In the United States white gold is an alloy composed of yellow gold, nickel, copper, and zinc. I always felt that there are two essential shortfalls in this. First, some people are allergic to the nickel in the alloy which causes a skin rash; and second, most white gold alloys but instead exhibits a slight yellow, brown, or even a light pink cast. To make it bright white the jewelry receives a micro thin plating of rhodium. Over time as the rhodium plating wears away, the piece of jewelry looks less than stellar. While some advances in the composition of white gold has been achieved to circumvent these challenges, white gold alloyed with nickel still dominates the market.
Is there a better alternative? YES!
Since I opened Stephen Kris Designs 13 years ago I continued the European standard of alloying all of my architectural white gold designs with palladium instead of nickel. Palladium is a natural neighbor of platinum. By adding a small percentage of palladium to the yellow gold base several benefits are achieved. First, the yellow cast is completely eliminated; second, the alloy naturally becomes more dense and hence, more precious; third, no one is allergic to it; and finally, the piece of jewelry created can immediately be polished without the use of any corrective plating whatsoever! The difference is obvious in all of my ‘gray gold’ designs which possess distinctive and luxurious gray highlights.