Jewelry made from white gold has become popular in recent years. In many cases it is more expensive to purchase a piece of jewelry made from white gold than it is from the more traditional yellow gold. In order to preserve the overall appearance of white gold it must be maintained properly.
What is white gold?
White gold is actually a combination of gold and a secondary metal such as nickel, silver, or palladium. The secondary metal contributes to the "white" coloring of the metal, although this is not the only factor. White gold uses the same karat rating system as yellow gold. Better secondary metals contribute to a higher karat rating.
White gold is generally electroplated with a thin layer of another precious metal known as Rhodium. This plating also contributes to the white appearance of the metal. Rhodium is very durable and helps to protect white gold jewelry from dings and scratches. Polished rhodium will give your jewelry a beautiful shine.
As the years pass by the rhodium on your white gold jewelry will likely be rubbed off as the result of everyday wear and tear. When this happens you may notice that your jewelry has a yellowish appearance compared to the original silvery white appearance it originally had. When this happens it is time to visit your jeweler who can easily apply a fresh rhodium coating.
Depending on your jeweler they may provide free cleanings. This process is fairly quick and most stores will allow you to wait while they finish cleaning your jewelry. If you would rather clean your jewelry at home it will be important to select a cleaning solution that is designed for use with white gold. Your jeweler will generally sell an appropriate solution.
Most jewelers will recommend that you bring in your jewelry, particularly your rings, every six months for an inspection. They will check your setting and ensure there are no lose prongs and that every looks okay with your piece of jewelry. It is much more cost-effective to do this biannual maintenance rather than replace a missing stone from your ring!
In order to protect your white gold jewelry it is a good idea to buy individual cotton pouches to store it when it is not in use. This will project it from scratches and other blemishes that may occur. It is also a good idea to store your jewelry properly when you are working with harsh chemicals, such as bathroom cleaners.