Are there differences in melt values between White Gold and Yellow Gold?

Are there differences in melt values between White Gold and Yellow Gold? — Sue in Cleavland, Ohio

For the most part, gold jewelry of the same karat value will have about the same melt value whether it is white gold or yellow gold. Aside from 24 karat (pure gold), all other karats of gold are alloys that include some other metals in them.  For example, an 18 karat gold item is about 75% gold alloyed with other metals that in turn affect the item’s color and hardness. Palladium and nickel are often used to create white gold while copper and silver are used for yellow gold.

Of course, nickel has dermatological health issues with it and palladium is expensive, so some white gold alloys actually include magnesium or chromium. Today, you are more likely to find rhodium plated gold as this metal often provides the look that consumers want, but the cost is so high that it is typically just plated onto the gold.  As a general rule, there is usually not a significant difference in melt value between an 18 karat yellow gold ring and an 18 karat white gold ring of the same weight.

24 karat gold is 99.84% gold (not achievable in white gold)
22 karat gold is 91.52% gold  (not achievable in typical white gold)
20 karat gold is 83.33% gold
18 karat gold is 74.88% gold
14 karat gold is 58.24% gold
10 karat gold is 41.60% gold
9 karat gold is 37.44% gold

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Arch Enterprises is one of the nation’s leading precious metal refineries. The company is happy to answer questions about precious metal refining for items made from gold, silver or platinum.

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