Why Does White Gold Jewelry Need Rhodium Plating?

White Gold Jewelry

“Renoir said once, that nothing was so difficult, and at the same time so exciting, to paint, as white on white,” said French contemporary artist Ambroise Vollard. Well, the legendary French painter Renoir, a master of feminine beauty and sensuality, wasn’t working with jewelry, but we get the drift! Crafting a piece of white gold jewelry is just as exciting because it requires a fine layer of plating to ensure that ultra-white gorgeous, glistening shimmer. Are you shopping for an engagement ring or a wedding band? Then, white gold rings must have caught your fancy. Want to find out why rhodium plating and white gold are as tight as you and your fiancé? Let us answer that.

What is Rhodium Plating on White Gold?

Firstly, let’s discuss rhodium. One of the rarest and most valuable metals in nature, it comes under the same family of noble metals, such as platinum. Its major use is in the industrial sector to prevent corrosion in automobiles. However, a small percentage of rhodium is also used in jewelry. Because of its out-of-the-ordinary rarity, rhodium is usually not used by itself to craft a jewelry piece. That will be super expensive and not at all practical! However, it is the perfect foil – literally speaking – to a white gold jewelry piece, and sometimes even silver, which tends to tarnish. A thin layer of rhodium is electroplated onto your piece of white gold jewelry to make it look shiny, bright… and, well, that heavenly white that you see!

But why does white gold need rhodium plating in the first place? Simply because it isn’t pure white, despite its name. Since it is an alloy of gold (which is yellow in its pure form) mixed with palladium, nickel, or silver, the typical color of white gold is actually a light creamy yellow. To ensure it has the same tintless color as platinum or silver, rhodium plating is quite necessary.

All curves and no angles, this 14k white gold bypass engagement ring aptly holds the diamond center stone in an east-west setting.

Ever wondered what a glamorous three-stone ring in white gold looks like? This gorgeous 14k white gold piece holds a round diamond center stone, with two smaller pear-shaped stones flanking it.

How Do I Check if My White Gold Jewelry Has Been Effectively Rhodium-Plated?

Rhodium plating thickness is very, very thin. It can be anywhere between 0.75 to 1.0 microns. Whatever the thickness, a new rhodium-plated white gold ring that hasn’t been worn at all is absolutely white (sparkling silvery white) with no hint of a yellow tinge. Authentic white gold jewelry is usually hallmarked if you look at it closely while purchasing. Also, check with your jeweler and insist on a certificate that lists details such as gold purity and rhodium plating.

What Happens When the Rhodium Plating Wears Off?

Rhodium is one of the supremely durable and resilient white metals around. Having said that, a small slice of pale, yellow metal may sometimes make itself seen and play a not-so-fun peekaboo with you. Don’t worry; this doesn’t mean your white gold is yellowing or aging. After all, it isn’t an old book or a pearl! In reality, the rhodium plating is slowly wearing off and revealing the actual color of the white gold underneath. When this happens, usually every year or two, it’s time to pay a visit to your jeweler and get it replated. In fact, the replating process also ensures that the ring gets a thorough cleaning and polish. It does not adversely impact your gemstone in any way if that is a key concern. It’s as easy as pie! Well, pristine white gold jewelry, soothing to both the eyes and heart, requires a little bit of upkeep and maintenance, but isn’t that luminous sheen worth every ounce of effort?

Glam it up, with this stunning neckpiece that features a wide curved bar pendant encrusted with glittering diamonds.

These unconventional link hoops sparkle with assorted diamonds worth 1 carat. Whether it’s an important day at work, or a casual dinner, these are sure to make heads turn.

Is It Okay to Buy White Gold Jewelry Without Rhodium Plating?

Not if you want the frosting white color of platinum or silver. But yes, you can. White gold has a beautiful champagne hue by itself if you’re confident enough to carry it off. It doesn’t need rhodium plating, which comes with additional costs. Having a natural material can be quite attractive and unique as well. However, most people buy white gold because they want something subtle and white! Not to mention convenient to style and transition across looks. The final impact that rhodium plating delivers agrees with the aesthetic tastes of those jewelry lovers. Another reason you should consider rhodium plating strongly is because it is a hypoallergenic metal. If you’re allergic to the alloys in white gold, especially nickel, this plating is a lifesaver for your super-sensitive skin. Additionally, the rhodium plating enhances the white metal’s toughness and longevity, making it more robust for everyday wear.

Are Yellow and Rose Gold Jewelry Plated with Rhodium or Any Other Metal?

When you buy rose gold or yellow gold jewelry, you obviously buy them for their unique color and appearance, apart from their properties. Why will you then plate them with silvery-white rhodium? That is a bit pointless, isn’t it? But yes, any metal can technically be plated with rhodium for its sterling qualities. Yellow gold is the natural color of gold, so even with the alloys, it stays yellow. It doesn’t need any further plating. You may think that rose gold might require plating to get its gorgeous pink-peach color, but that isn’t the case. Rose gold uses copper as an alloy, which automatically lends itself to this unique, vintage hue.

For the bride who wants to break the rules while holding onto a piece of tradition, a split shank ring is perfect. Both pave and prong-set diamonds come together in this unique 14k gold piece.

On the other hand, there’s a certain timelessness to this 14k white gold ring, with a round cut center stone and a diamond-encrusted band.

Does Rhodium Plating Reduce the Worthiness of Metal?

Definitely not. Actually, it is the complete opposite. Rhodium is a far more precious metal than white gold or even platinum! When you coat your metal in it, you’re effectively adding on a layer of something more exclusive and luxurious.

For the man in your life, pick up a beautiful wide wedding band crafted from 14k white gold. Rest assured, he will fall for your classy tastes!

How Often Should One Get Their White Gold Jewelry Replated with Rhodium?

Overlaying rhodium on your white gold jewelry piece isn’t a cumbersome task. Rhodium is a shiny liquid that gilds onto the metal with an electric current. It gives your jewelry a fresh, glistening white look. The pace at which rhodium wears off depends on one’s lifestyle, the frequency of wear, and how well the jewelry has been stored and cleaned over time. Ideally, your jewelry piece demands replating every couple of years. Replating is a low-cost and low-effort task that must be done with a jeweler of your choice every 18-24 months.

Gabriel & Co., New York, offers an exquisite array of white gold jewelry pieces – necklaces, earrings, bracelets, engagement rings, and wedding bands. Visit our selection to pick up a swoon-worthy, lustrous piece of your choice.

19 Shares:
You May Also Like