Yellow or white wedding band? Selecting the right wedding band color is more than a matter of preference. It’s a reflection of the couple’s style, values, and the story they wish to tell. The choice of color can carry sentimental importance and become a cherished heirloom.
Let’s delve into the evolution, qualities, and costs of both white and yellow wedding bands so you can make the right choice.
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Wedding band trends over the years
The tradition of giving a gold ring to your betrothed goes back to the ancient Egyptians. The Pharaohs believed in eternity and the ring was a symbol of a never-ending line personified for example in the ‘Ouroboros’ ring.
‘Marriage’ at the time, was often a question of making alliances between families.
The Romans emulated this ritual and started exchanging copper and iron rings as well as gold as part of their marriage ceremony.
The Christian Church established marriage as a ‘holy sacrament’ in the 12th century and placing a ring on the bride’s finger was part of the ceremony. However, wedding bands were limited to the upper classes.
Late Renaissance and the Gimmel Ring
During the 16th and 17th centuries, European husbands bestowed a gimmel ring upon their wives.
It consisted of two interlocking bands. The bride and groom both wore one of these bands after their engagement. The two bands were reunited during the wedding ceremony. Subsequently, the wife wore the combined ring.
There wasn’t much of a choice between yellow or white wedding bands. Gimmel ring wedding bands were traditionally forged in yellow gold.
Wedding Bands during World War 2
This period was a turning point for wedding bands. Up until the war wedding rings were mainly worn by women. Married soldiers started wearing wedding bands to remind them of the life they left behind back home. This then caught on with the civilian population.
The choice of yellow or white wedding bands until the 19th century
Until the beginning of the 19th century, there wasn’t much of a choice between yellow or white wedding bands as gold wedding bands were yellow.
Yellow gold wedding bands have stood the test of time and continue to captivate with their warm and radiant charm. The rich, golden hue carries a sense of tradition and history, appealing to those who cherish timeless elegance.
Gold purity is measured in karats.18k and 14k gold are the most popular choices for rings due to their balance of durability and purity.
Check out my post ‘Gold Rings in 2023: The Eternal Appeal’
Yet gold is also malleable allowing for intricate designs and engravings.
Check out this WHITNEY 14k yellow gold band with white diamonds available also in white gold.
Has Platinum always been a premium metal?
Historically Platinum has not always been more expensive than gold.
Platinum was known to the ancient Egyptians but they did not value it as highly as gold.
Then the Spanish came across platinum in the 16th century which they called ‘Platina’ which means little silver due to its white color. Again the Spanish concentrated on the extraction of gold.
The widespread use of platinum took place in the 19th century. Scientists as well as jewelers identified its unique properties. Yet it still remained less valuable than gold due to the difficulties of extraction.
It wasn’t until the build-up to World War 2 that the price of platinum surged due to its use in military applications such as electrical contacts. Later on, it was also used in the automotive industry and this increased the price even further. The Jewelers then took advantage of the desirability of such a premium metal.
Check out this understated WELL-PRICED platinum wedding ring from James Allen available in white and yellow gold too.
Check out my post ‘IS PLATINUM BETTER THAN GOLD? WHICH IS THE BEST METAL FOR YOUR RING?’
What and who influenced the desirability of white wedding bands?
The introduction of the ‘’Tiffany Setting’’ by Charles Lewis Tiffany in 1886 contributed to platinum’s popularity in jewelry. The setting revolutionized engagement rings by raising the diamond above the band with six prongs. This allowed more light to pass through the stone to increase its brilliance.
Platinum was used due to its strength and ability to secure the diamond in security.
Even today platinum is a sought-after material for high-end engagement and wedding bands.
Check out this 6-prong ring from Brilliant Earth:
So when and why was White Gold Introduced?
White gold was only introduced in the 1920s.
It was introduced due to the shortage of platinum and its rising cost. White gold could imitate the look of platinum at a more affordable price.
What is White Gold and when was it used?
White gold is made by mixing pure gold with white metals such as nickel, palladium, silver, or zinc.
It was used during the 1920s and 1930s to make art deco jewelry which consisted of clean geometric designs. White gold was used to contain the price and because it was more malleable than platinum.
Today white gold remains a popular choice for engagement and wedding bands.
So should you choose a yellow or white wedding band for your special occasion?
Let’s check out the perceived characteristics of a yellow or white wedding band:
Yellow Rings are considered to be
They look good on any skin color but sit well with warmer skin tones.
White Rings are considered to be
They sit well with paler skins.
How much should you spend on a wedding band?
There is, of course, no rule about how much one should spend on a wedding ring. Yet, wedding bands normally cost one-third to one-half the cost of an engagement ring.
Wedding rings are much plainer and can be with or without a stone.
If you buy white gold you may want to factor in the cost of re-plating which is normally done with rhodium at least every two years
Platinum costs more but needs much less maintenance.
What is the most durable wedding ring for men?
Platinum is a denser metal than white gold and is thus stronger than white gold. However, it can also scratch more easily.
For something different try this platinum checker design:
Do you buy a yellow or white wedding band if you have problems with allergies?
Platinum is a pure metal and one of the most hypoallergenic used in fine jewelry.
White gold can contain nickel in the alloy so take note if you are prone to allergies.
Check out my post:
- 18k is 75% gold and contains 25% alloys which do not cause problems
- 14 k is 58% gold and in yellow gold the alloys are a mixture of copper, silver, and zinc which again rarely cause problems
- 14k white gold can include nickel which can cause problems if you are ultra-sensitive.
For exact compositions check out my post:
Which is whiter –platinum or white gold?
Platinum is a natural bright white metal and will not fade.
White gold is more off-white and to the expert eye has a grayish tinge to it. As the rhodium plating fades so will the white gold’s bright color.
Are you connected to mother nature’s designs? Consider this organic bamboo design ring available also in platinum:
Is 14k or 18k better for a wedding ring?
18 k gold jewelry has a higher percentage of gold in its composition than 14 k which means it is more prestigious and thus costs more. It is also more hypoallergenic as it contains fewer alloys.
As gold is a malleable metal, an 18k ring could be more vulnerable to dents. So if you live an active lifestyle 14k might be better, however, there is a possibility that a 14k ring might scratch easier.
Due to its cost 90% of rings in the USA are made in 14K gold. Unless you suffer from particular allergies this is the best solution to contain costs.
Check out this 14k wedding band with moissanite beading:
On the other hand in Asia, most rings are made in 18k gold as this is the tradition.https://fxo.co/Gtxh
A Yellow or White wedding band or both together?
There is no reason why a couple has to buy the same color ring together. If he prefers white and she prefers yellow, that is fine too.
Duality in a relationship is also healthy!
Check out this contemporary white 18k gold wedding ring with yellow beveled edges and a sparkling diamond from Brilliant Earth:
Choosing between a yellow or white wedding band is a question of style and personal taste.
Yellow rings have been around for a long time and are synonymous with tradition and warmth.
White rings are more modern.
If you can afford platinum, the metal is stronger and heavier and requires less maintenance especially if your ring has prongs.
Otherwise, white gold is a valid alternative and is often used in more contemporary-looking rings.