- Question: [Tuesday, 3rd Teves 5782]
I’m getting married in the near future and buying a wedding ring for my Kallah. I know the wedding ring should be made of gold but I would like to know if it should be made out of yellow gold or can also be made of white gold?
Although I have not been able to find any conclusive evidence on this matter, I would suggest for you to get the regular yellow gold ring as has been followed according to tradition. Nonetheless, if your bride desires specifically white gold, then you may choose the white gold, and of course it is also valid, as the question is only with regards to initial preference according to tradition, although seemingly the tradition is specifically with yellow gold. To note that there are Poskim who write that one should specifically get white gold who.
Explanation: Although from the letter of the law a man can marry a woman using any item that is worth a Peruta, nonetheless, the custom for generations is to specifically use a ring for the Kiddushin. Regarding the type of metal that one should use for the ring, the Poskim rule that the widespread custom is to use specifically a ring made of gold, and so is the Chabad custom, although there are some Poskim who rule that one should use a silver ring. The Rebbe Rayatz directed that a gold ring should be used, per the tradition that he received, and likewise the Rebbe in a letter to an individual replied that so is the custom of Beis Harav, and so he has seen done by Anash and Chassidim. Now, regarding the type of gold that one should use: As is mentioned in the Talmud Yerushalmi, there exists seven types of gold. Now, regarding the difference between yellow versus white gold, there is no essential difference regarding the actual gold medal that is used as both the gold of white gold and the gold of yellow gold is from the same gold metal which is naturally yellow. The only difference between the white and yellow gold is in regards to the metal additive that is inserted for the sake of hardening the gold. Gold is a naturally very soft metal and requires additional hard metals added to it for the sake of added strength and durability. This is where there is a difference between white and yellow gold. By yellow gold the chosen metal that is added to it does not change its natural yellow color, while by white gold a silver color metal is chosen which likewise affects the color of the yellow gold making it look more white, similar to silver. It is then coated with rhodium, which is a platinum like metal, for the sake of a final white shine. Now that we understand the technicalities of it let us try to analyze the preference in regard to the wedding ring. So based on what we explained that both white and yellow gold are made from the same yellow gold, and both contain metallic additives, there hence does not seem to be any difference between them regarding the above custom of using a gold ring as both are gold. In fact, the Divrei Yatziv concludes that it is best to use white gold in order so one can have both gold and a silver color in the wedding ring and hence follow also the opinions who hold that the ring should be made of silver. Nonetheless, I am hesitant to conclude this way, as is known that the color of an item has meaning, as can be seen from the fact that the high priest would wear only white on Yom Kippur while during the regular year he wore the gold color. Hence, since it is possible that the custom of using a gold ring is also due to its natural yellow color, therefore one should not swerve from the traditional custom of using a yellow gold colored ring. Nonetheless, certainly this matter is just a matter of preference and hence if the bride specifically desires a ring of white gold, or the groom already purchased a white gold ring, then it is fine.
Sources: See regarding using a ring: Rama E.H. 27:1; Teshuvos Hageonim 65; Sefer Hachinuch Mitzvah 552; Tikkunei Zohar; Biur Hagr”a’; Nitei Gavriel 21:2; See regarding using a gold ring: Mordechai Kiddushin 488; Shulchan Haezer 2:40; Otzer Haposkim 10:364; Kelilas Chasanim 9:7; Sefer Haminhagim Chabad p. 76; Igros Kodesh 3:429; Nitei Gavriel 21:2; See regarding using a silver ring: Ben Ish Chaiy Shoftim 8; Levushei Mordechai 3:274; Minhagei Kumrina 122; Harei Besamim Tinyana 229; See regarding the different types of gold: Yerushalmi Yuma 4:4; https://news.thediamondstore.co.uk/what-is-white-gold/; Poskim who write to always use white gold: Divrei Yatziv E.H. 52