White Gold is a mixture of gold, metals, and plating.
White gold is just as pure as its yellow counterparts, but it begs the question then, why is my white gold turning yellow? Well, technically, it’s not! There is no such thing as white gold. Gold is just that, regardless of what hue it appears once fashioned for its end use. Gold in its most natural form is red yellow in color. Pure gold (24K) is also very soft, so it is often mixed with other metals to increase its strength and durability. These other metals are what tend to change the hues of gold.
“White gold” is mixed with white metal alloys, such as zinc, nickel, manganese, silver, platinum or palladium to create this whitish hue. However, this does not account for the beautiful, sparkly white gold you typically get when you purchase white gold jewelry.
After the gold is mixed with the appropriate white metals for the end use and to get as close to a white color as possible (typically closer to a pale brown or yellow color), the jewelry is then dipped into rhodium for a layer of polished, white protection. Rhodium is a very precious metal and is typically not used for making jewelry; however, its dazzling white, mirror-like shine make it perfect for plating.
This plating not only offers a more durable finish but a bright white finish that complements your diamonds and precious gemstones. So, while white gold looks great when it is new, its rhodium plating wears off with time, revealing the lower yellowish layer of white gold. White gold was created as a substitute for the more expensive platinum, which offered the gleaming white complement to your gems-and to some skin tones, but at a cost. Even with the need to re-plate your white gold jewelry every couple of years, it is still seen as the more cost effective option, because when platinum scratches and becomes dull, the layers of platinum are polished away with the years of use, whereas white gold can just be re-dipped, retaining the original composition of the actual gold piece.
So, although we don’t recommend you try to scour the West Coast for nuggets of white gold, we do recommend you come visit us to see the many different uses of rhodium and white gold in our vast selection of jewelry and even in our watches and accessories. Pav & Broome also offers re-plating of white gold for years of continued sparkle and shine.