Does White Gold Tarnish?

The type of gold you like to wear says a lot about you as a person. Yellow gold often means you appreciate the classics and you’re a fan of the contemporary. White gold often means you like to embrace the new and you’re someone who likes the polish and finesse of a clean piece.

No matter what you choose, you want your piece to remain as stunning as it was when you first bought it. But if your white gold ring is starting to change color, it might make you never want to wear it again.

Let’s talk about why your white gold jewelry might be turning a different color, as well as some ways you can prevent it.

Why Is White Gold Turning Yellow?

When you start to see a yellowish tint in your white gold pieces, it doesn’t have to do with the quality of the piece itself. It’s actually all about science.

Technically, white doesn’t tarnish — it just changes color over a period of time. White gold is made by mixing pure yellow gold alloy with another type of white metal. Typically, this is either silver, platinum, or palladium. For that reason, pure gold is also usually more expensive than white gold.

As you wear your piece often, certain triggers can wear away the protective rhodium plating on the outside of your jewelry. This member of the platinum family is used to create a white, reflective appearance on jewelry. While it is resistant to tarnish compared to pure gold, when this starts to wear over time, it can cause your pieces to lose their luster and appear more dull.

Plus, rhodium is usually only applied at a thickness of three microns, which is super thin. Plating usually lasts anywhere from 12 to 18 months before it becomes noticeably diminished.

The type of jewelry plays a role as well. Earrings won’t experience as much abrasion as bracelets, for instance, so they might last a little longer in comparison.

Factors Affecting White Gold Discoloration

Your white gold pieces are bound to become discolored at some point, but there are some factors that can speed up the process.

For one, excessive sweat can react with the rhodium plating and cause you to lose that luster sooner. This is why it’s always good to remove jewelry before participating in strenuous physical activity.

Strong cleaning chemicals, perfumes, or detergents are also never great for a necklace, ring, or any piece of jewelry. These products can wear away protective coatings more quickly, so try to use them in parts of the body where jewelry isn’t present.

Excessive abrasion and individual body chemistry can also play a role.

How To Fix Discolored White Gold Jewelry

If your white gold engagement ring is looking a little worse for wear because of natural discoloration, the good news is that you can get it fixed.

If your rhodium plating wears off, the most effective fix is to just get a new coat. Rhodium plating is super quick and can be completed by a jeweler. In most cases, you’ll be in and out in just under 90 minutes.

You can also get a thicker coat of rhodium this time around so that it lasts a bit longer. Of course, the thicker the plating, the more expensive the piece will be.

Un-plated jewelry can sometimes still look great when paired with certain outfits, but if your plating wears away, you want to avoid polishing the piece. In this case, polishing can actually remove more layers from your jewelry and make it look more yellow.

How To Protect Your White Gold Jewelry

Perhaps the best way to fix a piece of jewelry that’s become discolored is to prevent it from happening in the first place. 

Protect It

It can be tough to keep that rose gold chain or ring in top-tier condition, especially when you want to wear it around all the time. Considering that your natural body chemistry can affect the luster of your piece, wearing a piece often can have an effect on its appearance.

When it comes to wearing pieces that you love, be sure to take them off before exercising or going swimming. Additionally, consider taking the piece off and placing it in a secure location if you know you’ll be outside in a situation where sweating will be natural.

Clean It

Cleaning your jewelry is an essential step for maintaining color and shine. And you should clean your white gold pieces at least once a month to stop the oxidation process and make your pendants or earrings shine.

Cleaning your pieces is easy. All you’ll need is mild dish soap, baking soda, and a scrubber. First, mix soap with some lukewarm water and then soak the jewelry in that solution for about 20 minutes.

Next, mix a small amount of water with some baking soda to create a paste. Take the gold pieces from the solution and gently scrub the baking soda over them. Wash in running water, and then dry thoroughly with a microfiber cloth.

You probably don’t even need to remove the gemstone from your piece since this solution is non-abrasive. Additionally, you’ll want to clean your piece if you ever see it become visibly dirty.

Guarantee It

Wear and tear on your jewelry is natural, especially if you want to show off your piece everywhere you go. But you shouldn’t be afraid to wear your piece out just because you run the risk of natural discoloration or wear and tear.

This is why getting jewelry from a trusted source is one of the most important steps you can take. 6 Ice is the finest purveyor of hip hop jewelry, and not only do we have a wide collection of high-quality white gold pieces, but we also offer a lifetime guarantee on our products. In other words, if your piece breaks due to normal wear and tear, we’ll work with you to make things right.

We have so much trust in the quality of our pieces that we don’t think you’ll ever need to use this guarantee, but it’s here if you need it. Browse our collection of white gold pieces and get started toward the most stylish version of yourself yet.

In Conclusion

White gold doesn’t tarnish, but it can become discolored. If your white gold is starting to look like yellow gold, it’s due to oxidation of the rhodium plating on the surface. This shiny material can wear away from chemical reactions and normal usage, making your piece look slightly less than new.

With that said, you can extend the life of rhodium plating by taking your piece off before sweating or before jumping into a pool. You can also regularly clean your piece to wash off harmful chemicals and get your rhodium replated to make it look good as new.

Of course, when your piece is backed by a lifetime guarantee, you don’t even need to worry about your jewelry looking worse for wear. 6 Ice has your back, and we’ll make sure that your white gold jewelry stays shiny and pristine for years to come.

Browse our high-quality selection today.


Oxidation and Reduction | Purdue

What Is Rhodium? (with pictures) | All Things Nature

Platinum - Element information, properties and uses | Royal Society of Chemistry