthey make an alloy of 18ct white gold which works
beautifully and doesn’t tarnish. It used to be called “No.10”.

Another white gold alloy used a lot in Australia is a harder
alloy which uses a small percentage of nickel (shock, horror!). I
have read recently that nickel in gold is a no-no because of
allergic reactions, but to be quite honest, in forty years of
making fine jewellery and using the 18ct alloy of this white
gold, I have never had a client or met anyone who suffered from
the allergy. Perhaps we don’t use as much nickel in our 18ct as
some other countries. This alloy is ideal for shanks, springs in
fittings, tongues in box clasps and wire for brooch pins and

There is an 18ct white gold alloy that the trade casting company
Chemgold use which works and polishes very satisfactorily post
casting. I recently resized one of my heavier castings up six
sizes on the mandrel without any problems at all - no cracking or
surface deterioration (except for my hammer marks). It cleaned up

I have a number of recipes for white gold alloys if you are
interested. However I do not know what Chemgold or Johnson
Matthey or Golden West metallurgists use in their alloys. I tend
to leave that stuff to the experts that they are…

Kind regards, Rex from Oz

Thanks everybody for the white gold input!

I have one more question,- I do not know much about palladium
and several of you mentioned working with palladium white gold
because it is much easier to deal with. Is this kind of white
gold too soft to withstand the test of time like fine silver? Or
is it just as durable as regular gold. Any info would be


Hi Lissa, There’s a company online http://www. they have
regularly updated metals prices for most or all of the metals
you indicated. They probably have charts to convert dwts to grams
and ounces to grams etc.

To convert dwt to grams.........dwt x 1.5552 = grams
grams to dwt..........  grams x .643 = dwts.
1 troy ounce = 31.103 grams or 20 dwt


Sumiche Handwrought Jewelry
Creating what you want in gold, platinum and silver

Jim and Robert, 18k paladium white gold. No, I don’t think I’ve
tried that. My experience with white is mostly on rings and
jewelry that I was repairing, mostly 14k but 18k too. Of course
the second you heat the ring the slightest bit the previous
soldered joints spring open and pop apart. And it was a pain to
work with because it got dirty so fast. Pave in 14k white gold
is not fun either. This of course totally turned me off to using
white gold. I did get the customers who HAD to have it so I would
use 18k and I use tiny bits as accents in my work but I really am
predjudiced against it at this point and avoid it like the

In 40 years of making fine jewellery and using the 18k alloy of
this white gold (with nickel) I have never had a client or met
anyone who suffered from this allergy.

Let me tell you about my beautiful wedding ring. White gold.
Unusual. Shortly after we were married my ring finger
started to itch, then the skin under the ring peeled off and
turned raw. My mother attributed it to the cleaning compounds
and dish soaps involved in setting up a new household, and
advised rubber gloves. To no avail; the condition grew worse.
Removal of the ring gave instant relief, but nobody could
believe that a GOLD ring could irritate (After all, gold is
supposed to be inert). One of the shining lights in the family
(a dyed-in-the-wool Freudian) even advanced the proposition
that I didn’t really want to be married, and hence ‘created’ a
reaction to the wedding band. I finally switched to yellow
gold, and the rash disappeared. It wasn’t till years later that
I learned I had a nickel allergy and only after I started
working with precious metals did I learn about the nickel
content of some white gold. So the ring mystery was finally


Your teacher had it backwards. Slow cooling of nickel white
golds allows them to age harden. They NEED to be quenched for
maximum softness. But they are tricky, as quenching from too hot
a temp will crack these metals, which are “hot short” (meaning
that at elevated temperatures they are not ductile or malleable
to a degree needed for forming or distortion without breaking or
cracking). So you need to quench them after annealing, but only
after they have cooled to about 900 F or so, which is after red
glow had disappeared. And it’s best not to get them much hotter
than this barely glowing temp when annealing. Even with waiting
for the metal to thus cool slightly, sometimes they can develop
cracks from the rapid heat shock, especially heavier items, or
items with rapid thin to thick transitions. So to be safe,
quench them in alcohol, not water, which chills them quickly
enough to avoid age hardening, but not so quickly as water. This
isn’t a hard and fast rule though. Often I get away with a
water quench just fine. The alcohol is just less risky. An
alcohol quench is also, just by the way, a better medium for
quenching red/rose golds after annealing. They too must be
quenched just after the red glow disappears, and must not be
allowed to slow cool. Some rose golds, especially 18K mostly
copper/gold alloys, can get very cracky and brittle if allowed to
slow cool.

Hope this helps.

Peter Rowe

Susan, Try Palladium White gold and you might not go back to
yellow. Hoover& Strongs 14k Palladium white gold is great to
cast and a dream to set stones into. By the way how are you
doing? Robert Grey Kaylor

Hey Susan, Give that 18 kt palladium white a try it works just
like butter. Great for pave and other setting, doesn’t oxidize
either. Don’t use it for springs and such, use nickel white when
you want white with memory. good luck etienne

Susan - my lecturer told me only to use paladium white gold. We
have always received paladium white gold (18k) from the supplier,
without ever specifically asking for it. We DO ask for handwork
18k (not casting), I don’t know if that has something to do with
the paladium alloy.

The first time I made a white gold ring - 18k (the customer HAD
to have it) I fell in love with the metal. Except for melting the
metal (higher than 18k y), it is very malleable, not too hard and
solders like a dream. it was one of the rings that I had the
least problems with (7 narrow rings, including 18k yellow wire
over a sleeve). I also love the greyish colour of the metal.,
especially before polishing.


Dear Peter, Hope I get this right and in order for you… Can’t
believe all the knowledge you have…Wonderful… and thanks your
folder I keep of all the tips and etc you put on the net is
getting larger and larger… I make a white gold of 1/2 pure gold
(9999) and 1/2 fine silver… It is a nice metal to work with.
But a few times I did see cracks starting on the edges and had
to be very careful not to let them run rampant. I realize from
your last posting that I quenched it in water as no one told me
different all these years…(Yes I will change that to alcohol
and wait for the red to go away) Is the crystaline structure the
spidery web marks on the silver??I usually have to roll it out
carefully and sometimes reheat the surface and even some times
just start over and remelt. But I do like the metal to work with
Again thanks for all the you put out …you are most
giving of your talents… I still have your picture and that
is nice to know who I am talking to … calgang