We've been getting a lot of comments about white gold. Specifically, on white gold jewelry turning yellow. To put it simply, it’s because usually white gold is given a thin coat of rhodium plating for a glorious white shine. But it will eventually wear off and you’ll need to give it a new coat.
"Is it possible for white gold to start turning after only 5 months?"
"I got a ring from a jeweller and I received my ring with the tips of the prong already looking yellow and I'm terrified they gave me an old claw or something? It's been spreading down the claw over a few months pretty quickly!"
"I got married a year ago and my wedding ring has been back to the jeweler 3 times. I have a white gold ring and in couple of months my ring looks yellow again. What can I do?"
Well, that's disappointing. Because it looks like the rhodium plating is coming off faster than it should be.
"I've had my wedding ring and engagement rings for nine years and they've only had to be rhodium dipped once. They still look like white gold and are beautiful. Don't let your day be ruined! Just pencil in your calendar about five years down the road to get them rhodium dipped. I think it's free where you purchased it. Don't worry! It costs the same as gold for a reason: it's a quality metal. :)"
A quality rhodium plating should last you for years. Let’s get into what rhodium plating is.
WHAT IS RHODIUM PLATING? HOW DOES IT WORK?
Rhodium is a type of platinum that gives your jewelry its shiny luster and reflective white look. While it is too brittle to make jewelry out of, it helps protect your jewelry from scratches. All of our white gold rings have a thin layer of rhodium to add that extra oomph.
So how does a ring get rhodium plated?
The first step is to give your ring a good, generous clean. Ideally, by a professional jeweler with a polishing machine. Any dirt or particles on the ring can cause the plating to not fuse properly with the base metal.
Your white gold ring is then dipped into a rhodium solution which requires electrical current to run through the metal. This process is called electroplating.
The rhodium plating can result in your classic white gold look, or it can be black depending on what you’re going for! Black, you ask? Yes! You can also opt for a black rhodium finish, which we currently provide for our silver wedding bands.
You can see the difference between the before and after of rhodium plating on the two rings above.
Electroplating itself doesn’t take a long time, but rhodium is chemically unreactive. This means it needs precise calculations and chemical mixing to get just the right thickness with stable color. So you want to consider the skill of the person restoring the rhodium plating on your ring.
A good rhodium-plating service costs between $60-$120 for an engagement ring in the United States, although this varies depending on the size of the ring, the desired finished effect and the thickness of the plating.
As always, you can also contact us if you want to have your Gardens of the Sun ring rhodium-plated by our team in Bali! We want to make sure that the quality of your ring is top notch. But a word of advice, our year-long Love Guarantee is voided if you get your ring modified or serviced by other jewelers.
Q & A
Does the thickness of the rhodium plating matter?
A thickness of .75 to 1.0 microns is ideal to withstand daily wear and tear. Anything thicker than that can cause the rhodium to crack easily. If it’s too thin, it can cause discoloration on your precious metal and wear off quickly.
But don't worry too much! A reputable and trusted jeweler should have a chemist board who understands the exact calculations for this.
Can I use rhodium plating on yellow gold or sterling silver too?
Rhodium is normally used on white gold and silver. Since our white gold still contains 75% gold, the white gold has a distinct golden glow. Rhodium plating covers that golden glow with a white metal shine.
You can turn your yellow gold jewelry white with rhodium plating. However, since the base metal color is distinctively gold, this metal color will show through easier and quicker.
Black rhodium can also be used to give a dark metal look to your white gold jewelry. However, the color isn't permanent, as the rhodium plating will eventually fade.Rhodium plating may also be applied to higher end silver jewelry. It helps prevent tarnishing and adds sheen.
Is rhodium plating bad or dangerous for my diamond or gemstones?
At Gardens of the Sun, we've plated rhodium on rings with rocks ranging from diamonds to opal, and they come out just fine. Diamonds don’t conduct electricity, so the electroplating process won’t damage your precious rock.
Other gemstones, like as peridot, opals, topaz, rubies and emeralds, can’t always endure sulfuric acids in the electroplating solutions.
That's why it's important to consult with your jeweler before getting your ring rhodium-plated. In most cases they can protect the gemstones.
For the ring of your lifetime, rhodium-plating is an on-going investment. Since it’s just a thin layer, it will fade over time. However, don’t plate it more often than necessary. Electroplating is a chemically harsh process. Every time your ring is rhodium plated, the old plating will be scratched out. Doing it too often might wear down your ring prematurely.
The best thing to do is just to take care of your jewelry properly. Take it off when you’re going for a dip in the ocean or the pool, or when you’re about to do your washing up. Store it in a cool dry place. Show it a lot of love, and it will love you right back.
White gold isn’t so complicated! If you’re ready to fall in love with your next white gold ring, why don’t you try designing your very own customized birthstone ring in white gold?