Why is My White Gold Turning Yellow?

Est. Reading: 3 minutes
November 23, 2023
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Have you recently noticed that your once gleaming white gold jewellery is starting to look a little less shiny, or even a bit yellowish?

This can be extremely frustrating, especially when your jewellery is new or particularly expensive – but don't worry, you're not alone!

In this article, we'll explain why white gold turns yellow, how to avoid it, and where to find higher-quality white gold for a long-term maximum shine – helping you keep your precious pieces looking their very best for even longer!

Why does white gold turn yellow?

White gold is a popular material in jewellery manufacture thanks to its durability, elegance, and versatility. In spite of this, white gold is not actually natural – instead, it’s a man-made metal that’s created by mixing or ‘plating’ pure yellow gold with other metals to give it a white appearance.

Traditionally one of the most common metals used to plate yellow gold, ‘rhodium’ is rare precious metal that’s naturally white and lustrous.

One major downside to rhodium-plated white gold though, is that when the rhodium plating on the surface wears off, it can begin to expose the yellowish tint of the natural gold underneath. This can happen over time with normal wear and tear, or from exposure to harsh chemicals or other external factors.

How do I prevent my white gold from turning yellow?

There are a few ways to prevent white gold from turning yellow:

  • Avoid exposing your jewellery to harsh chemicals: Household chemicals such as chlorine and bleach can easily damage plated white gold and cause the outer white layer to wear more quickly.
  • Remove your jewellery during activities that could cause damage: Activities such as gardening or exercising in the gym can cause scratches or damage to your jewellery – this can cause the outer white plating to wear off more quickly.
  • Have your jewellery professionally cleaned and re-plated: If you own rhodium-plated white gold jewellery, and notice the rhodium plating on your is beginning to wear off, it’s always a good idea to have it frequently cleaned and re-plated by a professional jeweller. This will help to restore the bright, reflective surface of the jewellery and prevent it from taking on a yellowish appearance.

Are there alternatives to rhodium-plated white gold?

Yes, there are higher quality white gold alloy alternatives that are created to be naturally white without the need for rhodium plating.

These alloys usually contain a higher percentage of palladium – another durable and naturally white platinum-group precious metal. These alloys can be more expensive than traditional white gold alloys, but they offer the advantage of not needing to be re-plated with rhodium.

Only the highest-quality white gold jewellery at Martin Gear Jewellers

At Martin Gear Jewellers, we’ve been manufacturing, selling, cleaning, and re-plating our customers’ white gold jewellery for decades, right from our Dublin City centre shop.

As part of our own in-house white gold creations though, we believe in using only high-quality palladium-based white gold for our 18-carat jewellery, as well as only the newest 10-carat white gold for our standard white gold.

This ensures that our customers receive the best quality, longest-lasting jewellery possible, whilst also avoiding any need for frequent rhodium re-plating.

Many other jewellers try and save money using traditional white gold – but not us! Although palladium-based white gold costs more to produce, we always absorb the difference into our own manufacturing costs!

Ready to learn more?

To learn more about our high-quality workmanship and our white gold jewellery that’s made for long-term maximum shine, simply drop into our store on 5 Mary St, Dublin 1, or alternatively, just give us a call on (01) 872 8726.

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