Most people know by now, that 14kt White Gold is Rhodium Plated to look Whiter.
If you don’t know yet, you can read my post about “White Gold Turning Yellow” It talks about Rhodium Plating and why White Gold is Rhodiumed.
This is all fine and dandy if we’re talking about plating White Gold…
But what if we’re talking about Yellow Gold?
Can you actually take a 14kt Yellow Gold Ring and Rhodium Plate it so it looks White?
The Answer: Yes and No!
You see, it can be done… Or should I say, it can be tried!
The funny thing about Yellow Gold is, you never know if the Rhodium Plating will stick or not. You just don’t know if it’ll actually adhere to the surface of the Ring or Jewelry.
What is Rhodium Plating?
Rhodium Plating is a Durable White Metal (Not a variety of Gold or Platinum, but it’s own Metal) that’s used to turn Rings White. The Plating is Heated up in a Glass Jar on a Burner. An Electrical Connector is Clipped onto the Ring and it’s lowered down into the Heated Up Rhodium. The Electrical Current makes the Liquid Metal Cling to the Ring plating it in the process.
Sometimes when you pull the Yellow Gold Ring back up and out of the jar, it looks White! Sometimes the Rhodium Plating works as expected and it looks great.
Other times, it’s Hit or Miss!
Sometimes you’ll pull the Ring up and out of the Liquid and it’ll look Patchy with Yellow and White Spots. The Rhodium is Electroplated to some sections of the Ring, but not others.
Sometimes dunking it back in a couple more times will do the trick. Sometimes it takes a couple more tries to coat the Entire Ring in a White Plating. Other times, it’s useless! Some Yellow Gold Rings, depending on the Carat Content and Alloys in the Ring, just won’t allow the Rhodium Plating to stick.
Sometimes the Ring will look White, but upon closer inspection, you’ll see the nooks and crannies did not take. The cracks and crevices are still Yellow looking. Usually around the base of the head or the underside of the Ring are hard spots to get to. Jewelers do the best they can to get it right, but it doesn’t always turn out pretty!
So Why Rhodium Plate Jewelry?
Why would one even want to attempt this process? Why would you want to Rhodium Plate a Yellow Gold Ring? Lots of reasons! Say your Diamond Engagement Ring is Yellow Gold and all your other Jewelry is White Gold. You may want to have that Ring Plated White so it matches the others.
Sometimes people just tire of Yellow Gold and want to try a whole new look. White Gold and other White Metals have been very popular and a lot of people are making the switch to White!
You can even find rings on the market that are actually Solid 14kt Yellow Gold, but have parts of it Rhodium Plated to look White. It can give the impression that the Ring is two-tone, but of course it’s not!
Sometimes Jewelers will Rhodium around Gemstones or Diamonds to make them stand out more, or just Rhodium Plate the tips of prongs to make them look White.
Eventually this Rhodium Plating will Wear off!
Eventually your Ring will look Yellow again. No problem. You can always have it replated. It doesn’t really harm the Ring. And if you grow tired of the White look, you can always have the Plating buffed and polished off so it looks Yellow again.
It’s a great way to test the water. Say you have a Yellow Gold Wedding Ring and you’ve been thinking about having it remade into White Gold or Platinum. It’s a big decision and a lot of money.
People are always curious about this, but don’t do it because they’re scared of not liking it. This is why Plating is such a great thing for testing. You can have your Yellow Gold Ring plated to help you decide.
It’s inexpensive (versus having a whole new ring made) to do and it’ll help you decide if you want to take the big step and have your Rings remade or not.
What’s to Lose?
Either way, you don’t really lose much, and since plating won’t depreciate the value of your Rings, I say go for it! Rhodium Plating normally costs around $25. That’s not too bad, considering the cost of Gold and Platinum these days.
So if you have a Yellow Gold Ring and are thinking about switching to White Gold, maybe Rhodium is the way to go?
You’ll never know until you Plate it!