"My white gold ring is turning yellow - it needs to be "dipped."
It took me awhile, early on, to know what that observation and request actually meant. The yellowing, which usually starts at the back of the ring shank, is actually the real color of the white gold showing after the rhodium plating has worn off.Most white gold, silver and platinum jewelry purchased in retail stores is plated with rhodium - a very precious metal related to platinum - in order to make it all look shiny and bright. The actual color of each white metal doesn't look like chrome. Sterling silver is the familiar soft grey, platinum is a pure grey and white gold is actually a warm grey because it is 59 percent elemental yellow gold. In order to bleach the yellow gold to appear white, other metals are alloyed with it, including nickel, fine silver and zinc. Palladium and other metals are used as well. The use of rhodium plating is mostly cosmetic and does not affect the durability of the design.
I usually do not rhodium-plate my custom designs because I appreciate the color distinctions of the various metals and am aware that using it sets up an unrealistic expectation - and the need for re-plating to maintain the whiteness. However, some designs benefit from it.
We are always happy to discuss the pros and cons of any jewelry-making technique, helping you figure out the best ones for your project.
See you at the Studio!
Three Monroe Parkway, Suite I
Lake Oswego, OR 97035