Many people have sentimental pieces of jewelry that they would never wish to throw out or for them to tarnish. Some may wonder whether you can melt down yellow gold into white gold. Continue reading this article to find out.
Modern-day jewelry manufacturers have a wide array of metals and materials to use in making various ornaments. From gold to silver to titanium to palladium, the list is endless.
Gold is one of the most expensive and luxurious choices available in the market. You may opt to get jewelry in yellow gold, white gold, or rose gold; the option is yours. Yellow is the natural color of gold.
Often, many people with authentic gold pieces of jewelry wonder what they can do to preserve it for a longer time. On the other hand, white gold is a more popular form of gold and is worth much more than yellow gold. So, can you melt down yellow gold into white gold?
What is yellow gold?
Often, many buyers consider yellow gold in jewelry as pure gold. The yellow gold used in making rings and earrings is usually an alloy that consists of combining pure gold with other metals such as copper and zinc.
Basically, the higher the number in gold pieces, like 24K, 22K, 18K, the more the amount of gold used in making that piece.
Gold in its pure form is quite soft and loses its shape quite easily.
As a result, jewelers combine various metals like silver, copper, zinc, and nickel, to it to increase its overall tensile strength and durability. Therefore, the higher the number of karats in your gold piece, the less durable it is to wear.
As such, the most durable engagement and wedding rings consist of 18K Gold and 14K Gold due to their excessive exposure to friction or wear.
Yellow gold has a unique shine and attractiveness, especially when combined with darker hues and tones.
White or rose gold is preferable for people with fair skin as it pops out more, making it distinct from other common pieces of jewelry. High-karat yellow gold easily scratches and tends to dent more; thus, the need to polish and clean it regularly.
What is white gold?
White gold is a metal alloy of pure gold and white metal such as palladium, nickel, zinc, or rhodium. The purity in white gold lies in the number of karats it contains.
The best white gold ranges from 10 to 18 karats. Often, jewelers use nickel to make white gold as it increases the strength and durability of pure gold.
Many buyers prefer white gold to yellow gold because it is more durable, stronger, high-quality, and does not tarnish over time. Its shine and gleam are incomparable to that of many other shiny and smooth metals used in making jewelry.
For these similar reasons, they opt for it over sterling silver and palladium. However, white gold begins to change color after constant use. As such, people use palladium, nickel, or rhodium to make it stronger and retain its original appearance.
On the downside, white gold that contains parts of nickel-metal may trigger allergic reactions among buyers with sensitive skin. If you have sensitive skin, you should be careful to purchase white gold made from nickel-free alloy.
How do you make yellow gold white?
As discussed above, yellow gold is not as durable and high-quality as white gold. Therefore, many owners of yellow gold pieces may want to turn it into white gold to preserve them for a more extended period. Luckily, large gold processing companies change yellow gold into white gold several times in a day.
Yellow gold changes into white gold by melting it down at extremely high temperatures of 1064°C to separate it from other metals used to increase its tensile strength.
After separation, these companies add various metals, including copper and zinc or palladium and nickel or silver, to the pure gold to turn it into white gold.
However, the local goldsmith does not procure this process to turn yellow gold into white as it may result in high costs in labor expenses. Many at times, they dip the yellow gold jewelry to get white gold.
What does dipping jewelry mean?
When a jeweler says he/she is dipping jewelry, it merely means they are going to have it rhodium-plated. Rhodium plating involves using electric currents to bond the rhodium onto the existing metal on your piece of jewelry to create that shiny and smooth appearance.
Essentially, there are two types of plating in jewelry; dipping and rhodium-plating. Rhodium plating is done over a variety of metals, including sterling silver and gold, to prevent it from tarnishing and scratching. On the other hand, dipping often occurs to yellow gold to turn it into white gold.
Does rhodium-plated yellow gold last forever?
Rhodium-plated jewelry lasts for a longer duration than if left in its original form. However, it is prone to wear off eventually. Here is a detailed post: How Long Does Rhodium-Plated Sterling Silver Last? If you want to read more, please click this link to read.
The more you wear a rhodium-plated piece of jewelry and expose it to various elements, the faster the rhodium plating will wear off, causing it to change color. For instance, rhodium plating on rings wears off quicker than that in bracelets, brooches, or necklaces.
When rhodium plating starts to wear off, you will notice the item changing hues to a darker color as well as yellow tips along with its prongs. On average, rhodium plating lasts for about three to five years on a ring worn daily and even longer on bracelets and necklaces.
How to clean rhodium-plated jewelry
Cleaning rhodium-plated pieces simply involves using mild soap and warm water. Gently rub down your ornament using your fingers.
Avoid using hard toothbrushes and hard pieces of clothing. Soak the piece for about ten minutes to clean out all the dirt effectively.
Rinse the ornament at least twice to remove any residual soap or detergent. Wipe it down with a soft cloth and proceed to wrap it up in tissue paper overnight to dry completely.
Many people ask whether it is possible to melt down yellow gold into white gold. The good news is that it is possible. Turning yellow gold into white gold is a sound investment since it ensures your piece remains strong and attractive for many years to come.
The downside is that the white gold will eventually begin turning back to its yellow color. Luckily, you can have the item rhodium-plated again to preserve its appearance.