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White gold has the same properties as yellow gold, but it has been mixed with different metals to give it a white color. Instead of the copper and silver used in yellow gold, white gold contains such metals as nickel, zinc, or even platinum. However, white gold should not be confused with platinum, which is much rarer than gold and hence more valuable.
The karat weight system used in white gold is the same as that used in yellow gold. 18K yellow gold and 18K white gold contain the same proportion of gold; only the remaining 25% of the alloy is different. Sometimes, white gold is plated with an even whiter metal, such as rhodium (a very rare member of the platinum family), to enhance its appearance.
White gold was developed to give a different look to jewelry. The white color is an excellent setting for very white diamonds, and when used side by side with yellow gold, it creates a striking effect. Jewelry using both white and yellow gold is called "two-tone."