Have you ever wondered why that gleaming white gold ring you bought a few years ago is slowly turning yellow? You're not alone. Many people have noticed this phenomenon but are unsure why it happens. This article will delve deep into why white gold turns yellow and how you can deal with it.

Understanding why white gold turns yellow involves knowing its composition, the role of rhodium plating, and the natural attributes of gold itself.

Is Gold Naturally Yellow?

Yes, you read that correctly; gold is inherently yellow. The gold bars and nuggets you see in movies or museums are yellow because that's gold's natural form. It's rich, it's radiant, but it's definitely not white.

The Creation of White Gold

White gold is actually an alloy, meaning it's a mixture of two or more metals. The formula usually consists of yellow gold mixed with other metals like copper, silver, nickel, palladium, and zinc. The end result is a more subdued and versatile hue. More recently, as of late 2022, there's been a shift towards using palladium in the alloy to make the white gold less prone to turning yellow.

The Role of Rhodium Plating

To give white gold that extra sheen and a more platinum-like appearance, many jewelers add a layer of rhodium plating. This metal is part of the platinum family and provides a surface that resists scratches and tarnishes. It also gives white gold a whiter, shinier finish.

The Reality of Fading Color

The reason your white gold is turning yellow is that the rhodium plating is starting to wear off. Once this layer is gone, the more yellowish color of the alloyed gold underneath starts to show through. It's a natural process and generally unavoidable if you wear your jewelry regularly.

Costs Involved

You might have noticed that white gold can be more expensive than its yellow counterpart. One reason is the rhodium plating, which needs to be reapplied periodically. Some modern alloys, which include palladium, are also pricier due to their ability to retain the white color longer.


Now you know why your white gold turns yellow, it's a combination of the natural yellow hue of gold, the metals it's alloyed with, and the wear-and-tear on its rhodium plating. But fear not, there are ways to maintain your white gold's pristine condition, so read on!

What People Are Saying About White Gold

So, what's the buzz about white gold turning yellow? Well, I stumbled upon a forum where people were chatting about this very topic. And guess what? Most folks with Cartier white gold pieces swear their bling has stayed white. Another interesting point was that Cartier's white gold isn't rhodium-plated, which might explain its lasting color. However, one person did mention their rhodium-plated Bulgari ring is showing a wee bit of yellowing on the edges.

FAQ Section

Why is my white gold turning yellow?

The yellowing of your white gold occurs because the outer layer of rhodium plating is wearing off, exposing the natural color of the gold alloy underneath. This is common and can be fixed with re-plating.

Is it bad if my white gold turns yellow?

Not at all! Some people even prefer the natural, warmer hue that white gold takes on over time. However, if you're keen on maintaining its whiteness, periodic re-plating is necessary.

How can I prevent my white gold from turning yellow?

You can slow down the process of discoloration by avoiding contact with harsh chemicals, like chlorine in swimming pools, and removing your jewelry during activities that cause friction. However, re-plating will be necessary eventually.

Is there white gold that doesn't turn yellow?

White gold alloys that contain a higher percentage of palladium are less likely to turn yellow. However, these options are often more expensive.

Can yellow gold be turned into white gold?

Technically, yellow gold can't be turned into white gold. However, it can be plated with rhodium to give it a white appearance. Just remember, this is a temporary fix and will need to be redone over time.