Why is my engagement ring turning yellow?

Why is my engagement ring turning yellow?

Written by Holly Chilcott on 3 March 2017

“Why is my engagement ring turning yellow?” is a well searched phrase in Google and we are here to debunk the rumours. White metals such as palladium and platinum do not tend to tarnish and the metal should stay the same colour as the day you buy it. White gold on the other hand is a little different.

White gold is yellow gold mixed with certain alloys; standard 9 carat white gold it is made up of 37.5% gold + minimum 45% silver + 17.5% other alloying elements. Due to this mix of alloys, the ‘natural’ colour of 9 carat white gold tends to be quite creamy, with a slight yellowish tint. It is a complementary metal for someone who has quite a pale skin tone as the warmth of the metal can warm the complexion.

A lot of jewellers tend to rhodium plate white gold as standard so that it has the bright white appearance such of platinum or palladium. A few myths are often told, that rhodium plating is essential for durability, or that white gold will yellow over time without rhodium plating-these are simply not true. The only reason people with rhodium plated white gold rings tend to see their rings ‘turning yellow’ is simply because the rhodium plating is wearing off and exposing the natural colour of the metal underneath.

Rhodium plating will always wear off and the speed at which this happens simply depends on the wearer. It could take years however if you are more hands on, this could take a matter of weeks. Rhodium plating involves quite a lot of maintenance as you have to re plate your rings quite a few times in a lifetime, and at Harriet Kelsall Bespoke Jewellery we always offer our white gold without rhodium plating for this very reason. Even though it is important to check your ring every couple of years to insure the settings and joins are still secure, a ring without rhodium plating requires much less upkeep. Not only do you not have to worry about your ring ‘turning yellow’ you can also enjoy the lovely creamy colour of the metal from the beginning.