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White Gold and Rhodium Plating - Why We Don't Do It

When it comes to white gold at MetalPressions.com we differ substantially from what you might find at your typical fine jewelry store; we do not rhodium plate our white gold.

White Gold is Plated?

Maybe you weren't even aware that white golds are almost always plated. They are plated because today's white gold alloys are a darker color than silver, platinum, or palladium. As you may know, any Karat gold less then pure 24K gold is an alloy and contains varying amounts of other materials. Those other materials effect the color and can make it range through a whole host of colors including: bright yellow, warm yellow, green, pink, and white. White gold may contain palladium, nickle, silver, copper, and zinc. The exact combination of these materials will effect the hue of white color the gold has. We have heard claims that older white alloys may have been brighter than today's alloys. These rumors imply that today's darker alloys use less expensive material becasue of the availability of plating to make them appear brighter. Why add more expensive materials to make the white gold brighter when it's going to be plated anyway? We couldn't find definitive proof that this was true. We did find that even some of the whitest white gold alloys still look considerably darker than silver.

What is Rhodium?

Rhodium is a very expensive but brittle metal that doesn't work well for solid jewelry applications. However, it is an excellent material for plating and with a bright white hue.














Why is White Gold Rhodium Plated?

If its whiter is it more valuable?

There are several reasons why its typical for white gold to be plated. As discussed above, a brighter white color is sometimes preferred. Similar to yellow gold, where often a brighter yellow is associated with a higher karat of gold, a more brilliant white gold might viewed as more valuable.

Wow, that ring is unbelievably brilliant!

Other times designers may call for the more brilliant and reflective rhodium plating to help set off diamonds in a design. The high reflectivity can enhance the brilliance of a stone and possibly give the illusion that the stone is bigger or there are more diamonds than there really are.

Got allergies to nickel?

The majority of white gold alloys contain nickle, sometimes in the range of 15% of the total composition. It's understandable when compared to a palladium white gold composition without nickle that can be as much as 40% more expensive. There are several studies that report 10% - 20% of the population as having a nickle allergy of varying degrees. For those with a sensitivity to nickle, rhodium plating helps prevent the skin coming in contact with the nickle in the white gold. That works until the plating wears away over time.

Why Don't We Plate Our White Gold?

The truth is we just never thought to do it. As self taught jewelers with little influence from the mainstream traditional jewelry industry, we didn't have good reason to pursue plating. Where others may frown on the darker color of un-plated white gold, we embrace the deeper color as a distinction from the brighter materials. We find that when you do add diamonds to natural white gold, the darker background can make them stand out considerably more than on a bright surface. There isn't necessarily anything wrong with using plating to set off a stone, but we tend to focus on making an element look good for its size and placement. Our genre of jewelry doesn't lean toward optical effects to increase perceived value. Many of the designs we make have subdued finishes for a warm and more subtle look. For all those reason and the fact that we don't like the idea our of customers having to regularly re-plate items, we opt not to Rhodium plate our white gold.

What Type Of White Gold Are We Using?

Our white gold has a medium gray color that is noticeably different than silver. It sets itself apart from the mainstream and is equally as effective and stunning in it's own right when used in our designs. If you are looking for unique and bold, then our white gold is for you. Our white gold does contain nickle, so if allergies are an issue, customers can request the more expensive palladium white gold without nickle or (as a last resort) Rhodium plating.

Here are some white gold listings of the items pictured:

Solid Gold Bar Necklace

White Gold Wide Rimmed Pendant Necklace with Diamonds

White Gold Wedding Bands

White Gold Washer Necklaces

White Gold Mobius Twist Ring

Interested in a white gold design?

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