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Palladium-alloy white gold versus nickel-alloy white gold


Q. I am in the process of having a wedding ring set custom made by a local jeweler. To have this set made in platinum was out of my budget, so I opted for white gold. I did, however, pay slightly more for palladium alloy instead of a nickel based alloy. I did this to get a higher quality ring that would (hopefully) remain more white in color over time than the cheaper nickel-alloy white gold.

My question: does the palladium alloy indeed yellow less over time? And, are palladium alloy white gold rings also rhodium plated? What would be different about the look of the ring if it were not dipped in rhodium?


Elena Richer
teacher - Petaluma, California, USA


A. Hello Elena Richer,

The more you add alloys more you get white color and if you are looking for bright white color it'll need plating otherwise you will not get bright white color. Palladium is good it'll not look yellow after few time but you will have to plate for bright white color.

Example I made one white gold pendant of palladium alloy which was 18k I saw to my customer he told me why it is not looking like imported jewelry I explain him you have to do plating so I did bright white color, after plating he is happy with color same like imported jewelry.

Dipen Pattni
Dipen Pattni
jeweler/goldsmith - Dar-Es-Salaam, Tanzania


"White gold" is not an isotope of gold that is white. All pure 24kt gold is yellow. But jewelry is rarely 24kt gold; usually it's 12kt (12/24's pure) or 14kt (14/24's pure). If the other 10 or 12 parts out of 24 are palladium or nickel, those metals have a "bleaching" effect, making the jewelry "whitish". This is the "white gold" of your grandmother's ring.

But today is an age of bling and most people want their "white gold" scintillatingly white and bright. This is accomplished by rhodium plating of the jewelry (because no mixture of metals that is roughly half yellow gold can approach the brightness of rhodium plating). The advantage of rhodium plating is bling that makes diamonds look bigger and better; the disadvantage is that it will wear away and require periodic replating. An additional disadvantage is that jewelers or manufacturers often rhodium plate white gold that is rather yellowish, and which consequently looks poorly and requires replating too soon.

April 1, 2008

Q. I bought my wedding ring as white gold simply. At that time didn't know much about alloys. My ring now is scratched and a bit yellowish after only 6 months of wearing it. I wanted to polish is to get the shine back but was told that it's been a palladium alloy, not nickel and it would always be a bit yellowish.

I'm confused now as I searched about the alloys and found out that palladium is supposed to be whiter than nickel.

I would really appreciate an advise what to do to get my ring shiny again, or do I have to buy a new one and be more careful?


Alma Mandic
buyer - Vancouver, BC Canada

April 6, 2008

A. Hi, Alma. Dipen Pattni's answer is helpful in that he tells people that you don't get the truly scintillating, brilliant color that one sees these days without rhodium plating. Please see our Rhodium Plating and White Gold FAQ which, I think, will give you a clear understanding. In short, in you want dazzle you need to have the ring rhodium plated periodically.


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

October 13, 2010

Q. Hi guys.

I really want to buy a white gold engagement ring for my lady, but am afraid it will turn yellow over time and it'll need to be replated with rhodium.

Any advise to have more palladium (14/24th) than yellow gold (10/24th). Do you think this will do the trick?

Tony Fitzwater
Buyer - Seoul, South Korea

July 2013

A. Hi Tony. There actually is a "whiteness scale"; and some white gold, such as Stuller X1, and some other metals like .950 Super Palladium, are considered white enough to not "need" rhodium plating. However, no mixture of yellow gold and bleaching metals can match the bling of rhodium plating, so I can't say whether she'll like it unplated. But, even if she does want you to get it plated, the plating will last longer on a white gold ring with good white color than on a yellowish ring.


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

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