White gold has become super popular in today’s day and age. Many women who look for modern jewelry often opt for white gold thanks to its shiny mirror-like finish. White gold looks very similar to platinum, to the untrained eye, platinum jewelry looks very similar to white gold jewelry.
Some people hear white gold and actually think that wild gold exists in the wild. The truth is that white gold is actually made of pure, regular yellow gold with metals added to create the “white gold” we know today. After white metals are added to gold, the gold is plated with rhodium to give it the platinum-like finish that women across the world love. So, what is the highest karat of white gold?
What is the Highest Karat of White Gold?
The highest karat of white gold that you will be able to find is 20 karats. 20k of white gold means that your white gold has 20 parts of pure yellow gold and 4 parts of other white metals such as nickel, palladium, and manganese. 20 karats white gold has 83.33% pure yellow gold.
White gold is actually made with yellow gold, the higher the karat means the more yellow gold that’s in a piece of jewelry. The more yellow gold, the less white, white gold would be.
The highest karat of white gold does not exceed 20 karats because anything purer than 20k would look yellow, so yellow gold has to be mixed with other metals to give white gold its white color.
So, why is white gold mixed with other metals?
White gold is mixed with other white metals, such as nickel, palladium, and manganese to give it the white color that you see on white gold jewelry. After gold is mixed with other white metals, it’s plated with rhodium. Rhodium is what gives white gold its platinum-like look.
Even though the highest karat white gold does not exceed 20 karats, yellow gold comes in higher karats than white gold, such as 22k and 24k yellow gold.
22k gold is 91% gold mixed with other metals, such as copper to make it stronger and 24k gold is 99.99% pure gold with no other added metals. That said, you will rarely find a jewelry store that sells pure 24k gold because it’s very soft and easy to scratch and bend.
How Many Karats is White Gold?
As you will see illustrated in the chart below, white gold comes in a variety of karats, starting from 10k and going up to 20k. The chart below shows you how much pure yellow gold is in white gold.
Here is a chart with the karats of all white gold that you can find (10k vs 14k vs 18k vs 20k white gold)
|Karats||Pure Gold Content||Mixture|
|10k White Gold||41.7%||Nickel, Silver, Palladium, and Manganese|
|14k White Gold||58.3%||Nickel, Silver, Palladium, and Manganese|
|18k White Gold||75%||Nickel, Silver, Palladium, and Manganese|
|20k White Gold||83.3%||Nickel, Silver, Palladium, and Manganese|
|22k White Gold||Does not exist||Does not exist|
As we previously mentioned, the highest white gold jewelry that you’ll be able to purchase is 20 karats because anything higher than that and the pure yellow gold content would be too high to give gold its white color.
Is White Gold Worth More Than Yellow Gold?
White gold with the same karat as yellow gold is not worth more than regular yellow gold. For example, if you’re purchasing a 14k white gold ring and 14k regular gold ring, you will find both rings similarly priced, with little no difference in price. Some places often charge just a little more for white gold because of the rhodium plating that’s added to white gold, but if they do it’s an insignificant amount.
Is the Highest Karat of White Gold Durable?
As we previously mentioned, the highest karat of white gold is 20 karats. 20k white gold has more pure yellow gold than 18k white gold and 14k white gold. While higher gold content is desirable for money because it’s more valuable, 20k white gold tends to be softer and less durable than 18k white gold and 14k white gold because gold is soft and malleable, so the more of it in your jewelry, the more likely your jewelry will warp and deform.
If you ask any jeweler, they will tell you that the most popular karat of white gold is 14 karats because 14k has decent gold content at 58.3% and looks identical to 20k white gold after rhodium plating is applied. Since stronger metals are added to 14k white gold, 14k white gold tends to be stronger and more durable, making it a great choice for daily work white gold jewelry.
The highest karat of white gold, which is 20k white gold is not as popular for white gold jewelry because it is not as durable as 14k white gold. Even though 20k white gold jewelry tends to be more expensive, its higher gold content does not make it the most durable choice for jewelry.
Which is Better 14k or 18k White Gold?
The answer to this question depends on what you’re looking for in white gold. If you’re looking for purity, 18k white gold has more gold. If you’re looking for durability go with 14k gold. If you’re looking for color, it doesn’t matter which karat you go with because they’re both plated with rhodium.
That said, we will explain the difference between 14k white gold and 18k white gold in more detail below.
If you want your white gold to have more pure gold, then you’d want to go with 18k white gold because it has 75% pure gold, whereas 14k gold has 58% pure gold. So, 18k jewelry is more expensive than 14k jewelry because 18k gold has more pure gold underneath the rhodium plating.
That said, if you’re looking for jewelry that’s stronger, you may want to go with the 14k gold because it’s mixed with other stronger metals than gold, making it less prone to bending and warping than 18k gold.
This is so because gold is very soft and malleable, meaning it deforms pretty easily on its own. The more. metals that are added to the mix, the stronger the gold alloy becomes, making it last longer.
18k white gold jewelry requires more care than 14k white gold for the reasons we mentioned above. Although it might seem appealing to purchase 18k white gold because it has more gold content, 14k is more sturdy and durable because it has more metals mixed in to make it stronger.
Many jewelers recommend 14k white gold because it’s less expensive than 18k gold and it’s also stronger, making ideal for daily worn jewelry, such as rings, bracelets, and necklaces.
The color of 14k white gold jewelry and 18k white gold jewelry have an identical appearance after the jewelry is plated with rhodium. However, prior to rhodium plating, 18k gold jewelry tends to be more yellow than 14k gold because 18k gold has more pure gold content than 14k jewelry.
As time passes and the rhodium plating starts to wear off in areas where your jewelry contacts your skin, you’ll start to notice the gold layer underneath shows.
If this happens, don’t panic, you can take your ring to a jewelry store and they can replate your ring with rhodium, restoring it to its original glory.
How Durable is 14k White Gold?
14k gold is quite durable and we’ll explain why. Gold is very soft and malleable, meaning the more pure yellow gold that’s added to jewelry, the more easily your white gold jewelry will deform and scratch. 14k white gold is not pure gold, it has 58% yellow gold, with the remaining 42% being other metals, such as zinc, copper, palladium, and manganese.
These metals are stronger than gold, therefore adding them makes white gold stronger and less prone to bending and scratching than pure 24k gold, 22k gold, and 18k gold.
All white gold is plated with rhodium to give it that white mirror-like finish. Rhodium. Adding rhodium also makes white gold stronger and more durable than it would be without the rhodium plating.
Highest Karat of White Gold?
At this point, you should know that the highest karat of white gold is 20k gold. Although it’s possible to make 22k white gold, the highest karat any gold manufacturer makes is 20k white gold because anything higher than that would be too yellow to create white gold. As mentioned previously, white gold is made by mixing pure yellow gold with other metals, such as silver, zinc, nickel, and palladium to strengthen white gold. After combining these metals with gold and shaping the jewelry, white gold jewelry is then plated with rhodium to give white gold is white gold appearance. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them in the comments section below.