Why Does White Gold Turn Yellow? Tarnishing Explained
White gold is a durable and high quality alternative to sterling silver. Because it doesn’t tarnish, it can be more convenient than silver. However, white gold can also change colors over time. The most common complaint about white gold is that it has turned yellow. Not only can you fix white gold that has turned yellow, you can also prevent it from changing colors in the first place (though not forever).
It’s important to remember that even the highest quality jewelry can undergo changes over time. Gold and silver are metals, and they can experience gradual chemical reactions (and even wear). You should also be aware that “white gold” is actually gold mixed with other metals, such as nickel, platinum, or palladium. Most gold is combined with other metals to make it stronger and better suited for jewelry, and white gold is simply one option.
What Causes White Gold To Yellow?
Although it may appear that your white gold jewelry has tarnished, white gold doesn’t actually tarnish – rather it changes color to its natural state, which is yellow gold.
This is because white gold is comprised mostly of gold – which is yellow. 14K white gold contains 59% pure yellow gold and 18K white gold contains 75% pure yellow gold. All gold jewelry is alloyed, or mixed, with other metals to strengthen the metal because jewelry is not made from 100% pure gold (24K), which is way too malleable for jewelry.
The white gold turns yellow when the rhodium plating wears off, which is very common. The rhodium plating wears off for many reasons including exposure to chemicals, perfumes, sweat, and general day-to-day wear. The rhodium plating will wear off quickly if the coating is too thin. The thicker the coating of rhodium, the longer the white gold will maintain its brilliant white color
How to Prevent White Gold Turning Yellow
Rhodium plating will always wear off and the speed at which this happens simply depends on the wearer. It could take years however if you are more hands on, this could take a matter of weeks.
Rhodium plating involves maintenance as you have to re plate your rings quite a few times in a lifetime, but this is the best option not only to restore your white metal’s brilliance, but to prevent it from yellowing in the future.
Looking for exciting, brilliant white gold jewellery? Come in and chat with a Jenna Clifford consultant today!