White GoldThe name white gold is rather misleading in that it suggests an exotic variety of gold that is white. In fact neither of those is true. White gold is not a single metal, it's an alloy. And it's usually closer to grey than white in colour.
"White" gold is a popular alternative to the ordinary yellow variety.
What Is White Gold?White gold is an alloy formed by mixing yellow gold with another metal to give a silvery-grey appearance. The metal used with to form the alloy is usually nickel or palladium.
White gold was initially developed in the 1920s as a more affordable alternative to platinum. Although the result can look a little like platinum it is a completely different substance (although small amounts of platinum are sometimes added to high quality items). Today white gold is seen as a desirable substance in its own right and you can buy all sorts of jewelry with necklaces and engagement rings being especially popular.
Since it's an alloy there is no such thing as "pure" white gold. It's graded in karats as with yellow gold and is typically found from 14 up to 21 karat.
White gold is somtimes coated with a layer of rhodium to enhance its apearance. This can wear off over time however the coating can often be reapplied by a jeweller.
Thomas CovenantBeing an alloy, white gold has little symbolic importance in ancient myth and legend. However it is of great significance in a modern fable: Stephen R. Donaldson's epic fantasy series "The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, the Unbeliever".
Thomas Covenant is a modern day man who suffers from leprosy. He is full of self-doubt and loathing for himself and the universe. He is essentially a walking collection of neuroses and angst.
Covenant is transported to what appears to be a fantasy world, but which he suspects to be a product of his imagination. There he is hailed as saviour of The Land because of his white gold wedding ring. He is dubbed White Gold Wielder - whilst alll the time refusing to believe either in The Land or in his own power to alter its fate.
The white gold serves several symbolic references including being Covenant's last connection to his old wife, life and world as well as being the symbol of the power within him that he refuses to acknowledge.