Why white gold looks yellow

The million dollar question… So why does my stunning White Gold Jewellery turns slightly yellowish in colour?

It’s a question that gets asked time and time again, and we as Jewellers keep answering it.

Many people automatically think it’s a defect in the jewellery or the jeweller itself. They think that their white gold rings aren’t REAL because it turns yellowish, like somehow there is a defect. Well this simply isn’t the case.

There is nothing wrong with your ring.

The facts are:

There is no such thing as White Gold

It’s not a secret, but it’s surprising how few people really know this fact. When gold is mined it is a bright yellow colour.
White Gold is a man-made product.

What is White Gold?

We don’t wear 24ct gold for many reasons, first of all it is too soft, secondly it is too expensive and thirdly 24ct gold is too yellow for many.

What happens is, other metals (alloys) get added to the gold. The old hardness can thus be manipulated and the colour can be enhanced. To get 18ct other alloys are added. So 14ct or 9ct gold.

To get the gold a whiter colour for white gold, you add white alloys i.e. silver, zink, palladium etc., so basically white gold is yellow gold that has been bleached with white metals to get the white colour. That’s why White Gold has a Yellowish shine to it; it is actually Yellow Gold to begin with! White gold is then Rhodium Plated to get that sparkling mirror-white colour.

Rhodium Plating

Rhodium Plating is a metal that is electroplated on top of white gold to give your jewellery that bright white finish, covering the yellow shine of the original article. Rhodium Plating doesn’t last for ever though. How fast the Rhodium wears off depends on how often you wear your Jewellery and what it comes in contact with, like chemicals, abrasions, detergents and even your own body acids!

To keep your jewellery looking beautifully bright & white, bring it in once maybe twice a year for a clean and re-plating. Not only will your jewellery have a longer life, it will stay beautiful for longer.

Why white gold?

White Gold is popular for many reasons, most of all because it is about 3 times cheaper than Platinum. This is due to many factors:

  1. Platinum is more scarce that gold thus it’s price is higher per gram.
  2. Platinum is a denser metal thus for the same quantity used it is heavier thus costs more.
  3. It is basically a “pure” metal 95%, whereas gold (as explained above) is mixed with alloys, 18ct = 75% pure gold, 9ct = 37.5% pure gold.

… back to education