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White Gold Turns Yellow

So why does your beautiful White Gold Jewelry look Yellow?

It’s a very Good Question that a lot of people ask.

Jeweler’s always have to Explain what White Gold is and why it turns that Ugly Yellow Hue!

People think that their Rings aren’t REAL because it turns colors, like somehow they’ve been Ripped Off!

Truth is, you haven’t!

Changing Slowly

Most people don’t notice the change at first because it does so slowly over the course of Months and even Years. But little by little it takes on that Stained Yellowish Shade until you suddenly notice your jewelry lacks the Beauty and Shine it once had.

Many people automatically think it’s a Defect in the Jewelry or the Jeweler itself.

I’m here to tell you, IT’S NOT!

It’s actually the Metal that causes it to turn. There’s Good News and Bad to all of this. The Bad News is that it will take a little bit more upkeep, like taking your Rings in for Cleaning and Inspection.

The good news?

There are Cures and Alternatives!

So to explain the reason why, listen up!

There is no such thing as White Gold

It’s not really a secret, but you’d be surprised how few people really know this fact. There is no such thing as White Gold in nature.

White Gold is a man-made product.

Mother nature will exhibit Platinum, Steel, Tungsten, Titanium and other so called White Metals, but you won’t hear a peep about White Gold!

What is White Gold?

White Gold is basically Yellow Gold with some added Minerals like Zinc to give it a Whiter look. That’s why White Gold has a Yellowish cast to it, (see above photo) it’s really Yellow Gold to begin with! Once White Metals are added to the Gold, it’s then Rhodium Plated.

Rhodium Plating

Rhodium Plating is a Tough White Metal that is Electroplated on top of the Gold so that the Yellow Disappears! Almost all White Gold Jewelry is Rhodium Plated to make them a Brighter and more Beautiful!

So why go through all the trouble with White Gold anyway?

Back in the time Jewelers used to make a lot of Jewelry out of Platinum. That is, until World War II demanded that Platinum! With Platinum coming off the market, Jewelers needed a substitute for White Metal Rings. Hence…

White Gold was Born!

White Gold has been popular ever since, especially since it’s about 4 times Cheaper than Platinum. White Gold has great endurance and durability and takes on a Great High Polish, surprisingly, even Brighter than Platinum which is more of a Gun-Metal Gray.

White Gold is actually easier to work with too, just ask any Jeweler designing it!

Why is it Yellow?

It still doesn’t solve your problem of a “Yellow” looking Ring now does it? What you’re seeing when your rings and Jewelry are looking Yellow is the Rhodium Plating wearing off. Rubbing off through normal Wear and Tear.

That’s the biggest down-side to White Gold, it’s not a True White Metal!

How fast the Rhodium wears off depends on how often you wear your Jewelry and what it comes in contact with, like Chemicals, Abrasions, Detergents and even your own Body Acids!

White Gold can last a Lifetime

All you have to do is have it replated whenever it starts to turn Yellow. Replating it will always make your Jewelry sparkle and shine with Life and Beauty!

Can you prevent your Rhodium Plating from wearing off?

Not that I’m aware of and that’s just because it is what it is…


Over time, it will Dull, Scratch and Wear off. It’s just a Fact! Take it in to your local Jeweler and have them Polish and Re-Rhodium Plate it again!

And if you’re still unhappy…

Buy Platinum!

Recommended Jewelry Supplies:

Ultrasonic Jewelry Cleaner Jewelry Steam Cleaner Complete Jewelry Cleaner Kit Diamond Dazzle Stick
Gold Silver Jewelry Polishing Cloths Jewelry Making Supplies Kit Gold Acid Test Kit Watch Tool Repair Kit
Ring Adjusters EMT Emergency Ring Cutter 10x Jewelers Loupe Jewelers Microscope

Recommended Jewelry Supplies:

Ultrasonic Jewelry Cleaner Jewelry Steam Cleaner
Complete Jewelry Cleaner Kit Diamond Dazzle Stick
Gold Silver Jewelry Polishing Cloths Jewelry Making Supplies Kit
Gold Acid Test Kit Watch Tool Repair Kit
Ring Adjusters EMT Emergency Ring Cutter
10x Jewelers Loupe Jewelers Microscope


  1. White gold was actually a substitute for platinum during and just after WWI, when platinum was first declared a strategic metal for that War effort, and it was not available to produce consumer goods like wedding bands, and other jewelry. The appearance on the market in the middle teens is testament to that. I’ve done quite a bit of research over the years, and my grandparents and great grandparents experienced that restriction during the years of World War I.
    David Belais of Belais Brothers was the man who got 18kt white gold patented in 1920, after submitting it to the trades in 1917, and applying for the patent in 1918. It became so popular in the 20’s as a substitute for platinum in wedding jewelry, because although every young woman dreamed of platinum wedding rings, not every young man could afford It! It became known as “Belais metal” and vintage pieces of it can still be found on antique jewelry sites today. It’s all 18kt white gold, using zinc and nickel as the bleaching agents, so if you have nickel issues, probably best to go with platinum instead. Or more current alloys using Palladium instead to bleach it white. It’s a little more expensive in the short term, but doesn’t require rhodium plating maintenance in the long run!

  2. Yes, indeed. You certainly could. A 1 carat diamond, in the OEC style cut, or the cushion cuts from the previous generation’s jewelry that became the most marvelous hand me downs and heirlooms! Gold in all colors – yellow, white, rose and even green! No rhodium plating yet on white gold, and multitone pieces were certainly made of the different colors that were represented, not faked by selective plating.

    And the pieces made with fine, handmade platinum filigree were just magnificent. Art Deco design, and the Edwardian era just before that gave us so many exquisite styles and designs, handmade, many one of a kind, that are just the most gorgeous pieces of “eye candy” ever! Art Deco gave us big eye catching pieces with clean lines, and large, clear, bright, colorful stones too. Brilliant cut diamonds were still yet to come, but the transitional cuts, and the OEC cut from just before that, surely gave us some lovely pieces.

    If you’d like to see an entire catalog of handmade and beautifully partly machine made designs of every kind of jewelry popular in 1923, go here:

    www. illusionjewels .com/jrwood.html

    Its the J. R. Wood & Sons wholesale catalog, the forerunner of Art Carved jewelry. It shows some of the most beautifully hand carved seamless wedding ringþs, for women, plus a line for men, as well, in beautiful florals, with which he has been credited with introducing on the jewelry market.

    There are also pictures scattered throughout the book showing the facility that Mr. Wood had custom built in New York City, several stories high, with enormous glass windows to let in a vast amount of natural daylight for the men AND women to work by. It looks, from the photo shown, that the majority of employees working in the section labeled “Carving, Engraving, and Matting Department” that most of them are young women!

    They had some of the most state of the art facilities there – special time-stamp clocks to keep track of the time each operation took on the production paperwork that went with each piece, among many other things. Also a restaurant where the staff could purchase high quality meals at cost, and a small store run likewise.

    Just make sure that you use the links just above the picture section on each page to advance to additional sections, labeled “Page 1”, “Page 2”, etc, otherwise you’ll miss most of the catalog!

    There is another site, which shows numerous antique jewelry catalogs, including many pages put of the 1919 J.R. Wood catalog, along with actual pieces which are examples of their fine workmanship. Located here:

    www. morninggloryantiques .com/JewelChatJRWood.htm

    This one also provides more detailed descriptions of the facility, and its many benefits for the workers. Numerous catalog pages are provided, although not along the same lines as the 1923 catalog. But still extremely informative all the same, including the wholesale pricing to the jewelers who order from them!

    I happened to stumble across a page illustrating “14kt gold and diamond lavaliers” and found a style I own, which had belonged to a great aunt who lost her fiancé during the “Great War,” or more commonly known to us as World War I, and never wore it for her own wedding, as first intended. So, in 1976, I wore it with MY wedding gown, and again one year later for our 1st anniversary portrait.

    It’s further back in the pages, labeled at the top as I described, and is located at the bottom right corner of the page, with a triple drop of concentric circles, the top one smaller than the one after it, and repeated three times, each one centered with a small, OEC cut diamond. It’s quite lovely. And, at the time, I could wear it on the 15″ chain on which it came! No way could that happen now!

    Anyway, hope you find those links helpful. Let me know what you think! I adore them – but, then I would, right?

  3. Charles Beck // September 2, 2023 at 5:59 pm // Reply

    I have a white gold wedding ring and it is stamped inside with “14K FG”. It has had 12 years of hard use with plenty of abrasion, but it is still the nice white silvery color it was the day it was put on my ring finger by my bride. I don’t believe my ring was rhodium plated because the layering would show in the abrasions. I don’t understand why it is said that white gold turns yellow, because my white gold ring is still very white after 12 years.

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