These almost colourless materials were developed in Pforzheim in 1912/13 as an inexpensive and punchable platinum substitute for jewellery purposes, and were introduced as white gold for advertising purposes.
In the francophone language area these materials are more appropriately known as "or gris", grey gold. The aim was to create a material that was easy to process and resistant to tarnishing, in which colourless brilliants could show their effect to excellent effect. Until now, one had to rely on silver, which unfortunately darkens, or platinum and the somewhat darker and lighter palladium. Consequently, no jewellery with white gold existed before this time either. White gold as a collective term describes gold alloys which, by adding clearly discolouring additional metals, produce a white-pale gold alloy. The main alloying additions are the platinum by-metal palladium, (formerly very common) nickel or, for low gold contents, silver. The decolouration of the naturally yellow gold occurs continuously and requires a certain amount of the decolourising additive; the rest, which is then missing up to the calculated total volume, is often made up of copper/silver.