Can White Gold Change Color?

Close up of the gold prongs on a white gold tennis bracelet. 

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There are many different colors of gold, including the ever-popular shade of white gold. Jewelry in white gold is timeless and effortlessly stylish, allowing gemstones and diamonds to look their very best. Many of today’s most popular engagement rings and wedding bands feature white gold settings. 

Due to white gold’s unique construction, it may require a little more care than other metals such as yellow gold or platinum . Depending on your body chemistry and your skin’s interactions with white gold, you may find that your white gold jewelry looks like it’s changed colors over the years. But there’s no need to worry, it’s easy to get your white gold back to its original shine and shade.

All About White Gold’s Color

To understand why white gold jewelry may look different over time, it’s important to first understand what gives this precious metal its unique color. White gold brings a silvery, chrome-like white and gray shining metal color. This shade is popular as it works wonderfully with the styles, skin tones and budgets of many people. It’s a lightweight and affordable precious metal that’s perfect for all kinds of fine jewelry

White gold is not just yellow gold with a different plating. Instead, it’s a unique alloy of gold, copper, zinc and nickel or palladium. This combination gives white gold its namesake color, which is solidified further with a final finish of rhodium plating. The rhodium plating gives white gold jewelry its colorless shine and adds increased durability to the jewelry as this metal is hard-wearing 

Without rhodium plating, white gold can often have a duller gray appearance with pale yellow undertones. The yellow undertones are not from tarnishing, but rather from the precious metal’s special alloy mixture. 

Because white gold receives a thin layer of rhodium plating, this plating can wear off under certain circumstances. Unique body chemistry, abrasive cleaning techniques, chemical exposure and natural elements can all wear away this rhodium plating over time. This is what leads many people to believe that their white gold has changed color. 

Why is My White Gold Turning Yellow?

Over time, your white gold jewelry may look like it has changed color and yellowed. White gold does not actually change color, but instead its base color may be revealed as time goes on. When white gold’s shining, more colorless rhodium plating wears away, the yellow undertone alloy beneath may show through. This can result in a white gold ring that looks more yellow, with champagne hues or patchy gray color. 

But not to worry, restoring your white gold jewelry back to its original color and shine is a quick process.

How to Restore White Gold’s Color

The fastest way to restore your white gold’s original color is to have its rhodium plating reapplied. A jeweler can redip your white gold jewelry, restoring its original rhodium plating and helping the jewelry look good as new. 

FAQs About White Gold Yellowing

No, yellowing is not a sign of problems with your white gold jewelry. It is not bad, nor is it a sign of tarnish, it simply means that your jewelry’s rhodium plating needs to be reapplied. 

White gold is made by creating an alloy of gold, copper, zinc and nickel or palladium. This alloy is often finished with a rhodium plating, which creates the iconic look of white gold jewelry. 

White gold is a leading choice for all types of jewelry, including pieces with gemstones or diamonds. White gold allows a gem’s colors to shine and perfectly enhances the look of many diamonds. You can choose white gold earrings, necklaces, rings and bracelets.

Technically, white gold does not change color. Instead, its rhodium plating may fade over time and reveal the alloy beneath which often has a yellow undertone. This causes many people to believe that their white gold jewelry has changed color. 

Cleaning white gold is simple at home, you can use a specialized jewelry cleaner or a mixture of warm water and detergent-free dish soap. Soak your jewelry in the cleaning solution, then use a soft-bristled toothbrush to remove any debris Many jewelry stores can clean your white gold further with polishing and specialized cleaning equipment. 

White gold is not generally prone to tarnish. The color change many people believe is tarnish is actually the result of the jewelry’s rhodium plating fading.

This precious metal has a color like platinum and sterling silver. It has a shining metallic gray color similar to chrome. Its signature color is achieved with the metal’s unique alloying and its rhodium plating. 

If you’re wondering whether or not white gold turns yellow, it does not actually change color. Your white gold likely looks like it’s turning yellow because it’s rhodium plated. As this plating wears off, the gold’s true color underneath becomes more visible. This color often has a yellow undertone, which is why it can look like white gold jewelry is turning yellow. 

It is not guaranteed that your white gold will have its rhodium plating fade and appear to change color. There are many factors that influence whether or not your jewelry will lose its plating including your own body chemistry, how often you wear your jewelry and what you do when wearing your white gold pieces. 

White gold has remained a popular choice for jewelry of all styles. It’s a great pick for women’s and men’s engagement rings, tennis bracelets, diamond stud earrings and gemstone jewelry. It is considered an affordable alternative to platinum jewelry

Caring for White Gold Jewelry

18k and 14k white gold jewelry is durable enough for daily wear. To keep your white gold looking its best, routinely clean your pieces and use a jewelry polishing cloth to restore shine. If your white gold jewelry looks like it’s changing color, it may be time to visit your jeweler to have your pieces redipped to restore their rhodium plating. 

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