It’s natural for white gold to fade, sometimes yellowing, here’s why. Most white gold rings are flash plated with a very, very thin coating of rhodium (a pure white metal) to give them a more brilliant, pure white appearance. This rhodium plating will wear off over time and reveal the white gold ring underneath. Because pure gold is very yellow, no matter how much you alloy it with other white metals like zinc and nickel, it will almost always retain some of its yellowish body color.

How to Return White Gold to White

With minimal maintenance, your jeweler can return white gold jewelry to its original white shine. Most bench jewelers at professional jewelry stores, like members of Jewelers of America, can easily re-plate a white gold ring with rhodium for very little cost. Also, many manufacturers will re-plate the rings they sell. 

If you want a truly white metal that won’t require any future re-plating, buy jewelry in platinum or palladium that is naturally pure white in color.

What is Rhodium Plating?

Rhodium is a silver white metal that belongs to the platinum group of metals. It does not oxidize and maintains a bright white appearance. Rhodium plating is often performed on gold and silver jewelry to enhance their white, reflective appearance. For white gold jewelry and rings, jewelers will apply a microscopic layer of rhodium to 14K or 18K white gold by an electroplating procedure.

How Often Does White Gold Need Replating?

The frequency and in what activities you wear your white gold rings and jewelry affects how often your white gold jewelry may require a touch up. Often you won't need to take your white gold jewelry in for replating for years. If you think you see your white gold rings yellowing or fading in their white shine, visit your local, reputable Jewelers of America jeweler who can advise you.


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