Archive for June, 2012

White Gold Explained

I think it is important that the properties of white gold, its limitations and care needs are fully understood prior to purchasing an item of jewellery. That way you will know what to expect and understand the best ways to care for your jewellery.

The most important thing to note is that gold is a naturally yellow metal; white gold does not occur naturally but is produced. It undergoes a number of procedures to ensure we see the bright white finish that we are used to and that appeals to us so much.

To achieve this colour, gold is mixed with various white metals to produce an alloy; commonly silver and palladium are used. The result of this alloy is a pale greyish yellow colour. I like to think of it like mixing paint, it doesn’t matter how much white paint you add to yellow you can never create a true white. To achieve the brilliant and bright white finish that has made white gold so popular, the piece is rhodium plated. Rhodium is a hard wearing bright white metal however as with any form of plating, the rhodium will wear off over a period of time to reveal the pale greyish yellow metal beneath. The amount at which the plating wears off depends on what the item comes into contact with. For example if it is exposed to chemicals such as perfume, hand cream or cleaning products, it could wear off more quickly. It will therefore be necessary to have white gold rings re plated from time to time; the time frame depends on the wearer. We always recommend that jewellery items are removed when doing any sort of manual labour, lifting, carrying or cleaning. This will prevent the items being knocked out of shape accidentally or getting scratched or damaged.
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