White metals such as silver and palladium mixed with gold produces an alloy known as white gold. As with gold, white gold can be found in any carat measurement up to 21 carats. Basically, the amount of gold is the same but the alloy is different. White gold was originally developed as a substitute for platinum.
Traditionally nickel was used in white gold. However, nickel is no longer used as the studies found that nickel can cause reactions with some people. Initially, white gold rings are electro-plated with another white metal called Rhodium, a metal very much similar to platinum, when they are new. This makes the white gold look whiter since the original color of white metal is slightly gray. This process is called rhodium plating. To keep a white gold ring looking new, it should be re-rhodium plated approximately each 12 to 18 months.
White gold men's wedding bands are increasingly popular as they are often used to enhance diamonds and other gemstones. However, it is suggested to check with the retailer that the alloy is nickel-free.
Since the white metal is an alloy, it is very hard and durable. Here is preferred in the wedding bands by a number of men presently. However, there is an equal demand for cheaper alternatives to white gold than the palladium whites which are nickel-free. Many new alloys in the current market market on manganese additions as the main whitener. Some of these are palladium-free while others are low palladium alloys. Chromium and iron can also be used as whiteners. However, they tend to be hard and so this makes it more difficult to process. However, most of these alloys are not a good white color and so require rhodium plating, and many suffer cracking problems and tarnishing.