A lot of people prefer white gold jewelry over platinum because it typically has a more reflective and shinier radiance. However, that’s because white gold jewelry is commonly rhodium-plated to give it that bright white, silvery gleam.
If you feel like you’re noticing a brassy look coming from your white gold ring or other jewelry, you’re probably right. You’re not imagining it, your jewelry really was bright white and shining when you first got it.
When you start to notice this, it’s likely your layer of rhodium has worn off.
If you want that bright white luster again, then it’s time to get it re-plated.
Start With An Experienced Jeweler
An experienced local jeweler can re-plate your white gold with rhodium so when you look down you’ll see that brilliant gleaming ring once again.
Diamonds and most gemstones do not have to be removed to re-plate a piece of jewelry. But be aware, only an experienced, knowledgeable jeweler will know which gemstones to be careful with when re-plating.
For instance, pearls would need to be removed and re-set to plate a piece of jewelry. Therefore, greatly raising the price for your re-plating.
On this page, we’ll answer some common plating questions, including:
- Does white gold turn yellow over time?
- What is rhodium plating?
- How often will my white gold jewelry need to be rhodium plated?
- What’s a reasonable price for plating services?
Why Does White Gold Turn Yellow Over Time?
All gold, including white, green and rose gold, starts out yellow. Alloys are added to change their natural yellow color.
For example, nickel is added to get white gold and copper is added to get rose gold. The thing is when nickel is added to make it white you may still notice some yellow undertones.
Consequently, it’s common for jewelry manufacturers to apply a very thin plating of rhodium over white gold pieces. Because rhodium does not oxidize it stays shiny and highly reflective.
Unfortunately, over time this rhodium plating will likely fade with the normal “wear and tear” of everyday life.
What is Rhodium Plating?
Rhodium is a silver-white metal from the platinum family. Ounce for ounce, rhodium is more costly than gold and is commonly used for plating purposes for its shiny brilliant qualities.
For many people, when they notice their jewelry is looking brassy it’s time to have the rhodium reapplied to get back that crisp brilliant white.
Rhodium plating is a process where we apply rhodium with electroplating that adds a thin coating to your jewelry. Other than the newly brightened metal, your ring or other jewelry should look exactly the same afterward. Like brand new!
How Often Will My White Gold Jewelry Need to Be Rhodium Plated?
It’s just a fact of life, plated metals will wear off over time. Your lifestyle and when and how much you wear your jewelry has everything to do with how long the Rhodium plating will last.
So, unfortunately, there is NO GUARANTEE, but most Rhodium plating will last at least a year.
On that note, let’s share some info on some of the worst culprits that wear down jewelry plating:
- Chlorine & saltwater – DO NOT swim in your jewelry.
- Soaps & detergents – DO NOT bathe in your jewelry and don’t clean your house wearing jewelry.
- Chemicals – put jewelry on AFTER applying hair sprays, perfume & other similar products. Again, no house cleaning or gardening!
- Body oils, sweat & natural acids – unavoidable, but DO NOT exercise or workout in your jewelry.
- Rubbing – another unavoidable, most common with insides of rings and wearing more than one ring to a finger.
Rhodium Plating Cost
Keep in mind that every piece of jewelry is unique. Therefore, a jeweler will need to actually see your jewelry before they can give an exact price quote for plating.
Generally, the price will be the same whether the plating is rhodium for silver/white metals or 14K yellow gold for yellow metals.
Here is a ballpark idea of the cost of Rhodium plating in Austin, Texas, jewelry stores:
- an average ring: $45
- an average bracelet: $65
- re-plating your jewelry after a repair: $25