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White Gold and Titanium – The Difference

We recently received a question about the difference between white gold and titanium. Since we’re here to educate you so you make the smartest online jewelry decisions possible, here you go:

White Gold

White gold engagement ring

White gold is an alloy of gold and some white metals such as silver and palladium. White gold can be 18kt, 14kt, 9kt or any karat.

White gold engagement rings

Traditionally nickel was used in white gold, however, nickel is no longer used in most white gold made today as nickel can cause reactions with some people. We do not use nickel in our white gold

When white gold rings are new they are coated with another white metal called Rhodium. Rhodium is a metal very similar to platinum and Rhodium shares many of the properties of platinum including its white color.

White gold men's wedding rings

The rhodium plating is used to make the white gold look more white. The natural color of white gold is actually a light grey color. The Rhodium is very white and very hard, but it does wear away eventually. To keep a white gold ring looking its best it should be re-rhodium plated approximately each 12 to 18 months. Most local jewelers are able to rhodium plate jewelry for a cost effective price.


Titanium rings

Titanium is a white metal, but unlike gold it is used in jewelry in almost its pure form (approximately 99% pure). Titanium is extremely long wearing. Its natural color is a gray color.

Titanium is very lightweight, so a titanium ring will feel much lighter than an 18kt gold ring and much lighter than a platinum ring.

Titanium is also 100% hypoallergenic.

Titanium rings with gold

Titanium also has a unique property which allows the titanium to be colored to bright colors such as blue, purple and black.

Unlike other metals (such as gold, platinum and silver) titanium is a difficult metal to work with from a jewelry perspective. Titanium is a very hard metal which wears down jewelry making tools very quickly. Titanium also cannot be soldered (joined by heat).

Soldering is used in the manufacture of the majority of traditional jewelry items. Because titanium cannot be soldered, the method of making some jewelry items is restricted when using titanium.For example titanium cannot be used to make a prong setting for an engagement ring. That is why you will see that many titanium rings have parallel bands rather than tapering bands and why you will not see titanium rings with prong settings.

Titanium engagement ring

(To cater for our customers wanting a titanium engagement ring, we can add a gold bezel setting to a titanium band.)

For the metal itself titanium is generally less expensive than 9kt white gold. However, because titanium is difficult to make jewelry with the labor costs of titanium can make the price of a titanium jewelry a little higher. Though white gold will still normally command a higher price than titanium.

Source: Gilletts Jewelry