Why white gold turns yellow on your finger: Composition components, causes of yellowing, and ways to prevent it

White Gold has a great popularity among jewelry lovers. And no wonder: white jewelry looks expensive and noble. Unfortunately, white maybe go yellowThe white gold is not the same, which makes the appearance of the jewelry worse. So why does white gold turn yellow? Can it turn yellow? Your favorite piece of jewelry has lost its noble color: what can I do?

How white gold is obtained: composition, characteristics. The need for rhodium-plating white gold for beauty and protection

Before we talk about how to tarnish of a noble metal, you should consider whether it tends to change color.

Pure gold is yellow in color. But it is not suitable for jewelry, simply by pressing it, a ring or a bracelet becomes deformed. The jewelry industry uses ligatures, which are admixtures of gold alloy with other metals. Metallic impurities affect the hardness and color of the resulting alloy. For example, silver, palladium, platinum, or nickel are added to the ligature to produce a white color:

  • Silver - noble metal is often added to alloys; it makes the finished jewelry cheaper and gives it a white color;
  • Platinum is an expensive metal; it is used to make high quality jewelry;
  • Palladium is rarely used because it is more commonly used in the production of medical instruments;
  • Nickel is an allergen; jewelers use it in limited quantities; to save money, this metal is added to alloys by unscrupulous manufacturers.
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It is not uncommon for metals in an alloy to interact, causing the jewelry to change color. Yellowed gold looks like cheap burned-out metal. To prevent white gold from turning yellow, it is rhodium-plated.

This is the process of rhodium plating in order to make the jewelry lustrous, corrosion-resistant, and durable. A layer of rhodium is usually only about 1 to 25 microns thick. This is enough to protect the jewelry from external influences.

White gold ring
White Gold Engagement Rings

Why white gold can turn yellow

A white gold bracelet or chain has turned yellow - the question immediately arises: why? There are several reasons for the yellowish tint:

  1. We wear ourselves for a long time and sweat. We rarely think about it, but human sweat is saturated with various salts and acids. When it interacts with metals, it is a good reactant. If a person sweats a lot, his or her precious metal jewelry will turn yellow. It is recommended not to wear jewelry during hot weather or during excessive physical work. Another reason for sweating is a hormonal disorder. Teenagers, women during pregnancy, breastfeeding, and menopause can sweat profusely. Perspiration can be the result of withdrawal from the body of drugs taken. In all these cases gold jewelry It is not recommended to wear it.
  2. The rhodium is past its expiration date. Although rhodium plating is a reliable process, it does not last very long. Rhodium can wear off as a result of rubbing against the skin. For this reason, it is advisable to rhodium-plate your gold items after three to five years.
  3. Mechanical damage. Gold jewelry should not be polished and buffed all the time, much less by yourself. These actions will cause the jewelry to yellow, as well as scratches on it.
  4. Cleaning with abrasives. At home, such substances as salt and soda are often used when cleaning gold. They are really effective in cleaning products from dirt and return to the former gloss, but they do it delicately. Salt and baking soda can leave scratches.
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Also, dirt is the culprit for yellowing. Dust and dirt particles deposited on the surface of the jewelry make it cloudy, so it turns yellow. Sometimes it is enough to hold the jewelry under tap water to make it shine again.

As you can see, high-quality white gold cannot turn yellow. There are causes for yellowing, and they can be prevented or eliminated.

White Gold
White gold ring

What white gold won't turn yellow

It won't turn yellow. fine goldThe holder is made of a quality alloy. Nothing is a threat to gold jewelry, which is carefully stored and regularly cleaned of dirt.

How to return the whiteness of the product, what to do, methods of prevention

Any problem is easier to prevent than to correct. To keep white gold from turning yellow, you need to store it properly, take care of it in a timely manner. Simple preventive measures can help maintain the noble whiteness:

  1. Keep all available jewelry separately. White gold in one container, classic yellow in another. Keep silver, gemstones, and costume jewelry separately. You can keep your jewelry in its native boxes. You can buy special lockers for jewelry.
  2. It is necessary to avoid contact of the jewelry with chemicals. If your hands are treated with creams, rings should be removed from your fingers. All jewelry should be removed when bathing in swimming pools and ponds, when visiting bathhouses and saunas. If your home is cleaned with detergents and cleaning agents, it should also be done without jewelry.
  3. It is not advisable to polish gold jewelry yourself. A damaged ring or bracelet is almost impossible to repair. It is better to trust a jeweler. A specialist will polish the precious metal with special tools and means. Give a gold ring to the jeweler for grinding is much cheaper than buying a new one later.

As you can see, caring for white gold is quite simple. Timely preventive measures will prolong the life of gold jewelry for many years.

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Ways to professionally restore the whiteness of gold

Bleaching gold is a common process in jewelry.

Correcting ring deformation
Jeweler's Bleaching of White Gold

Galvanization: Rhodium treatment under the influence of current and electrolysis process

Galvanization in simple words is gilding. If you have heard the term "electroplated gold"The process of electroplating is more about enhancing the positive characteristics of the noble metal. The electroplating process is mostly used to enhance the positive characteristics of the noble metal. Rhodium electroplating is the application of a metal that looks like silver by means of an electric current. How this process works:

  • the bathtub is filled with rhodium solution;
  • cleaned jewelry is placed in the solution;
  • electrodes are used to send an electric current;
  • The rhodium is deposited on the gold piece when exposed to electricity.

Electroplated gold takes on a noble color and luster, becomes strong, heat-resistant, corrosion and oxidation resistant.

White gold rhodium plating
Rhodium plating jewelry

Immersion in rhodium solution as a cheaper method

Rhodium belongs to the platinum group, it is significantly more expensive noble metals. Rhodium is valued at 10 times the price of gold. Often the plating is done by immersing the gold jewelry in a rhodium solution, which is cheaper.

The rhodium-plating service costs from 1500 thousand rubles and up. Jewelers give a guarantee for the durability of gold jewelry: earrings coated with rhodium will last about 10 years, chains - 6 years, rings - 3 years.

The amount of wear depends on how often the jewelry is worn and comes into contact with the skin.

What should not be cleaned, according to the recommendations of jewelers

If you decide to clean your gold decorations The first thing to be aware of is that not all substances are suitable for cleaning this metal.

Dangerous ammonia

Ammonia alcohol - an indispensable assistant in the arsenal of housewives. It is used to clean absolutely everything, from clothing to gold jewelry. But according to jewelers, ammonia is also bad for gold.

Do not use the same solution to clean white gold and ordinary gold at the same time. Also, gold and silver should not be cleaned together.

Ionization occurs and, in simple terms, the jewelry changes color with each other. Gold that is not protected by other coatings can react with ammonia and cause it to darken. Instead of pure ammonia, we recommend gold jewelry use ammonia solution - solvent solvent.

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Solvent Yaschim
Ammonia solution - solvent solvent

The corrosive effect of hydrocyanic acid

Hydrogen cyanide or hydrocyanic acid is actively used in the cyanide method of gold production. When processing gold-bearing ores In cyanide, the noble metal is transferred to the solution. But this acid should not be used to clean gold jewelry. First of all, it has strong corrosive properties. The second reason is that hydrocyanic acid is poisonous, and even the smell of it may poison your health. If left on the piece after cleaning, hydrocyanic acid can penetrate the body through the skin.

Toothpaste chemicals

Toothpaste is a popular method of caring for white gold. Acting as a mild abrasive, it gently removes dirt from the surface of the gold piece. But the chemical reagents of toothpaste over time can destroy the protective layer of the precious metal.

Folk remedies for cleaning white gold with dishwashing detergent

There are many folk remedies to help clear white goldIf it's yellowed. The most common of these products is dishwashing gel, which is used by every housewife. Detergents are used when cleaning dirt of varying degrees, both alone and in conjunction with other substances.

Methods of cleaning with improvised means
Dishwashing liquid solution

Popular recipes for using dishwashing detergent:

  1. Pour a teaspoon of detergent gel into a glass of water. Pour the solution into the pan with a soft cloth on the bottom. Place the jewelry on the cloth. Boil the contents of the pan for about 10 minutes.
  2. Make a solution of a glass of water, a teaspoon of detergent, a teaspoon of ammonia and 40 mg of hydrogen peroxide. In the resulting solution, white gold should be held for 20-25 minutes, depending on the degree of contamination.
  3. Another type of cleaning solution is made by mixing with a glass of warm water, a teaspoon of detergent gel, 2 teaspoons of the drugstore remedy hyposulfite. The jewels should be held in the solution for 20 minutes.
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If gold jewelry is more stained, it should be soaked in solutions. To bring back the whiteness, you need to remove the dirty plaque.

Video: getting white gold. Why it turns yellow over time

Question and answer section

Why does white gold on my finger turn yellow?

Opinion of an expert
Mikhail Petrovich Grishanov
Jeweler, Director of Grishanov & Co.
To begin with, you must understand that it is not the metal that turns yellow, but the surface of the product. Yellowing is associated with external influences. It can be oxidation as a result of the reaction of metal with human sweat, chemical elements in creams, perfumes, hygiene products. Jaundice can be an accumulated plaque of dirt, dust, the result of metal ligature interaction. Each case is different.

White gold yellowed, what to do at home?

Opinion of an expert
Andrey Seleznev
Chemical-technologist of the plant "Krasny Oktyabr" Volgograd
It is necessary to find out what is the cause of the yellowing. Analyze your health condition: whether hormonal imbalance, whether drugs are taken. In other cases, try to clean the jewelry at home, using detergents, ammonia, salt or soda. White gold jewellery should not be rubbed, polished or burnished. If the precious metal has not turned white, you should use a jeweler.

White gold yellowed in 2 months, how to restore?

Opinion of an expert
Pribrezhny Gennady Valentinovich
6th class jeweler
White gold cannot turn yellow in a short period of time. Unless, of course, you work with the earth without removing the rings. Jewelry salons give a 2-3 year warranty on gold items. Therefore, if white gold has turned yellow in 2 months after purchase, you are definitely talking about a fake, a low-quality ligature and unreliable plating. You cannot remove the yellowing on your own. There is only one way out: give the jewelry to a jeweler for re-coating.

Jeweler's opinion

Molokanov N.M.
Molokanov N.M.
Jeweler, experience in jewelry manufacturing 26 years.
The most common cause of yellowing on white gold is poor-quality jewelry. That is why you should buy precious jewelry in jewelry salons. You should not be shy to demand a certificate for the jewelry, to demand an expertise.

All serious salons have special devices that can be used to determine the composition of the alloy. It is also recommended to buy gold jewelry of the highest standard. They will cost more, but their quality is much higher. There is no need to save money on yourself.

In addition, the jewels will retain their attractive appearance for a long time if they are properly cared for:

- Do not get carried away with cleansing with unknown remedies;
act delicately;

- The best thing to do is to use regular laundry soap or dishwashing detergent;

- If the ring or earrings have a gemstone, rinse with normal running water or soda water.

It is best to entrust your favorite piece of jewelry to a specialist, who will restore its whiteness by professional means.


I have been wearing white gold jewelry for a very long time. If you compare white gold with ordinary yellow gold, the first clearly wins in appearance. The snow-white color always looks expensive and noble. Such products perfectly combine with any style of clothing.

Maria G., Mirny
Zhanna R., Omsk

I am afraid to buy white gold, because I might come across a fake. As I learned from conversations with a jeweler I know, there is always a risk of buying not precious jewelry, but an alloy of nickel with other metals. Considering that nickel causes allergic reactions, such a purchase is dangerous.

I used to not really like white gold jewelry because it looked like silver. Why pay more when you can buy silver for the same amount of money? But lately modern jewelers have become very happy: they work the metal so skillfully, giving it glitz and glamour, that the silver pales before the white gold. I also love the jewelry pieces made from combinations of two kinds of the noble metal: white and plain yellow.

Darina M. Moscow
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