White gold is lustrous and has a nice shine that makes it one of the most desirable versions of white metals used in jewelry making. Unfortunately, the adage that ‘nothing good lasts’ forever comes true with white gold because despite how good it looks and how well this piece of jewelry is cared for, white gold jewelry often turns color, taking on a yellowish hue from the nice and bright white finish from rhodium.
It can be quite disheartening when this happens to you, especially when it happens too soon after buying the jewelry. Naturally, you’d want to know why the color changes, and most importantly, how to remedy the problem. The good news is that you didn’t buy fake or poor-quality jewelry, and the staining is not from sweat or sebum. In other words, it is not your fault.
In this article, we’ll take a look at everything you need to know about white gold jewelry and how best to take care of the jewelry.
Why your white gold turn yellow or black?
As mentioned above, the color change is not your fault but rather an expected event that affects all white gold jewelry. To understand why this happens, we’ll start off by looking at how white gold is made.
White gold is one of the alloys of gold( we share a post about the gold alloy mixing ratio, click here to read more), which reminds you of the fact that white gold doesn’t really exist in nature. Pure 24k gold is too soft and malleable for use in jewelry, and the only way of making it hard and durable would be by alloying it with other metals.
To create white gold, white metals are added to the pure gold, creating an off-white version of gold, often as 14k or 18k gold. White gold results from the blend of pure gold with white metals like palladium, silver, zinc, and nickel (fewer jewelers are today using less or no nickel in white gold because of the large number of people who are allergic to nickel). These white metals added to gold give the gold more of a grey tone, with less of the warm yellow hue, but to create the lustrous white gold we all love and admire, the ‘white’ gold is coated in rhodium.
So, why does the white gold take on a yellow or even a black tinge after some months or years?
The primary reason for the color change has to do with the fact that the rhodium plating that creates white gold is extremely thin, and like other kinds of platings on jewelry, the rhodium coat will fade away with time, especially around the corners and the prongs of the ring, for example, because these areas are naturally prone to wear and.
Now, as the white layer of rhodium wears off, the actual ‘white’ gold alloy underneath is exposed. Since the base gold contains more gold than the white metals, the warm golden hue is exposed, hence the apparent color change.
How fast or slow the white gold jewelry changes color depends on several factors that are listed below.
- Leading an active lifestyle
- Fidgeting, especially when you are nervous. This is an issue because rubbing causes the rhodium coat to wear out too soon.
- Keeping your jewelry on when cleaning, jumping in the pool, or even letting the ring be in contact with common jewelry cleaners.
- Your white gold ring could also be turning yellow if you obsessively polish the jewelry – this would result in the rhodium coating wearing off too soon.
- The speed of color change would also be higher if you are a surfer and forget the jewelry when in the water, meaning the ring or earrings will turn color fast if you don’t lose it first.
- But these are just some of the reasons for the color change. There are a few other things that would result in faster color change in the jewelry.
- Natural chemicals and acids in your skin – this is one of the unfortunate and unavoidable reasons why the jewelry would change color fast. Often, the oils from your skin will react with the jewelry or cause abrasion on the parts of the jewelry that are in touch with the skin, turning your white gold jewelry yellow too quickly.
- Environment and what it’s exposed to – these include detergents, lotions, soaps, chlorine, and soap water.
How to solve this problem
Getting the white gold replated. Essentially, there isn’t much more you could do to your white gold jewelry once the color changes, besides re-plating it. This has to be done at, and by the jeweler – you could take it back to the store that you bought it from. In other words, there is no quick fixing white gold jewelry once it starts yellowing.
How to clean white gold that has turned yellow
To clean white gold jewelry that’s turned yellow, here are some ways of cleaning that jewelry.
- How to clean white gold jewelry
First, you need to inspect your jewelry for any loose or broken stones or clasps. Inspect it carefully, and if you notice any loose or wiggling parts, you may want to get it fixed at the jewelers first. Keep it in a secure, resealable bag, then take it to the jeweler.
- Prepare the cleaning solution – a mixture of warm water with the mildest soap or detergent around, nothing with chlorine or other harsh chemicals.
- Soak the jewelry in the cleaning solution for about 20-30 minutes
- Then rub the ring with a soft-bristled brush or a soft cloth, ensuring that you remove all the dirt and reach the hard-to-reach areas.
- Rinse the now clean ring in clean, lukewarm water to get rid of all soap residue
- Then dry the ring using a clean towel.
- Maintenance white gold
Cleaning white gold jewelry should be done regularly to ensure that the jewelry remains in great shape for longer. This is especially important if the jewelry in question is used or worn regularly. You may also want to keep a calendar for monthly cleaning of the white gold jewelry so that you won’t forget about it.
- Cleaning white gold jewelry using a cleaning product
Sometimes warm, soapy water cannot do the trick, and in such cases, you’d have to amp your efforts, and by this, we mean getting more effective but safe cleaning products. One of the solutions recommended often is the use of baking soda with water – just spray the white gold piece with a solution of baking soda and water, then follow the manufacturer’s instructions on cleaning the jewelry.
- Replating the jewelry
This is the last recommended solution for jewelry, especially if the white gold piece has turned yellow in most areas. Get this done at a reputable store, and after it’s done, take extra care of that ring by keeping it away from things that would speed up its rate of wear.
- Proper Storage
If you wish to protect your jewelry from scratches and scuff marks, you should store it properly. This is quite important where white gold is involved because white gold jewelry dents and scratches quite easily, especially when you bump it against hard surfaces. Find specific jewelry boxes or bags for the white gold pieces. Store them separately by wrapping each of them in a microfiber cloth to add a layer of protection.
- Wear gloves when cleaning or gardening
- Remove the jewelry before going for a swim
White gold jewelry is beautiful but quite delicate, meaning you need to pay more attention and take extra care of the pieces of jewelry to ensure that they last longer and to avoid yellowing of the lustrous white gold pieces.
Tiger is a fashion&jewelry lover. He is also a fashion jewelry manufacturer that help thousands of small business to grow and also do business with some big fashion jewelry brands. He is a truly metal expert and he will share some information you are looking for.