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New 18k white gold ring changes color

     

Ed. note: Before you get too confused, you might want to start with our FAQ: "Rhodium Plating and White Gold" to get an overall understanding :-)

 

Q. A week ago I've got a Promise ring from my boyfriend. It was an 18K white gold ring. Several days, ~5-6 days, later the ring turned yellow (light yellow) in the place where it was sized. My boyfriend went back to this jewelry store and they told him that it could change the color because it was sized. I went to this store and they told me that it could change color 'cause of perfume, I don't think the perfume could get there. Anyway they polished it and it looks like new but what REALLY could cause changing color of my ring especially in a week after my boyfriend bought it?

Thank you.

Anita Pdeleted
- Vancouver, BC, Canada


A. The perfume theory sounds like nonsense to me, advanced to deflect the blame. But this site is open to the public if a jeweler or anyone else wants to disagree with me.

It sounds like the ring is rhodium plated and, in resizing it, the rhodium plating at the repair point was injured. When they repolished it they probably also have replated it with rhodium. See letter 1237 for a fairly detailed discussion of this issue.

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Brick, New Jersey

A. Dear ring owner,

I am a professional jeweler and have seen marks on ring like the one you have mentioned. The yellow mark could be one of several things ,if the ring was resized by a lot i.e. if a piece was inserted or taken out, there would be a solder joint. This solder joint could be visible because it was badly soldered or because the wrong type of solder was used e.g. silver or yellow gold solder or even the wrong carat type. If it was silver soldered the joint will turn yellower the more contact with your skin or with sulphur, if it was a yellow gold soldering it will stay yellow permanently. It could be also a plated finish on the ring that was broken BUT this seems very unlikely because the ring sizing machines are very aggressive towards platings because they stretch or contract the surface of the metal. So if it was plated it would be broken in several places.

The story of the perfume is rubbish and you are being deceived perfume could not discolor the ring because gold is very unreactive to just about everything, and when it reacts it turns pitch black not yellow. I would suggest going back to the store and demanding an explanation because, to me it sounds like the sales person either does not know anything about jewelry and made up the story about the perfume or they are willfully deceiving you because of poor work done.

Anthony O deleted
- Dublin, Ireland



 

Q. I have a three stone engagement ring. The setting is in 18k white gold, and the shank is 18k yellow gold. When the two pieces were soldered together, it didn't create a clean line. Instead, a small amount of white gold appears on the shank. It is only visible in directly sunlight, but it's driving me crazy! What would cause this to happen, and how easily is it corrected?

Amy B deleted
- Alexandria, Virginia


 

A. Hi, Amy

I would suspect that this is a little spot of rhodium plating where it doesn't belong. If so, I think a jeweler can polish it away very easily.

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Brick, New Jersey

Diamond tester,
prec. metals test,
scale & loupe



 

Q. Hello,
I recently received an engagement ring from my fiance which was supposed to be 18k white gold. The ring is not stamped on the inside with any karats of any sort. It has a very faint "Christopher" which he touted as the designer, which I am beginning to doubt. But my concern is, that on the bottom the ring is turning yellow. I have had this ring less than a month, does this seem reasonable? I have read the postings on your site referring to the rhodium plating, but shouldn't I go back and give em _ell about it?

Amie N deleted
Insurance agent - Escalon, California


 

A. I have no trouble believing that the engraving is a designer's name, Amie.

You should certainly give the store hell over a ring that has begun turning color in less than a month. You don't owe them much courtesy, and should demand that they put it in writing that the ring is made of solid white gold, not yellow gold, and demand that they send it out to a capable professional plating shop for rhodium plating this time, not try to replate it in a teacup in a back room.

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Brick, New Jersey



++++++

Q. My fiance gave me a three stone 14 karat white gold, less than a month it started to change to light yellow. My fiance took it back they polish it on the spot gave it back to him and now it changed again. I am not sure if I should let them take it back and change it or what I am suppose to do. I think the set is not real white gold, therefore I would like to get your advise on how to approach this situation. Thanks and have a great day.

Elsha M deleted
consumer - New York



+++++++

Q. We have found a beautiful ring that we both love. The problem is that the ring was too small and needs to be resized from M to N 1/2. The jeweler has told me that this is not a problem, it won't crack or snap.

However, after speaking to my mum and others, have been informed that it has snapped and that it wasn't level or can become a distorted circle. Help me, is this right as we have placed a deposit and will be picking up the ring soon.

Marcelle Gdeleted
Customer - Australia


 

Hi, Maecelle. Hopefully another reader can explain the situation to you. I'm from the plating industry, and am not a jeweler, and I'm not really familiar with the procedure beyond what Anthony O wrote above.

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Brick, New Jersey



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March 26, 2008

Q. I was working out in the garage last weekend and noticed my 14K Gold Wedding Band was 1/2 Silver colored, like the gold had worn off somehow and exposed a silver base (the ring is 4 years or so old). I showed my wife as I thought maybe we got ripped off when we purchased it thinking it was solid gold. Then about 1 hour later, the entire ring was silver colored..... It actually looked pretty cool because I like silver more than gold so I was not real upset. Then, about 2 hours later it started turning back to a gold color and within the next hour or so, it was back to its normal color..... I have no clue how this could even be possible, but both my wife and I saw it happen.... Does anyone have any idea how this is possible or what could have happened. I was painting with latex paint, but I was not around any other chemicals that I know of. I searched around on the internet but could not find anything on this issue... Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks
-Mike

Mike Kraus
- Jackson, Michigan


March 2008

A. Hi, Mike. I suspect that there is a faint trace of mercury in some drawer or shelf in your garage, perhaps from a broken thermometer,and your ring was exposed to vapors from this just enough to turn silvery but little enough that the rest of the gold in the ring diffused back to restore the color.

In letter 13044, seven readers reported success in removing the mercury by boiling the jewelry (outside) for a couple of minutes in coconut oil =>

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Brick, New Jersey

Coconut Oil


March 31, 2008

Hi Ted,

Thank you for the response. It is funny that you mention Mercury... A couple of weeks ago some workers broke an old thermostat I had in the garage. I pulled out the Mercury glass tube, then accidentally dropped it. It went all over the table and floor in tiny balls, so I didn't bother doing anything with it. Maybe somehow I touched some of it and that is what made my ring change...... It was the strangest thing I have seen in a long time....

Is there anything I need to be worried about with me or the ring? I am not very knowledgeable in this area.

Michael Kraus
- Jackson, Michigan


March 31, 2008

Hello again. Mercury will ruin your ring. If it was mercury and such a small exposure that it went away, you're lucky. If you can find any of those mercury balls, they really should go to the county hazardous waste collection center. Otherwise, good ventilation till it all evaporates away because mercury fumes are very bad for you.

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Brick, New Jersey

Mercury Home Test Kit



June 25, 2008

Q. I was recently given a 14kt white gold ring with a solitaire setting sapphire. I recently had the ring sized from a 5 to a 6.25, and when I got it back the band was a light gold color.
Should I be worried about this? They didn't say anything in the evaluation about plating. It looks a little odd having silvery prongs and a light gold band...
Thanks for any advice.

Margaret Davis
buyer - Kansas City, Missouri



October 24, 2008

Q. My husband bought my engagement ring and wedding band in April 2005. The color of the white gold began changing into a yellowish tint in March of this year (2008), and is getting progressively more noticeable. We received a stamped document at purchase time detailing the materials used to make the rings (14k white gold), and giving a jeweler's estimate of the diamonds' monetary value and a guarantee of the diamonds' rating characteristics.
I have not yet been back to the original purchase jeweler, but I have spoken with another jeweler in the area about possible causes for the color change to give me some background information before I approach the original jeweler. The jeweler I spoke with told me that the rhodium coating appears to be fading leaving behind a less-than-pure white- finish, but that the rhodium coating should not have faded this much in only 3 years. The jeweler also informed me that I would probably be charged approximately $30 per ring to recoat it in rhodium. My question is, should I agree to pay the original purchase jeweler to recoat my rings with rhodium, or should I insist that he do it at no charge to me because the rhodium has faded too quickly indicating poor workmanship on the original purchase jewelers part? Also, should I expect the need to have the ring recoated in rhodium every three years?

Emily Lusk
consumer - Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Rhodium Plating System


October 27, 2008

Hi, Emily. 3 years sounds pretty much average. But if the second jeweler promises he can do better, and for about $30, jump on the offer :-)

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Brick, New Jersey


October 28, 2008

Mr. Mooney,
Thanks so much for your response. Finishing.com has provided a wealth of information that I did not receive at my rings' time of purchase. I appreciate your expert advice. I will take my rings back to the second jeweler to have them "re-rhodiumed."
Regards,
Emily

Emily Lusk
- Baton Rouge, Louisiana



March 26, 2009

Q. My fiance bought me a white gold ring for our engagement. I took it down to a jeweler in my hometown (not where he bought the ring at) to get it resized. From a 5 1/2 to a 4 1/2. When I got it back, the whole bottom side was yellow gold. Very noticeable. I complained about it and got nowhere with these people. They were convinced that I had worn it too long. I got the ring Saturday night, and today is Thursday? You do the math! So today I took it to the jeweler that my fiance bought it from and they rhodiumed it for me for free. It is back to its beautiful shine! My question is, now that the finish has been stripped off the first week I got it, will I have to go back often to have it rhodiumed?

Nikki Russell
student - West Point, Mississippi



June 30, 2009

Q. I also own 18K white gold ring. After couple weeks it turned light yellow, I took it down to a jeweler and they explained to me - that real color of white gold is light yellow, but to make it look like it looks at the buying day, they dip it somewhere, actually I forgot ask where. But they keep saying it is white gold. But answering to my question why it happened that soon, they told me to stay away from chemicals , because it can cause a sooner color change from white to light yellow. So far I'm trying and color actually lasts for longer now. So, this could be a reason?!
Ring also has been resized.

Madara Kampe
- Doha, Qatar


June 29, 2009

A. Hi, Madara. Please see our FAQ on Rhodium Plating and White Gold because it will answer your questions. The jeweler probably did a terribly thin and poor plating job the first time and a somewhat better job the second time -- but we can't say how good the second job was.

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Brick, New Jersey


October 15, 2009

A. If you are a nurse and wash your hands a lot or use alcohol rub instead of washing your hands the alcohol rub effects the white gold and tarnishes it. This happened to mine and it went a dull yellowish colour.

rebecca gibson
- dundee, Scotland, U.K.


March 2, 2010

! I'm shocked at reading this. I own many pieces of 14K white gold. It is beautiful and was never dipped in Rhodium or whatever that is called. Your white gold should not turn colors at all. It should remain the same forever. Sounds to me like people are being ripped off these days. Granted I haven't bought a new piece of white gold in many, many years because my taste changed from white to yellow, but my white gold rings are as wonderful today as they were 30 years ago and I've never had any problems with any jewelry purchased from a reputable jeweler. This is what I recommend to all, don't try to save a buck, if you're going to buy jewelry it is certainly an investment, but it is worth it to invest in a good if not great piece. It will hold, or more likely increase in value over time. Guys, spend the money, she is worth every penny!

Marissa Rosario
- Silver Spring, Maryland


March 2010

Hi, Marissa. Here's the good, the bad, and the ugly of rhodium plating --

The good: Rhodium plating is not about cheating anyone, it is about delivering a completely dazzling diamond-like brightness that is achievable in no other way. Your white gold is classic and fine, but it is a mix of yellow gold plus palladium or nickel to "bleach" it white. Today is an age of bling and some people want the all-out bling. Your white gold doesn't offer anything even close to the brightness of rhodium plating. Rhodium is 10x as costly as gold and was well over $12,000 per ounce at one point last year, and is certainly not applied to save money.

The bad: But what happened was jewelers talked themselves into believing that the color of the base metal was no longer important since it was covered with a thin plating of rhodium. So, many of today's rings, underneath their rhodium plating, are not the classic white color of your rings. Many are slightly yellow, and a few are even fully yellow.

The ugly: The rhodium plating is very thin, for technical as well as cost reasons, and rings are very high wear items. When the rhodium wears thin in spots, it's hardly visible if the underlying ring is a good white like your rings because there is no contrast, just a bit less brightness. But if the underlying ring is yellowish, the contrast is obvious and the ring looks poor rather quickly.

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Brick, New Jersey



April 29, 2010

! I'm not sure if there is any scientific proof to this but I have a white gold ring that changes color depending on my mood (No it's not a mood ring). I have had problems with anxiety, hypoglycemia and adrenaline overloads. When I have low sugar levels the inside of the ring turns from white to gold, when I am anxious the gold almost turns black. When relaxed it is a perfect white. The only way I can explain it is that perhaps I secrete something from my skin when my body isn't doing what it is supposed to it. It is really bizarre I know....

Georgia Barnard
- Tasmania, Australia



July 12, 2010

Q. My 14K yellow gold ring has suddenly turned almost a brassy color. I've had the ring for 25 years and this is the first time I've had anything like this happen. Another 14K yellow gold ring on the same hand has done the same. Inside of bands are normal color. Gold rings on other hand are as they should be. What can cause this to happen? What to do about it?

Carol Fiegenbaum
- Lexington, Kentucky


July 12, 2010

A. Hi, Carol. Please tell us whether there is a possibility of having exposed that one hand to a garage or basement drawer or laboratory environment which might have mercury vapors in it, to try to keep the discussion moving forward -- because the advise about what to do next will be completely opposite for mercury exposure than for other chemical exposures. Thanks!

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Brick, New Jersey


August 1, 2010

Q. You asked that I keep this moving forward, not sure what that means. But, the only chemical that I may have exposed these rings to would be chlorine. I have chlorine tablets in a plastic container, used for a pool. I do reach into that container with the hand these rings are on, and the smell is pretty strong. But, I have done this same thing for many years and not have anything happen. Will a jeweler be able to polish the gold back to it's normal color? Any suggestions or ideas of what is causing this to happen will really be appreciated.

carol fiegenbaum
- lexington Kentucky, usa


August 2, 2010

A. Hi, Carol.
Apologies. What I awkwardly tried to express was that the discussion has forked down two paths, one where people felt they exposed their ring to mercury vapors, and one where they were quite sure they hadn't. Because exposure to mercury vapors is a special case where polishing cannot fix it, I was trying to say that you needed to tell us whether your ring suffered mercury exposure before we can go forward towards a suggestion.

Regardless of your previously having worn your ring without staining while handling chlorine, you really shouldn't do it. Rings are rarely made of pure gold, which is very chemical resistant, but of gold alloys that contain copper or nickel or silver, and are not fully resistant to strong chemicals. Yes, I believe a jeweler can polish your ring back to a bright yellow color. Good luck!

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Brick, New Jersey


August 4, 2010

! Thank you for your response. I'll avoid the chlorine and head to the jewelry store and hope that it will polish out. Carol

Carol Iegenbaum
- Lexington, Kentucky, USA



February 5, 2011

Q. Hello,
I recently purchased a ring from an auction its yellow 18 ct / plat with diamonds, the problem I have with it is that after wearing it for about a month I noticed that down the shank on both sides it has turned a silver(plat) colour I thought this may have been the platinum from the setting of the stones just going down the shank a bit, but after looking on the internet I see the silver colour stops in straight lines as if the ring had had a half shank replacement, this worries me because it says 18 ct / plat in the shank but what if this is from another ring, and this one has been made up then that could make the setting and the diamonds fake, as they may not be from the original shank I do worry about this because the ring is so beautiful, Thanks Louise Xxx

Louise down
- Scotland

February 6, 2011

A. Hi, Louise. Apologies that I am not a jeweler and am pretty unfamiliar with your situation. Hopefully another reader will offer some input.

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Brick, New Jersey

Gold Test Kit



March 2, 2012

Q. I just got my engagement ring. It is 18K yellow gold. On the same day that I got it, I notice a black spot on the gold band. I asked a jeweller at the mall to have it appraised and he assured me that everything on my ring is real. When I asked him about the black spot, he said that it's just the mark of the connection of the band. Is that true?

Honey Esguerrra
- San Pedro, Laguna, Philippines


March 15, 2012

A. Hello,
There shouldn't be any black spots on your ring. As you said the spot appears on the band itself. Are there setting prongs for diamonds around the spot? Even if the ring is sized before you actually received it, a black spot should not appear. If the spot is real noticeable I would take the ring back to the store you purchased it and tell them you want the spot removed.

Mark Baker
Engineering - Mesa, Arizona, USA


May 30, 2012

Ok little confused 18k yellow gold was said the white was said so I'm not sure but if your ring was sized from smaller to larger they would add gold and you would have to make sure the gold was of the same k. They can add impurities and the gold can tarnish due to heating if it is on the band line of sizing white gold or a harder gold is used where the diamond galeries are if its under the diamonds it may be due to house hold chemicals due to age and just age it would take much more information of a black spot on my ring when where and how sorry rambling but don't worry is the first thing to make me worry when it come out of a jewelry mouth. Thanks for listening

Elaine Garling
Jewler - Saint clair Shores Michigan USA



April 9, 2012

Q. My engagement ring is from the 1920's, white gold with diamonds. The shanks around the main stone have darkened. From reading this blog it appears to be from household chemicals, i.e. bleach. How can I restore it to the original color?

Tiffany Jones
- Sydney, NSW, Australia


April 14, 2012

A. Hello Tiffany,
You can take the ring to a reputable jeweler and the ring can be polished then Rhodium plated. The jeweler may have to send the ring out because not many have Rhodium plating solutions in house. I emphasize REPUTABLE because there have been cases where diamonds have been switched in repairs like this. Just a heads up.....

Mark Baker
Engineering - Mesa, Arizona, USA



May 21, 2012

Q. Hi, my boyfriend just bought me a promise ring, about a week ago. he bought it from Sears and I noticed the other day that it is all silver now, they said it was 14k gold and it was not gold plated..but now it is completely silver with no trace of gold to be found. Any reason why? or should I take it up there and cause havoc?

Amandadeleted
- Kansas City, Missouri


May 22, 2012

A. Hi Amanda.

You didn't mention how old you and your boyfriend are (and that's fine), but it is unusual for high schoolers (if that's what you are) to give solid gold jewelry. Even high school rings aren't gold these days. If it is supposed to be solid 14kt gold though, it will be stamped 14 kt. If it is not so stamped, it is almost surely not 14 kt, and you misunderstood or were misled. Most inexpensive rings are silver with gold plating on them, and I suspect that that ws the case.

(If it really is 14 kt, which I doubt, and it has turned "completely silver with no trace of gold", I would suspect contamination by mercury; please see the sidebar labeled "Gold ring damaged by mercury) earlier in the thread [March 26, 2008], or use the term "mercury gold" in the Google Custom Search box near the top of the page).

Good luck.

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Brick, New Jersey


May 30, 2012 opinion! silly :-)

Yea, because while jumping around at Sears there, going into the first-aid aisle and buying all those old school thermometers and breaking them open, pouring out the mercury in them and dipping the good old million dollar promise ring in that to see what would happen.

Hon, the ring you have is electroplated. It's gold over silver EGP or 10 EGP. When the lady told you it's gold she saw you were young and told you it's gold. Again it's gold but it rubs off ... let me guess, you WASH YOUR HANDS A LOT or use hand sanitizer or something it will rub the gold right off. And it probably didn't cost an arm and a leg like lady thinks it did, unless the sales lady took way advantage of you, then I would take your receipt and take it to a manager because if it doesn't say 14 kt in it it should be yellow not like EGP or e.g., or EGK because Sears here in Michigan are closing down and they wouldn't care if they ripped you off. So do it now if you think it's a mistake ... or you have been playing in a ton of mercury infected tuna or something forget it. lol. Good luck.

Elaine Garling
- saint clair shores Michigan usa



October 8, 2012

Q. My husband bought me a beautiful wedding set in 18 karat yellow gold. 2 days after wearing the rings, I noticed the engagement ring changing colour, but we put it down to reflection. We discussed with a jeweller who said it could be from the moulding. A week after our wedding, my engagement ring is gone from yellow to white but the wedding band is still yellow. Is this possible?

maame akua
- maryland

October 8, 2012

A. Hi Maame. I hate to say this because an engagement ring is an important thing to most women, but I would strongly suspect that your engagement ring is made of white gold and was plated with yellow gold, which has now worn off. A jeweler should never do this, and I personally consider it fraudulent if that's what occurred. Some jewelers may be able to do an analysis to tell you whether the alloy is white gold (made with gold plus palladium and/or nickel) or yellow gold (made with gold plus copper and/or silver).

If it is in fact made of white gold, frequent (and probably impractical) re-plating will have to be done to keep it yellow. Sorry.

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Brick, New Jersey


January 17, 2014

Q. Hi,

Both my wedding band and engagement ring are white gold. My engagement ring turns yellow at a faster rate than my band. I wear them both the same amount so one is not getting "used" more than the other. Does this make any sense why this would occur? Could it be the difference in the golds karats? Although I believe they are both the same karat.
Thanks!

Katherine Anderson
- San Francisco, California

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