Most of us can attest to hoarding tons of jewelry that were once favorites over the course of our lifetime.
They mean so much to us that we cannot bear the thought of tossing them out. So, we seek out our local jewelers help to find out if our scrap pieces of white gold can be melted down and reused.
White gold, just like yellow and rose gold, is an alloy of gold metal that varies in color shade and strength based on the amount of real gold in it.
More than just copper, silver is added to white gold to give it the silver hue that many have come to love so much.
The silver color is so shiny and bright that it gives platinum and real silver a run for their money. However, as a metal alloy, how possible is it to get a new piece made from the metal of an old piece?
Can White Gold be Melted Down and Reused?
According to most jewelers, their professional advice for anyone with a piece of white gold jewelry that they want to transform into another item would be not to melt it.
They much rather an individual hand over the white gold to the jeweler who will have it melted and assayed to give him an accurate value of the actual gold in the white gold alloy metal.
This is because gold needs to be heated at very high temperatures and as you heat and cool this metal, impurities will be added to its content which will make the ring weaker and prone to easy damage.
Most jewelers also attest to the fact that because this is a metal alloy containing copper and silver, it would be more expensive to get a ring remade than to sell the scrap and buy a new ring.
For yellow gold, your metal can be melted down and remade with almost no issues at all, you might however need to add in some gold ingots because of the weight loss the metal incurs while it is being heated.
In the case of white gold, this is not possible because white gold will have to be refined after the heating process to strip off any impurities which is what causes bubbles in metal forms.
How to Make White Gold?
Real solid 24K gold is too soft to make any jewelry and so manufacturers alloy it with other metals to get the desired color effect and malleability.
White gold can be made of either 10, 14, or 18 parts real gold each with different looking shades of color and hardness. Adding palladium, manganese, silver, and nickel to the metal makes up the rest of the alloy.
Nickel is the best bleaching agent that helps strip gold of its yellow color but it has been picked on for causing skin reactions. This is why manufacturers have turned to silver instead. However, this combination still doesn’t create the silver hue that white gold is known for.
To create the perfect tint of silver that is strong enough to compete with sterling silver and platinum, white gold metals are coated with rhodium.
Rhodium is bright white in color and is also very durable. Though the coating will wear off in time, you should have months to years before you have to worry about a trip to the jeweler who can easily recoat your ring and have it looking brand new again.
Although it is possible to melt down your white gold in hopes that you will reuse it may be in another design, it is not an advisable option for most jewelers to take.
This is because it will cost them hours in labor and so much energy to melt a little piece of metal down that may or may not get so severely impure that it cannot make a strong and durable item.