what is the best choice after silver for a white colored precious
metal? I don’t like the idea of having anything plated so haven’t
been considered white gold, but am also looking for something that
costs less than platinum. I recently experimented with some palladium
but it still look dark, sort of grey, to me. what other options are
what is the best choice after silver for a white colored precious
Selected reading on the subject:
Choosing The Right White Gold
By Daniel Ballard
The popularity of white gold has us all looking to the most
perplexing gold we use. Perplexing a variety of ways. Why would we
want to “colorize” gold at all? Design creativity of course, but the
color purists (you know who you are) have their say too. After all
there are two other precious metals that are white. I happen to like
white gold on its own or for contrast. We can not just use platinum
instead. A larger item can be unwieldy in platinum, and silver is a
different look and market anyway…
Understanding the New MJSA/WGC White Gold Color Index
By Daniel Ballard 2004
Have you ever noticed how white gold varies in color? Many folks
think white gold is the same color as rhodium because all the white
gold they ever saw was plated with rhodium. Others who have bought
very inexpensive white gold have seen the “real” color and all too
soon due to a very thin plating job. That can be frustrating…
White Metals and Alloys
Going the White Way - Working with White Gold
With white gold's popularity on the rise, manufacturers need to know all they can about the particulars of working with it -- in all its forms....
Palladium - White’s Next Move
Palladium has created a new market niche among precious white metals -- and raised questions throughout the industry....
White Wedding: The Marriage of Platinum and Sterling
Modern metallurgy brings together the two most beloved white jewelry metals in a new platinum-sterling alloy.
950 Palladium: Emerging White Metal of Choice
New 950 palladium alloys top the growing list of white precious metal solutions for jewelry manufacturing....
Pure platinum is a grey colour rather than white, it becomes whiter
when made into a 950 alloy by the addition of other metals. Another
choice would be palladium silver alloy, cheaper than platinum by a
long way and if you dont need to hallmark it a 250/750 Pd/Ag alloy
will be very bright but give advantages of cost and workability. It
can be bought commercially as it is used for encapsulation of samples
for heat treatment in the scientific world.
Platinum/copper alloys can look good, 500/500 Pt/Cu works well and
you an always etch in nitric acid to locally enrich the surface Pt
content. Again this is an alloy used in catalysts in the science
world so should be available as sheet or bullion.
You could try a white gold alloy which doesn’t require plating, such
as palladium white gold. There are some very good alloys out now
which don’t need to be plated (although some jewellers still do) -
so much so that I’m surprised they’ve not become more popular than
they are, and taken over from those alloys which do require rhodium
plating. It may be a cost thing or just familiarity with favourite
alloys and practices, but when I get round to buying white gold, it
will be palladium white, so that I don’t have to plate.
Again, I extoll the virtues of platinum-silver. Maybe 10x more than
sterling, maybe 10x less than 14kt? I’m not great with numbers, but
that’s what I recall. Works like sterling, doesn’t crumble like
argentium can, and doesn’t tarnish like sterling and isn’t brittle
and yellowish like 14kt white.
ABI in Carson, CA makes it. (If you write or call them, tell them
Marianne said, I want them to make sheet again! )
There is a patent listed by google patents, look at patent number
2129721 from 1934 from the International Nickel Company.
It shows ternary alloys diagrams in an easy to read format. The
ternary alloys are mixtures of silver, palladium, and platinum. By
the addition of modest amounts of platinum to palladium and silver,
the author claims to have equivalent tarnish resistance to several
different karat golds. I am sure there would be those that would
criticize this work (like why not just use Pd?). But, the thing is
we are talking about materials that still have pretty good intrinsic
value, stable whiteness, at a cost very favorable to the
stratospheric levels of some of the other metals.
This is a european 18kt white gold recipe which is 24kt 75gr
copper (cuivre rosette) 10gr make sure you good quality copper
but when I get round to buying white gold, it will be palladium
white, so that I don’t have to plate.
Palladium white has a gray look. Made a ring, remade it thinking I
did something wrong. Had to remake it again in regular white gold
that was rhodium plated. This was for my employee who knew a lot
about jewelry manufacturing from working for me for many years. After
a short time it looked like pewter.
I have used David Fell’s white white alloy for many years on a
recommendation for Andy Cooperman and I love it. Color and
workability is excellent, no plating needed, and over 50 rings and no
allergic reactions so far to the high nickle content. My palladium
alloy had been sitting there unused for about 8 years.
Richard Hart G.G.
My palladium alloy had been sitting there unused for about 8 years.
Thanks, Richard - I dislike everything about palladium…(silver,
too btw -what a chore…)
This is a european 18kt white gold recipe which is 24kt 75gr copper (cuivre rosette) 10gr make sure you good quality copper silver 15gr
last time I checked, an 18K gold alloy with just gold, copper, and
silver, with the copper to silver ratio at 10:15 parts each, doesn’t
make a white gold. More like a lighter yellow, tending slightly
towards the “green” end of the green/to yellow/to red gold range of
colors, but still quite clearly a yellow gold. Needs nickle or
palladium, or a whole lot less copper and more silver to be pale
enough to be close to white… At 18K, even just gold and silver,
with no copper at all, is still an attractive pale yellow color, not
white or even close to it. Way back when I did I whole series of
gold+silver+copper alloys in order to make an etruscan tapered chain
that graduated not only in size, but in color, fading out to a white
color at the ends. In order to get close to a white, by the time I
got to the ends, I’d had to drop the karat considerably below 18K
(though I don’t recall exactly what right now. It’s been 30 years,
after all, though I still have the chain. I’d guess the ends were
close to 10 or 12 karat, I think, with just gold and silver, no
Please DON’T use the 24k, cu and sil recipe supplied by Raffi as a
white gold… It is most definitely Yellow gold!
I dislike everything about palladium.....(silver, too btw -what a chore...)
I’m curious about this. I believe Richard was referring to the
palladium white gold alloy, not the 950 palladium that has become so
prevalent. Which are you referring to? Personally I like the
palladium white gold alloy (but then I had a role in it’s
introduction) much more than nickel white gold. On the other hand,
after working with the 950 palladium for a year, I gave it up as
being too difficult to get the quality level I want out of the
metal. I’m with you on the silver too, btw.
Daniel R. Spirer, G.G.
Daniel R. Spirer Jewelers, LLC
referring to the palladium white gold alloy, not the 950 palladium that has become so prevalent.
I have tried the 950 palladium alloy and have found that to be a very
disappointing grey colour. I’m holding out more hope of whiteness for
palladium white gold though, but haven’t tried it personally yet.
I believe Richard was referring to the palladium white gold alloy, not the 950 palladium that has become so prevalent. Which are you referring to?
Well, Danie, first off you’ll notice I said “dislike” - a pretty
mild term. Palladium white gold is not so bad, sometimes - sometimes
it’s just fine. Depends where it came from. What I most dislike
about palladium is actually two things - it’s sooooo soft, and as
Richard pointed out, it’s the color of pewter. Personally, I
consider it ugly, by comparison.
There’s hundreds of gold alloys, always has been and new ones are
devised every day. Much of that is color, some is properties. Most of
the “new” alloys of all kinds, that I’ve used, leave me unimpressed
(don’t get me started about cobalt platinum!!). I just have no use
for palladium - not a dismissal, just no use for it…
it's sooooo soft, and as Richard pointed out, it's the color of pewter
I’ll use Pall WG when I have a compelling reason, usually 'because’
of its softness. Need a fat chunky bezel for an emerald or opal? How
about little square cornered aquas? No, its not a pretty metal by
itself but that’s what rhodium is for. Without getting into that
debate, its good to remember that sometimes you have to pick the most
practical, which may mean the safest, manner to get the job done.
Risk a $10,000 stone over a philosophical notion? Not me.
My own preference otherwise is that if I need WHITE it’ll be
platinum. I realize that some folks don’t work in that $zone so they
need an alternate, but this is where trade-offs have to occur. If you
don’t like the whiteness of what you just made then rhodium may be
your best way out. Heck, rhodium is relatively cheap now so why not
get setup and then you have options.
To be fair, I haven’t tried some of the white alloys I’ve seen
recommended (skeptical maybe). Call me a stick in the mud but I’ve
got what works for me, customers never complain about rhod, and I
keep my business with my refiner.