White gold is a precious metals, popular choice for jewelry, prized for its beauty and durability. However, many people wonder whether white gold tarnishes over time. Yes, white gold can tarnish, but there are ways to prevent it. This article will cover why white gold tarnishes, how to identify tarnish, and, most importantly, how to prevent it from happening. Whether you own white gold jewelry or are thinking of buying some, this article will help you keep it looking new for years to come.
What Is White Gold?
White gold is a metal alloy made from combining gold with other metals, such as nickel, silver, or palladium. The addition of these metals gives white gold its signature silver appearance. The purity of white gold is measured in carats, just like yellow gold. Most white gold jewelry is made with 14k or 18k gold.
Does White Gold Tarnish?
Yes, white gold can tarnish over time. White gold can tarnish from other metals like nickel in the alloys, which can oxidize on exposure to air and moisture. This oxidation can create a dull or discolored layer on the surface of the jewelry. With proper care and maintenance, white gold can be protected from tarnishing, ensuring long-lasting shine for your jewelry.
How To Prevent White Gold From Tarnishing
- Store your white gold jewelry properly
One of the easiest ways to prevent white gold from tarnishing is to store it properly. Keep your jewelry in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight and moisture. You can store your jewelry in a jewelry box, pouch, or on a soft cloth.
- Remove white gold jewelry before swimming
Chlorine and saltwater can react with the metals in white gold and cause discoloration. Therefore, it's best to remove your white gold jewelry before swimming or taking a shower.
- Avoid contact with chemicals
Chemicals such as perfume, hairspray, and cleaning products can damage white gold jewelry. So, always put on your jewelry after applying these products.
- Clean your white gold jewelry regularly
Regular cleaning can help prevent tarnishing. Use a soft-bristled brush and mild soap to clean your jewelry. Rinse it with warm water and dry it with a soft cloth.
- Consider rhodium plating
Rhodium is a metal that is more resistant to tarnishing than white gold. Rhodium plating is a process by which a thin layer of rhodium is applied to the surface of white gold jewelry. This plating will wear off over time, but you can re-plate your jewelry to maintain its shine.
- Choose high-quality white gold jewelry
High-quality white gold jewelry is less likely to tarnish than lower-quality jewelry. Look for jewelry that is made with a higher carat gold, such as 18k or 24k, and has a higher percentage of palladium or platinum in the alloy.
How Can I Tell If My White Gold Has Tarnished?
- Discoloration: Tarnishing changes the appearance of white gold, making it appear yellowish, brownish, or greenish.
- Dullness: Tarnished white gold may also lose its shine and appear dull or matte.
- Stains or spots: Tarnish can create dark spots or stains on white gold jewelry, which can be difficult to remove.
- Scratches: If your white gold jewelry has scratches or nicks, these areas may be more prone to tarnishing than the rest of the piece.
- Rust: Although white gold doesn't rust like iron or steel, it can develop a reddish-brown substance known as "red gold" when exposed to specific chemicals or substances. This can happen if your white gold jewelry contains copper or if it's exposed to chlorine or other harsh chemicals.
How Many Carats Are In White Gold?
The most common carats of white gold used in jewelry are 14k and 18k. A 14k white gold piece means that it is made up of 58.3% gold and 41.7% other metals. An 18k white gold piece contains 75% gold and 25% other metals. The higher the carat weight, the more expensive the piece will be.
How Do I Maintain My White Gold
Maintaining white gold jewelry is a relatively easy task that can keep your pieces looking their best for years to come. Here are some tips to help you care for your white gold jewelry:
- Clean your jewelry regularly: Use a soft-bristled brush and a mild soap solution to gently clean your white gold jewelry. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners, as these can damage the metal.
- Store your jewelry properly: Store your white gold jewelry in a dry, cool place, away from sunlight and humidity. Avoid storing your jewelry with other pieces that can scratch or damage the metal.
- Remove your jewelry when performing certain activities: Avoid wearing your white gold jewelry when swimming, showering, or performing activities that may expose it to chemicals or abrasives.
- Get your jewelry checked and serviced by a professional: Regularly take your white gold jewelry to a professional jeweler to have it checked for damage, wear and tear, and to have it professionally cleaned.
White Gold Tarnishing vs. Other Metals
White gold is more prone to tarnishing compared to other metals. This is because it's an alloy of gold and other metals (e.g. zinc, palladium, or silver), which can react with oxygen and sulfur to form a layer of tarnish over time.
Despite this, white gold is still a strong and durable option for jewelry that can remain bright and shiny for years with proper care. On the other hand, platinum and titanium are more resistant to tarnishing and corrosion due to their natural properties but are generally pricier and may differ in visual appeal from white gold.
Is White Gold The Same As Gold Coating?
No, white gold is not the same as gold coating. Gold coating, also known as gold plating, is a process where a layer of gold is electroplated onto a base metal. This layer of gold is often very thin and can wear off over time, revealing the base metal underneath. In contrast, white gold is an alloy made of gold and other metals, and the white color is a result of these added metals, not a coating.
In conclusion, white gold is a popular and durable option for jewelry, but it is important to understand its properties and care requirements. White gold isn't a pure metal – it's an alloy of gold and other metals. The carat weight of the alloy denotes how much gold it contains, not how pure it is. White gold is prone to tarnishing but can last long with proper maintenance. Ultimately, your choice of jewelry metal comes down to your budget and personal preference.
At 6 Ice, we're passionate about jewelry - it's what we do best. Our expert craftsmen create only the very best chains, bracelets, pendants, and more. Elevate your style with 6 Ice's premium jewelry and make a statement that turns heads. Trust us to deliver high quality pieces and showcase your individuality.