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Changing yellow gold ring to white gold?

Ed. note: This thread is long and rambling.
You may want to see our
"Rhodium Plating and White Gold" FAQ first to quickly understand the subject.

Q. Hello,
I have an 18 karat gold ring with a single diamond on top. It's yellow gold and my girl friend, who I will be proposing to, hates the look of yellow gold. The ring that I have is an heirloom that was my Mother's and I'd like to change it from Gold colored 18k gold to literally anything Silver/white precious metal color.

I'm a very new hobbyist to electroplating; the little that I've done has been submersion style (not brush). Unlike anything else, so oddly I'm having a very hard time finding any solid information pertaining to what I need to use other than Rhodium, which is very expensive and I don't have any.

My question is just that though, how can I turn the gold band from yellow 18k to white/silver colored? What anode, electrolyte, volts should I use?

A little more information, I have a few electrolytes already and some precious metals, and chemicals, too in case I need to create a different electrolyte.

Electrolytes that I have --
By Gold Plating Services:
- Bright Nickel plating solution
- Bright Gold (yellow) Plating solution

- Nushine Silver plating solution [on eBay or Amazon]

Chemicals on hand:
- JSP Company:
- Urea-Aqua Regia
- Sodium Nitrate
- Gold Precipitant (contains Sodium Melabisulfite)

Big Box store:
- Regular citric acid [on eBay or Amazon]
- Hydrochloric acid
- Potassium Hydroxide
- Electro Cleaning solution

Metals that I have:
- Pure Silver
- Pure Gold (Yellow)
- Pure Platinum
- Pure Copper

Specialty Anodes I have
- Palladium-plated anode; mesh is a mesh-like titanium coating.
- Stainless Steel.
- I THINK I have 316 Steel as well, but I'm not 100% sure.
(of course also the pure metals listed above)

I realize this is much more information than a regular post but I want to be thorough, of course this is a very big deal and I want to do the work myself. I've plated several metal parts in the past to prevent corrosion, mainly for electronics.

Will someone please help me with instructions on what the process is and if I can do it with what I have. I'm not picky as far as the plated metal to turn the color, I'm in a time crunch and just need it done ASAP. I'll greatly appreciate any advice and thank you in advance!

Thanks again!!Yorticus Lewis
- Memphis Tennessee
January 19, 2023

A. Hi.
The bad news is that even a professionally applied rhodium plating on a yellow gold engagement ring will wear off to an ugly contrast quickly, surely before the wedding; and you'd need a lot of practice in plating and polishing before working on an heirloom. Will the ring fit her, or will it have to go back to a jeweler for re-sizing anyway?

I personally think a better way forward is to talk to a jeweler about fitting that diamond to a rhodium plated white gold band, and either keeping your mother's yellow band for a future anniversary when your wife's taste has changed, or plating it for use as a very occasionally worn item, not an item worn daily.
Luck & Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

⇩ Closely related postings, oldest first ⇩

Q. I have a yellow gold wedding band with a few diamonds in it. I have started wearing white gold and want my wedding band to match the rest of my jewelry. I don't want to get a new band because the one I have is special to me, but can something be done to change my ring to white gold, or am I stuck with what I have?

Kim S [last name deleted due to age of posting]
- Augusta, Georgia

Q. Should white gold rings turn yellow when cleaned with ammonia [on eBay or Amazon] and water. What would cause the yellow color? Would this ring be made from gold mixed with the wrong alloys?

Ranet T [last name deleted due to age of posting]

Diamond tester,
prec. metals test,
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A. Kim, there is probably no reason in theory why you could not have your yellow gold ring rhodium plated; most of your white gold jewelry probably is rhodium plated. But there is a practical problem because rings are very high wear items, and even with a good thick rhodium plating, it will start wearing in spots and there will be a strong contrast as the yellow starts showing through. With a thin, back-of-the jewelry-shop plating, the life will be very bad--probably not more than a few months.

Ranet, 'white gold' is not brilliant white it's a grayish or yellowish white (different grades and whitenesses are available). So what you usually see on white gold is rhodium plating. If the rhodium is thin and wears through, you see the underlying material which is not as white. I suspect that jewelers are using white gold of low whiteness value, and it is becoming more common for jewelers to just rhodium plate yellow gold and sell it as white gold, or at least to use white gold that is not nearly white enough.

But in addition, gold rings are typically not pure 24k gold because that is very soft. They are usually 10 to 14k, meaning they are only 10/24 to 14/24 pure gold, with the balance being other metals. Although pure gold is resistant to most chemicals, jewelry-gold containing these other metals may react with chemicals -- especially chlorine, bromine (hot tubs), and laundry detergent.

Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

Q. My white gold ring is turning a yellowish color, is this normal? How do I restore it?

Kristen F [last name deleted due to age of posting]
- Tomball, Texas

A. To answer your questions.... Rhodium is used to give Jewelry the "White gold" look. Over time the Rhodium will begin to wear off. If it is applied over white gold then the change will not be that drastic because it will only let the white gold show through (which has a whitish look anyway). But, if you put it over regular yellow gold then the change will be drastic and you will have to get it plated more often.

Sam Obermeister
- Brooklyn, New York

Q. I have a ring in 14k white gold and the finish is coming off after only 1 year. Is this normal?

Deanne [last name deleted due to age of posting]
- St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada

Q. I had a ring made of white gold which I traded my original diamond engagement ring in for and my rubies from my anniversary ring set into. I had admired my mothers original wedding set of white gold. I could never wear silver as it would always tarnish almost a day later and rash my skin. I explained this to my jeweler, I suggested Platinum, however due to the size ring I wanted could not afford this . He told me white gold would be the same just less expensive. I picked the ring up and noticed the next day wearing it had a yellowish tinge to it and started to question whether he had pulled a fast one and made it of silver. He told me it was white gold and this was because it was not plated as done in the factory , saying it was true white gold. I told him I was displeased and he said he would plate it with rhodium. I checked with other jewelers and they assured this was the case. I feel I was misled and would have rather saved up for the platinum. So I guess my advice to anyone is save up for the platinum if this luster and color is what you are seeking.

Sue B [last name deleted due to age of posting]
- Middleboro, Massachusetts

A. Briefly, rhodium plating is so stunningly white, so bling-y, so diamond-like, that it's hard for most consumers and most jewelers to resist -- nothing else compares. But it does wear through and must be replated, and there are different "grades", different "whiteness ratings" for the unplated white gold ring that lies beneath, and the yellower they are, the more frequent that replating is required.

We all laugh when a jury awards a woman a $6 million settlement from McDonalds for being so stupid as to burn herself by holding a paper cup of hot coffee between her legs while driving. But the truth is, suits usually develop only after a company is deaf to complaints and there is no other way. It is SO obvious that the jewelry industry in America is causing heartbreak to millions of people with its refusal to make any effort to straighten out this white gold issue. When the billion dollar class action suit hits them, I'm gonna *smack* the first guy who bitches about it :-)

Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

Q. I have had my white gold (engagement) ring for a year now. A few months ago I noticed the bottom half turning yellow. Like most people would...I became concerned. My fiance and I took the ring to get inspected (which is done every six months). The man who owns the store mentioned the rhodium plating, and said that it would restore the white and shine. I also told him about my job. I work in a daycare and use a bleach [adv: bleach/sodium hypochlorite in bulk on eBay or Amazon] and water mixture to sanitize. Also, my ring get's banged around a lot. He said the bleach was a big factor. When he said it would cost 45 dollars, I have to admit I cringed at the price. I mean, my finance just spent 3,000 dollars for the ring. I thought it was crazy. He said next time we came back he would not charge us for the rhodium plating. I assumed that would be in another six months. So, that meant wearing a yellow ring that I did not want to wear. I didn't - only on weekends basically.

My sister is getting married in a week. My finance and I both wanted my ring to look beautiful. We took it and had it plated. It looks great. It almost looks like the first day I wore it. The yellow is gone. Something has been tugging at me though. I felt that I needed to do some research and find out exactly why the plating is needed and why I wasn't TOLD about it in the first place (like so many others). I wish I knew what I knew now. I feel that I need to call the owner and discuss this issue. I have really enjoyed my ring and have gotten many compliments. I never did tell him that I am allergic to nickel. I work with a woman who has a white gold ring and hers has never turned yellow. I have thought about getting a platinum band. But, then there is the factor that it scratches easier. We were charged 25 dollars for the plating (I am assuming that was because we came earlier then 6 months). Should I have gotten the palladium bleached alloy? What is the difference between the two? Is it just that it's nickel free? ! What is the cost difference? Any info. anyone can give me would be greatly appreciated.

Gillian M [last name deleted due to age of posting]
- Akron, Ohio

A. Hi, Gillian. Nickel is not permitted in jewelry in Europe, but here in the USA most white gold is nickel-bleached because nickel is inexpensive whereas palladium is a precious metal costing about half of what gold costs. If you have a 10K ring, 14 parts out of 24 are nickel or palladium and it's hard to afford to put that much precious metal into the ring that nobody "gets credit for". If a ring is 18K, so only 6 parts out of 24 are not gold, it's easier for people to justify using palladium for that portion.

Your co-worker's ring which never required replating is probably unplated, but it also has nowhere near the bling of your rhodium plated ring.


Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

Q. I recently got engaged with a white gold ring- and it has only been 4 months and it is tarnishing on the bottom of the ring.
Does white gold tarnish? How can I fix this problem?

Thank you Kim

Kim B [last name deleted due to age of posting]
- Airdrie, Alberta, Canada

Q. I am about to purchase an engagement ring and would like to know the advantages to getting a platinum alloy instead of white gold or platinum.

I was told that platinum is harder than platinum and doesn't require as much maintenance as white gold.

Is this true?

Scott R. [last name deleted due to age of posting]
student - Provo, Utah

Q. My engagement ring is 9 carat white gold and just recently have had to have it re - rhodium plated as it started to tarnish.
When I got it back the jeweler told me that white gold is just yellow gold coated with rhodium plating.

Is this true or are they trying to fob me off? please let me know!

Becky L [last name deleted due to age of posting]
student - Colchester, Essex, England

A. Gold is an element and it is always gold colored, Becky. So 24 karat gold would have to be yellow, but rings are usually not made of so soft a material anyway. 9 karat gold is 9/24 gold and 15/24 of some other metals. It is possible to pick these alloying metals such that the alloy is whitish, and that alloy is called white gold. But it is not brilliant mirror white, so today it is usually rhodium plated, which is brilliant white. However, putting rhodium onto yellow gold is not recommended and most people would not consider that to be white gold. It sounds to me like the jeweler is being a bit disingenuous and misleading.

Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

Q. I received a white gold engagement ring. After the ring was sized for the first time and I went to pick it up I noticed that only the band was yellowish in color. It has been about a year now and I have not got it re-rhodiumed yet. Would it make it look like white gold again if I brought it back to the jeweler and had it re-rhodiumed. Also should I have him do a thick plating.

Casey A [last name deleted due to age of posting]
Jewelry - Rochester, New York

Q. My Fiancee bought me a white gold engagement ring. After about 2 weeks it started turning yellow. We took it back o the jeweler and show him. He gave us this long speech about how sometime white gold turns that way due to household cleaners, perfumes. etc.. He performed tests in front of us (which meant little to me) he suggested that I have it dipped in platinum. Is this safe?

Tany [last name deleted due to age of posting]
engagement - BROOKLYN, New York

Q. My fiance purchased a yellow gold ring and when he tried to get it ordered in white gold, which was my preference he was told it could be dipped in white gold and be just the same. Now 2 weeks later the yellow gold is showing on parts of the ring. I was told that the rhodium that the ring was dipped in was not good enough and it just needed to be redipped. I am totally unfamiliar with the term rhodium and thought my ring was white gold. Please explain is my ring white gold or not. And if so why is the yellow gold showing.

Angie J [last name deleted due to age of posting]
purchaser - Clinton, South Carolina

Q. I was wondering if I can have my white gold engagement ring stripped and turned into its original gold?

Julie T [last name deleted due to age of posting]
- Manchester, Cheshire, England

A. No, Julie. A gold ring is usually made of gold alloyed with other metals. If those other metals are nickel or palladium, the ring will still be whitish if you managed to get the rhodium off of it.

Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

Q. My fiance bought me a white gold engagement ring, which subsequently lost the white color and is yellow underneath. I would like to know what the cost difference is between white and yellow gold. Should I return my ring?

Debbra M [last name deleted due to age of posting]
ring owner - La Mesa, California

Q. We purchased a white gold wedding mount, about a year ago. We just took it back to the jewelry store to have a diamond fixed. When we got it back it was yellow, they said when they fixed it they forgot to replate it. They are also telling us that white gold is no longer being built in the USA. My question is this, is it true they no longer produce white gold that is not plated?

Thank you,

Robert S [last name deleted due to age of posting]
jewelry purchaser - Cedar Rapids, Iowa

A. Get your money back quick. In the first place ask know how they got the rhodium off your wedding band because professionals say it is difficult (see letter 10337). With luck, the wedding band you are holding is your original one, but I wouldn't be too sure. In the second place, it's ridiculous to claim that white gold isn't made anymore. In the third place, as mentioned earlier in this thread, rhodium plating on yellow gold will be unsatisfactory because as it wears the contrast will be ugly. (Although white gold is a bit grayish compared to the brilliance of rhodium, it doesn't stick out like a sore thumb like yellow gold will).

We were afraid that part of the reason we've received so many complaints is that some jewelers were taking the easy route of rhodium plating yellow gold instead of white gold and apparently our suspicions are becoming confirmed.

Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

Q. I was reading some of the questions and answers regarding changing a wedding ring from yellow gold to white gold.  Where can I have this procedure done?  Will any jeweler be able to do this type of plating?  Much Thanks.

Kelly T [last name deleted due to age of posting]
- Toms River, New Jersey

Ed. note: most jewelers can do it but you probably won't be happy with it because nickel plating is usually involved and you may be allergic to that; plus, as the plating wears the contrast will be far more obvious than if the rhodium plating wore through on a white gold ring.

Q. I've recently switched to white gold. I have three sets of diamond earrings that I'd like to have converted from yellow gold, to white gold. Should I have them dipped or should I just have them replaced with white gold? Which is best, and why?

Evonna R [last name deleted due to age of posting]
Home owner - Jacksonville, Texas

A. Replaced is better, Evonna. Although white gold is traditionally plated with rhodium to brighten it, the substrate is basically white, so when the plating wears thin the contrast is not dramatic. But if you plate yellow gold with rhodium, the yellow will stick out the moment the plating wears.

Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

Q. I have a yellow gold, wedding band and engagement ring and I would really like them to be changed to White. Can you please let me know the best way to go about this?

Laura R [last name deleted due to age of posting]
Purchaser - London, UK

Q. My wedding ring set is yellow gold and I would like to change to either white gold or platinum. I do not really want to change the setting. I have heard of dipping rings in either white or yellow. Is this possible or is it destined to fail?

Patricia G [last name deleted due to age of posting]
- New Orleans, Louisiana

Q. I would like to change my yellow gold wedding ring to white gold. However when I went from where I bought it they discouraged my decision cause they said they yellow would still come up after several months!. Is this true? Does somebody know of any other option pls?

Mary G. [last name deleted due to age of posting]
n/a - Valletta, Malta

thumbs up sign After having a similar pre-marital debate (one of many I'm sure !) with my fiancee about the yellow gold ("gold" gold it should be called) ring (with 5 diamonds) that I sprung on her whilst perched on one knee, we read (days after the perching) this very interesting chain of discussion (as above).

**Basically I have come to the conclusion that "gold" gold is always going to be better than any ring that is plated.**

Whether that ring be white gold plated with rhodium or "gold" gold plated with rhodium, surely having a stable ring (colour) better relates to a stable relationship (which is actually what is important), so white "rhodium" gold may be fashionable but the original is and was always best, that's why they have done it that way for so many years. So "gold" gold is best !

O'er now we have to debate the colour of the wedding band, I'm sure white gold or platinum next to a lot of diamonds on top of a "gold" gold ring will look just fine.

Oh happy days........

Craig S [last name deleted due to age of posting]
- Scotland

Q. I just got engaged and the ring that my fiance bought me is his grandmothers, the problem is its yellow gold and I don't wear yellow gold. My fiance knows this and suggests getting it dipped but my concern is that after paying for it a few times I could have got a new setting. Should I mention my concern to my fiance and hope it doesn't offend him or just keep getting it plated?

Megan [last name deleted due to age of posting]
Dental assisting - Salt Lake City, Utah

Q. I have a yellow gold ring which I would like to change to white gold.
Can this be easily done and what do you think the cost would be?

Michele M. [last name deleted due to age of posting]
- Melbourne Vic Australia

A. You probably won't be happy Michele. While it is possible to do a white plating a relatively low wear yellow item like a necklace, the color contrast is dramatic when it starts wearing. So for a ring, which is a very high wear item, you'll start seeing yellow through the wearing-thin plating pretty soon.

Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

Q. I have been married for 2 years and I have a wedding ring set that is 14k gold. My first engagement ring is platinum and my husband knows good and well I don't wear gold. So my gorgeous wedding ring sits on my dresser. We've been talking about getting it dipped in platinum or white gold but I'm not sure what's the pro's and con's about doing so. I don't want it to dull later or crack. I'm not sure how it works and should we have some sort of shine on top of the metal. Can you give me a quick suggestion?

BaLorie Chambliss
Plating - Macon, Georgia

Q. Is yellow gold so much more common and cheaper that jewelers have to use a yellow gold base and rhodium it to look like white gold instead of making a ring in true white gold?

Tammy B
consumer - Spokane, Washington

A. There is no substantial cost difference, Tammy. I suspect that the reason jewelers do this is because some customers demand it, and because it reduces their inventory if they only have to stock one color. But it's a terrible idea. Rings wear quickly (many people have seen rings that have worn all the way through over a couple of decades). A plated layer therefore cannot last long, and the contrast between yellow and white will be ugly.

Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

Q. Is there any way to get my husband's white gold ring dipped or turned or covered in platinum? We've only been married 3 weeks and already his ring is turning color and it's a bit scratched up. I had my engagement ring (which is white gold) almost a year before I had it dipped for my wedding and when I got it back it still had a yellow-ish color to it (not as much as there was) and still looked a little scratched underneath. Shouldn't they have buffed out the little scratches (because they we not bad) and shouldn't my ring have looked like new? meaning the color. Was it the jewelers or is there no way to get my white gold ring to look like new? Is there any way our rings can be coated with platinum? Would platinum be a better choice for rings? I heard it was stronger than gold.

Kasey Lynn Florez
Office Manager - Las Vegas, Nevada

Q. Hello
My fiance just gave me my engagement ring and told me it is made of 19 carat white gold. The jeweler told him this white gold is 90% gold and 10 % something else and does not need to be replated every 5 year like 18 carat gold does. He was told unlike 18 carat if you cut this open in the middle it would be white all the way through. Have you ever heard of this? He purchased our ring from a respectable store who has a specialist come in every 4 months to do custom jewellery and this gentleman really had no reason to lie considering my fiance wasn't really trying to cheap out but I find no information on 19 carat not needing to be replated. On the inside of my ring it is stamped 19K. I am now extremely curious about this issue.

Julie Turpin
Researching - Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Q. Hello, I got engaged 5 weeks ago and have only worn my ring for about one third of the time. It's a white gold "presentation" setting because my fiance didn't know exactly what I wanted. Yesterday we went back to the jewelers to discuss wedding bands and he offered to clean my ring. He took it in back and used steam cleaner [on eBay or Amazon] on it. I slipped it back on my finger without inspecting it. On the way home I noticed part of the ring looked cloudy and there was a small burn/tarnish mark on it. We called him when we got home and he insists he was not responsible for the damage. I know that the ring was flawless when I gave it to him. Is it possible for white gold to be damaged by the extremely high heat of steam cleaning? Do you know what could have caused that damage? I'd appreciate any help! Thanks.

Michelle Washington
- Chicago, Illinois

Q. I was recently given my grandmother's engagement ring to present to my girlfriend. I'm of limited means, but I love her intensely and can not imagine sharing my life with anyone else. The ring is very beautiful, it was given to my grandmother in 1941 by my grandfather. My girlfriend loves the ring, however, neither of us are fans of gold. I know beggars can't be choosers, but I need help. First off the ring has an engraving on the inside from my grandfather to my grandmother. We don't want to lose it. Will dipping it eradicate the engraving? Secondly...this white gold I to understand that I could have the ring plated, only to have it wear off shortly thereafter even with a top of the line plating job? would it be better do have it dipped platinum? are dipping and plating the same thing? I need help...I want this ring to be perfect for the woman I love, and I am totally lost.

Robert DuMont
Project Management - Hopatcong, New Jersey

A. Plating is usually quite thin and unlikely to fill the engraving, Robert, but if it must be plated repeatedly over the years, or if you want heavy plating, then it could gradually fill it.

As mentioned repeatedly on this thread and others, rings are very heavy wear items and the plating will wear off. It doesn't matter what the plating is made of, it will wear off. Rings often wear all the way through. If you try to change the color of a ring by plating it, the plating will wear to a blotchy appearance very quickly and you will not be happy. A yellow ring is yellow and a white ring is white, and that's just the way it is.

Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

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