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"My white gold ring did turn black"

May 6, 2010

I took a 14K white gold band with intricate carving in to a jeweler to be sized. When I brought it home and put my hands in water, the ring turned black. I took it back and they said that perhaps the rouge reacted badly. They cleaned it and added rhodium. The same thing happened again, and they "worked on it" for the third time. When I went to pick it up the other day, I asked the clerk to put it into water before I touched it. She let it sit in purified water for a couple of minutes, and the ring turned black, especially inside the carvings. I read that gold does not react to water. Do you have any idea what's going on. I'm sending before and after pictures so you can see for yourself.

before sizing & polish

after sizing & polish

after 3rd return

Carol Ferguson
Gold Jewelry - Hoodsport, Washington

May 17, 2010

Hi, Carol. Please be careful with the belief that gold doesn't react with chemicals; rings are not made out of pure gold, they are made out of alloys that also contain copper, silver, nickel, etc., and are not nearly as inert as pure gold.

Still, I'd agree that plain water shouldn't turn a ring black (although I personally find the black in the recesses attractive). I don't have the practical jewelry experience to give a likely cause for what happened here, but hopefully another reader will. Good luck.

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

June 13, 2010

I had this same problem last year when I got a new engagement ring. Apparently, white gold is simply yellow gold mixed with other elements such as nickel and such. You're correct in saying that gold doesn't oxidize with other things as it is a stable metal through and through. But the rhodium that is applied to the white gold to give it it's brilliant white appearance reacts with chlorine (which is probably in the water) will turn it black! I took it to my jeweler and had him buff it up real good again and it was fine. If you redip it in rhodium just beware the weird black effect.

- Fishersville, Virginia, USA

June 21, 2010

Thanks, Jennifer. That makes sense since my ring was re-dipped in rhodium.

Carol Ferguson
- Hoodsport, Washington, USA

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