Gold is in fact yellow in colour. It may be also described as red because of having some copper mixed with it in most cases. This is what is well known among people and is mentioned in books about language, metals etc.
In al-Mu’jam al-Waseet it says: Gold is a metal that is yellow in colour.
Professor Muhammad Husayn Joodi said in his book ‘Uloom al-Dhahab wa’l-Siyaaghat al-Mujawharaat (Sciences of gold and jewels): It is well known that every kind of metal that is used in making ingots, such as copper, silver, palladium, platinum, zinc etc have an obvious effect on the ingot’s colour, hardness and melting point. Gold gives a yellow colour and prevents oxidization of the ingot. Copper gives the ingot a red colour and makes it stronger and harder. End quote.
After consulting experts in the field of gemology and metallurgy, they said that the phrase “white gold” may be applied to a number of things:
1 – It is applied to the metal platinum. It is permissible for men to wear it and there is no sin in that, because there is nothing in sharee’ah to suggest that it is forbidden for men. The fact that people call it white gold does not make it haraam, because it is just a name that is given to it, but it is not really gold. Similarly, cotton is also called “white gold” and oil is called “black gold”, because it is precious, but that does not make it haraam either. And it is permissible for men to wear precious stones such as diamonds, rubies etc.
It says in Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah li’l-Ifta’ (24/76): We do not know of anything wrong with men wearing diamonds, if they are pure and there is no gold or silver with them. End quote.
2 – The name white gold is given to the well-known yellow gold, but it is plated with a layer of platinum. Wearing this is haraam for men, because wearing it means he is wearing yellow gold, and wearing gold is haraam for men according to scholarly consensus, as was mentioned by Imam al-Nawawi (may Allaah have mercy on him) in Sharh Saheeh Muslim.
3 – The name white gold is given to regular yellow gold that is mixed with a specific percentage of platinum or another metal, of which more or less is added, depending on the standard of gold desired. This usage is very well known in stores selling gold.
What it means, according to the experts, is that in order to prepare a kilogram of 21 carat gold, you mix 875 grams of pure (24 carat) gold with 125 grams of silver and copper. If you add the same amount (125 grams) of platinum instead of copper and silver, you will have a kilogram of white 21 carat gold.
In order to make a kilogram of 18 carat gold, you mix 750 grams of pure gold with 250 grams of silver and copper. If we add the same amount (250 grams) of platinum instead of the silver or copper, we will get a kilogram of white 18 carat gold… and so on.
In a press release issued by the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on 22/3/1410 AH, which spoke of mineral resources (gold) in the Kingdom, it says:
“White gold” refers to a mixture of gold with 12% platinum or 15% nickel. The colour of the gold may be made pinkish by adding 5% silver or 20% copper. A greenish colour may be achieved by mixing 75% gold with 25% silver, or mixing it with zinc and cadmium. A bluish colour may be achieved by mixing the gold with a small amount of iron. If the gold is mixed with 20% aluminium the resulting colour will be purple. The degree of redness in the gold may be controlled by increasing or decreasing the amount of copper that is added. End quote.
Professor Dr. Mamdooh ‘Abd al-Ghafoor Hasan said in his book Mamlakat al-Ma’aadin (the Kingdom of metals): Pure gold is not hard enough to be used for making jewellery, but it may be mixed with copper, silver, nickel or platinum to make it harder, which at the same time gives it distinctive colours. A little copper makes it more reddish in colour, and silver make it more whitish. Adding 25% platinum or 15% nickel produces an ingot that is called “white gold.”
To sum up: gold is originally yellow in colour, and there is no gold that is white in colour, rather other metals may be added to it that change its colour to white.
So white gold is nothing more than yellow gold, but platinum has been added to it, instead of silver or copper. Hence in the stores the white gold has exactly the same standards as yellow gold. It is well known that adding silver or copper to gold does not alter the fact that it is gold, and it is does not make it permissible to use it. That also applies to adding palladium to it.
Based on this, wearing white gold is haraam for men, because in fact it is yellow gold, but something had been added to it to change its colour to white.
The Standing Committee for Issuing Fatwas was asked: It has become common among some people, especially men, to use that which is called white gold, which is used to make watches, rings, pens and so on. After asking the jewellers and goldsmiths, we found out that white gold is actually the well-known yellow gold, to which a certain metal has been added, 5-10%, to change its colour from yellow to white, or some other colour, which makes it look like another kind of metal. Use of this has become very widespread in recent times, and many people are confused about using it.
If the situation is as described, the gold which is mixed with other metals still comes under the ruling that it is haraam to differentiate in weight or measure when selling it for gold of the same type, and the exchange must be completed in one sitting, whether it is sold for gold of the same type or for silver or cash. It is haraam for men to wear it, and it is haraam to make vessels out of it. Calling it white gold does not change these rulings. End quote.
Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah (24/60)
And Allaah knows best.