At Efva Attling Stockholm, you can find jewellery in various precious metals, where Swedish yellow gold and white gold are the most durable variants, which makes them more exclusive and suitable for pieces such as wedding rings that you wear every day. White gold is the most popular metal when it comes to wedding and engagement rings, it is also a more affordable alternative to platinum.
Just like Swedish yellow gold, white gold consists of a mixture of gold and other precious metals. Pure gold, i.e. 24 karat gold, is in itself far too soft to make jewellery from but is sometimes found abroad. So, before the jewellery is being produced, the hardness of the gold must be increased, and this is done by alloying. This means that the pure gold is mixed with two or more elements, where at least one of them is some form of metal. How hard and white the white gold becomes depends on the proportion of white metal you add. At Efva Attling Stockholm, we use an average of 14–16% palladium, which is a precious metal that removes the yellow tone in the gold. Then smaller proportions of other metals are added, including silver.
How much pure gold a piece of jewellery consists of is stated in carats. In Swedish trade, an alloy of 18 carat gold is most common. This means that 75% of the alloy consists of pure gold (18/24 = 0.75). Unlike Swedish yellow gold, white gold has the same colour shade all over the world, making the metal easier to match with other white gold jewellery.
In the past, it was common to use nickel in white gold jewellery, but it has been banned in Sweden since 1980, because many people became hypersensitive and had allergic reactions. Since the year 2000, nickel has therefore been phased out within the European Union. At Efva Attling Stockholm, we are and have always been 100% nickel-free.
Even if Palladium manages to tone down much of the yellowness of the gold, not everything disappears. To bring out the cold, white hue that so many of us love, white gold jewellery is usually rhodium plated.
Rhodium is a very hard silver-white metal and is one of the most expensive and rare elements. As a finishing touch when creating a piece of jewellery in white gold, it gets rhodium plated. It means that the jewellery gets immersed in liquid rhodium during an electrolytic treatment. Although the rhodium is very hard, it will wear off over time, especially on wedding and engagement rings that are used every day. The white gold is then perceived as a little grayer and not as glossy. To get the shine back, you can hand in your ring for rhodium plating – when you get it back, it will look like new again.
Despite the alloy, gold is a relatively soft metal, and therefore it is important to take care of your white gold jewellery. The metal is harder and more durable than, for example, silver, but can still get small jacks and scratches if you are not careful.
Store your pieces in the accompanying box when not wearing it to avoid scratches, or use our fine jewellery boxes as storge if you are traveling. Here you can read more about our care instructions.
The Swedish yellow gold is by many considered to be the most classic choice when it comes to jewellery and wedding rings. Learn more about the metal, and how to take care of your pieces in yellow gold.