White gold began to gain popularity in the early 1900s as an alternative to platinum. Platinum was gradually becoming fashionable, but due to its rarity, many could not afford it. During World War II, the government banned platinum for any non-military activity, and the demand for white gold increased.
The most common alloys added to gold to produce white gold are nickel, palladium and silver. Most white gold jewellery also gives an electrolytic rhodium coating to intensify the shine.
Gold retains many of the advantages of gold throughout the process. It does not stain and is more potent than its yellow counterpart because of the added metal.
Recently, palladium nickel replaces by white gold as a standard alloy. Apparent, ly a small percentage of the population — approximately 12-15% — have an allergic reaction to nickel, which causes skin irritation and rash. Jewellery containing nickel now require by law to be named “nickel-containing”.
Photo by Annabelle Worrall
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