White gold is a popular material for necklaces and other jewelry. Let’s take a look at the most important factors you should pay attention to when buying a white gold chain.
Buying a White Gold Chain: Choosing the Karat
For example, a 14-karat white gold chain contains approximately 58% pure gold (14 divided by the maximum possible 24 karats), as does a 14-karat yellow gold necklace.
White gold chains are actually made of regular yellow gold mixed with other metals that make the resulting alloy white. Even after the mixing, white gold is not completely white but has a yellowish tint. This is why white gold jewelry is usually coated with rhodium, which has a perfectly white color. However, the downside of rhodium plating is that it wears away with time, and at some point, you will need to have your white gold chain replated.
In general, the higher the karat of your chain, the softer it will be since pure gold is a very malleable metal.
The rhodium plating of white gold compensates for that softness to an extent by making the chain’s surface a bit harder than that of a similar yellow gold piece.
Nevertheless, a higher-karat white gold chain is still going to be relatively softer than a lower-karat one made of the same material.
Check If the Chain Contains Nickel
Some people are allergic to nickel, which is sometimes used in white gold jewelry.
It is true that the rhodium plating of your chain will protect your skin if the underlying material contains nickel, but when the plating wears off and the exposed white gold alloy touches your skin, you might get a rash.Black Friday Deal: Click here to get up to 50% OFF engagement ring settings from James Allen.
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So, if you are allergic to nickel, it is recommended that you look for a white gold chain that is certified as nickel free.
Should You Buy a Solid or Hollow White Gold Chain?
Hollow white gold chains are remarkably light and are also cheap. However, keep in mind that such necklaces are also easier to damage as they are less robust than solid pieces.
It is not hard to dent or even break a hollow chain, so if you buy one, you should be very careful when wearing it. If durability is one of your concerns, pay a little bit more and get a solid white gold chain.
Choosing a Link Type for Your Chain
When choosing a link type for your white gold chain, remember that some designs are more prone to kinking and catching on your clothes or hair.
For example, the herringbone chain, the snake chain, and the omega chain are more likely to twist, and the resulting kinks are often very hard to repair without removing links from the necklace.
Good choices for chain links include the curb chain, the wheat chain, the mariner chain, the rope chain, the anchor chain, the Figaro chain, and the box chain. These link types are flexible and not easy to break.
Pay Attention to the Clasp
The choice of a clasp for your white gold chain is crucial as a bad clasp can easily open or break, causing you to lose your jewelry.
One of the best choices is the so-called lobster clasp, which does not open easily by itself and has a robust body.
Spring-loaded clasps, which are usually round, are popular and cheaper, but they are also more likely to break or open accidentally.
Decide How Thick Your White Gold Chain Should Be
The thickness of your white gold chain is something that comes down to personal choice, but there are a couple of factors to consider.
First, if you are going to put a pendant on your chain, make sure it is thick enough to carry the additional weight; otherwise, if it is too thin, the chain might kink permanently and even break.
Also, consider that thinner chains are easier to twist and get tangled.
What Determines the Prices and Value of White Gold Chains
The most important characteristics you should focus on when comparing prices of white gold chains are gold purity, weight, and structure (i.e., whether the chain is solid or hollow).
Gold purity, as already mentioned, is measured in karats, and it refers to the parts of pure gold an item contains relative to the total amount of material it is made of, including other metals.
In general, you can expect higher-karat white gold chains to be more expensive per gram or ounce.
As you might expect, the weight of a white gold chain is also related to its price. And it makes sense – heavier chains contain more gold and are therefore more expensive.
This is true all else being equal, but there are cases when this relationship is not so straightforward.
The reason more weight does not always equal a higher price is that karat also plays a role. A heavier chain of lower gold purity might be cheaper than a lighter chain that is purer.
For example, imagine you have a 10K white gold chain that weighs 10 g and another that weighs 7 g but is 18K pure. The 10K chain contains 41.7% pure gold (10/24 x 100) and the 18K chain contains 75% gold (18/24 x 100).
In terms of absolute weight, the 10K chain has close to 4.2 g pure gold (41.7% x 10 g), whereas the 18K chain has 5.25 g (75% x 7 g).
Even though the 18K chain weighs less, it contains more pure gold, and it may be more expensive than the heavier 10K chain.
So, when considering the weight of two white gold chains, always factor in their karat numbers as well.
All else being equal, you can expect solid gold chains to cost more than hollow ones. As already mentioned, not only are hollow chains made with less material, but they are also less durable. They can easily get dented or bent when hit or bumped, and such damage is hard to repair.
The bottom line is that when comparing white gold chains, you should not only take into account the weight of pure gold they contain but also how their structure affects their durability.
For example, imagine that you have two chains that contain the same amount of pure gold, but one is hollow and cheaper. Consider that on the one hand, you will pay less money for the hollow chain, but on the other hand, you will also have to pay more attention not to damage it when you wear it.
How to Compare White Gold Chain Prices
When shopping for white gold chains, you could be deciding between chains that are of the same or different karat. Let’s see how you can make a quick comparison of their prices:
Comparing White Gold Chains of the Same Karat
If you are comparing the prices of chains of the same karat, then the comparison should be straightforward.
You can simply divide the price of each chain by its weight, and you can use the resulting prices per gram or ounce to compare them.
Comparing White Gold Chains of Different Karats
If the gold chains you are looking at differ in gold purity, first calculate the percentages of pure gold they contain, and then, knowing their weight, find the grams or ounces of gold in them.
You can then divide the price of each chain by the amount of gold in it to find how much each of them costs per unit of pure gold.
When comparing the prices of gold chains per unit of weight, don’t forget to take into account whether they are solid or hollow.
Of course, you should also factor in your final decision the design of each chain as well as its link type.
Where to Buy White Gold?
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