Maintaining white gold rings is a bit trickier compared with caring for rings made of yellow gold or platinum. The reason has to do with how white gold is made: It consists of yellow gold mixed with white metals and covered with plating (usually rhodium) to hide the yellowish color of the resulting alloy.
Cleaning White Gold Rings
Because of the composition of white gold, caring for rings made of it is not only about cleaning them but also about preserving their rhodium plating.
To clean your white gold ring, follow the steps outlined below:
1. Prepare a cleaning solution by mixing mild soap and warm water. Do not use detergents that contain chlorine or other harsh chemicals.
2. Soak your white gold ring in the solution for 20-30 minutes.
3. Gently rub the ring using a soft cloth or a soft brush to remove any dirt.
4. Rinse the ring with lukewarm water to remove any soap residue.
5. Dry the white gold ring with a clean towel.
Tip: If your ring is especially dirty, you can add several drops of ammonia to the water.
Alternatively, you can use a jewelry cleaner that can be used on white gold — here is one brand that is popular.
Important: Do not use any abrasive substances to scrub your white gold ring so as not to damage its plating. While rhodium coating is pretty durable and is unlikely to wear off from a single cleaning session, repeatedly using harsh materials on white gold will have a noticeable effect on its surface.
Cleaning White Gold Rings with Gemstones
If your white gold ring has stones that are durable (e.g., diamonds), you can clean it using the method described above.
However, there are softer and less durable gemstones that should not be soaked in water and soap for a long time (for example, pearls or onyx stones).
If your white gold ring has such gemstones, or if you are not sure how your stones should be cleaned, do not submerge the piece in the cleaning solution.
Instead, dip a soft cloth in the soapy water, and rub the metal parts of the ring gently. You can clean the gemstones by wiping them carefully with a damp cloth.
Alternatively, you can use a more versatile jewelry cleaning and polishing kit like this one, which will work on a wide range of jewelry materials — just make sure that the one you get can be used on the metals and gemstones you have.
Keeping Your White Gold Ring Safe
Remove your white gold ring when doing housework so as not to expose your jewelry to harsh chemicals.
This is especially true if you are doing cleaning using chlorine-based detergents. Chlorine is a chemical that can have a damaging effect on white gold over time and can cause your ring’s parts to wear down faster.
Since you can also find chlorine in tap water and swimming pools, don’t wear your white gold ring while taking a shower or swimming.
What to Do If Your White Gold Ring Is Scratched
If your ring is scratched, you can always take it to a jeweler and have its scratches polished out. However, if white gold is polished too often, its rhodium plating will wear off quickly. If this happens, you can have the ring replated with rhodium for a fee.
Sooner or later every white gold piece needs to have its coating restored, but how fast the plating will wear off depends on how often you wear and polish your ring.