Why is my white gold ring changing color? Is it really yellow gold and just plated in white gold? Does white gold really even exist? Is white gold a form of platinum or silver? These are all questions we hear on a regular basis. So we have made it our mission to educate all of our clients about white gold, and what rhodium plating is.
So let’s start from the beginning… Gold is yellow. That is the color it is when it is mined out of the earth. In order to make white gold, white alloys are added to the pure gold to make the color as white as possible. What are alloys? Alloys are metals that are mixed with the pure gold to change the karat of the gold. Pure gold is 24K (100% gold), 18k gold is 75% pure, 14K gold is 58.5% pure, and 10K gold is 41.7% pure. There are many different types of alloys that can be used. Nickel, palladium, copper, zinc and the list goes on. Different alloys are used for different reasons. For example, if you were making rose gold, you would want to use more copper then perhaps nickel. This is because the copper would add a pinker color to the gold, whereas the nickel would add a whiter color.
When making white gold, these white alloys are added in to the pure gold. The white gold will still have a warm, slightly yellow tinted coloring to it. In order to give white gold the bright white color we know and love, it is then rhodium plated. Rhodium is a precious metal that is super white and is from the platinum family. This is an electro magnetic process in which the rhodium will coat the gold. This is done a few times, and the end result is a bright white piece of jewelry.
Rhodium plating does wear off over time. On average wedding rings and engagement rings need to be re-plated about every two years. This varies from person to person depending on your skin, the products you use, and how often you are wearing the piece.
The good news is: it won’t chip or flake off! Just wear off over time & then you can get it re-plated! We do offer rhodium plating here in store. It usually takes a day or two, and is $60 an item. Let us know if we can help 😉