Congrats! You’re engaged! Your partner gifted you a sparkling white gold ring as a sign of commitment. Sadly, your expensive ring may turn yellow a few months later and ruin its appearance.
The great news is it’s normal for white gold to yellow after a certain period. The metallic composition of white gold has a hand in your ring turning yellow; don’t worry, there are ways to fix this issue.
About White Gold Engagement Ring
White gold is a perfect blend of 75% pure gold and 25% other metals like silver, copper, palladium, nickel, and zinc. (read more about the Gold alloy ratio here)The composition of the metals from the 25% pool affects the appearance of gold.
When jewelers make different colors of gold-based jewelry, they add or reduce the number of particular metals.
For instance, adding more copper to pure gold produces rose gold jewelry.
Similarly, jewelers plate gold with a rare mineral called rhodium to give white gold its shiny, sparkly white appearance.
Plating is the process of using electric currents to add a thin protective layer of metal to a surface.
Pure rhodium is too brittle to make jewelry. Instead, goldsmiths use rhodium to create a thin layer that enhances the durability of a piece of jewelry.
Rhodium imitates the natural and luxurious appearance of platinum at an affordable price. Pure platinum is more expensive than rhodium by thousands of dollars.
You’re probably wondering why lovebirds choose white gold rings. Quality white gold is durable and doesn’t tarnish. Notably, pure gold is too malleable to make jewelry.
The metals jewelers add to pure gold enhance its structure and strength. Rhodium is chemically unreactive, corrosion-resistant, compact, and highly- reflective.
This rare metal is also 10 to 25 times more valuable than gold. These factors make white gold an ideal metal for making sentimental and long-lasting premium jewelry.
Why Is My White Gold Engagement Ring Turning Yellow After A Few Months? – Is It Normal Or Fake?
Exposure, wear, and tear affects the permanence of rhodium plating on white gold jewelry. Rhodium plating fades; the yellow you see in your ring is the gold base metal jewelers use to make it.
The best white gold ranges between 10 and 18 karats, and it’s still prone to yellowing. Karats measure the purity of a piece of gold, and 24karats are the highest attainable standard.
Luckily, the rhodium on quality white gold takes longer to wear off. If your white gold fades faster than usual, you’re probably not taking care of it properly.
A rhodium coat fades and turns yellow depending on several factors. Corners, prongs, and ridges in jewelry tend to yellow faster since your skin’s natural chemicals and oils wear down the rhodium plating.
For instance, a white gold ring yellows more on the inner circle because it touches your skin. Physical abrasion like excessive polishing and rubbing your white gold jewelry fastens yellowing. Harsh soaps, lotions, salty water, and chlorine also affect the integrity of rhodium coating.
Legally, jewelry stores are required to inform you whether a white gold piece is rhodium plated or not. If a genuine white gold ring is not plated, it tends to yellow eventually.
Yellowing is one of the ways to tell if white gold is real. In contrast, some metals react to oxygen and acquire a dull, discolored outer layer through a chemical reaction.
Jewelers who use brass, copper, bronze, and sterling silver that tarnish easily as their base metal instead of pure gold make fake white gold pieces.
How Long Does It Take For White Gold To Turn Yellow?
Quality white gold starts fading every 12 to 18 months. However, this frequency varies because each person exposes their jewelry to different factors.
The thickness of a rhodium plating also affects how long it takes for white gold to turn yellow. A thickness of .75 to 1.0 microns in a rhodium coating is ideal for the jewelry you expose to harsh conditions daily, like rings.
A thickness of .10 to .50 is the best for pieces you wear less frequently, like pendants and earrings. A rhodium plating that’s too thick makes jewelry brittle.
On the other hand, a rhodium coat that is too thin fades faster and exposes a dominant golden color within weeks of wearing white gold jewelry.
Tips For Cleaning Your White Gold Engagement Ring?
The good news is there’s hope for your yellowing white gold jewelry. Replacing its rhodium coating is the simplest way to make your ring look as good as new.
You can restore the rhodium coating on your white gold ring by replating. Unfortunately, this process requires a goldsmith’s skills and advanced equipment; you cannot DIY a rhodium plate on your jewelry.
For instance, if you cannot regulate an electrical current during replating, precious rhodium metal turns black.
Ask your partner to contact the jewelry store that made your ring for a retouch. Rhodium replating costs around $100; the prices vary based on a jeweler’s skills, quality of rhodium, and the size of your jewelry.
Some renowned jewelry retailers also offer free rhodium plating maintenance if you purchase their pieces. Other jewelers, like James Allen even offer lifetime guarantees that reduce your long-term replating costs.
If your ring has a diamond centerpiece, don’t worry. The plating doesn’t affect gemstones like diamonds because they don’t conduct electricity.
This jewelry restoration process will leave your centerpiece intact and refresh the appearance of white gold. Nonetheless, use certified goldsmiths only to avoid any mishaps on your precious jewelry.
To slow down yellowing in your white gold jewelry, avoid unnecessary contact with chlorinated or salty water, heavy oils, harsh chemicals, and abrasions to extend the lifespan of its rhodium plating. These measures will delay your trip to the goldsmith for a rhodium replate.
White gold is an excellent blend of pure gold and other metals coated with a thin layer of rhodium. Due to wear and tear, this rhodium layer wears off and exposes the natural yellow state of the gold metal base used to make white gold.
Replating is an efficient way to replace the rhodium coating on white gold. Avoid abrasives and harsh chemicals to prevent yellowing in white gold jewelry.
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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.