You have a splendid piece of white gold jewelry, but with time, it has gotten a lot of scratches. Should you have it polished? You can, but that’s not always the best idea. Let’s see why.
How White Gold Is Made
White gold is actually made of yellow gold mixed with a white metal. However, even when such an alloy is made, it still has a yellow tint. That’s why it is usually covered with a layer of rhodium, whose color is actually the color of white gold that people are used to seeing when looking at jewelry.
So, in reality, white gold is a yellow gold alloy covered with rhodium; beneath it, your white gold jewelry is actually yellowish.
Why Polishing White Gold Can Be Bad
While rhodium plating makes white gold lustrous and white, it is not the best candidate for polishing exactly because of this coating.
Whenever you take your jewelry to a professional to have it polished, your piece is buffed using an abrasive material that removes a tiny layer off the jewelry’s surface.
And as you might guess, every time your white gold piece is polished, this process takes away part of its rhodium plating, little by little.
If the top layer of your white gold is already worn down after a long time of wearing your jewelry, polishing it can remove the little plating it still has, exposing the layer beneath, which is yellowish.
Even if it’s not heavily worn, your white gold may have deep scratches, whose removal would require heavier polishing, which could remove significant parts of the rhodium plating.
What to Do If Your White Gold Is Scratched
But if white gold is not the best candidate for polishing, what should you do if it does get scratched?
First of all, you should not have your white gold jewelry polished too often. Instead, wait until there are a lot of scratches, and then take it to a jeweler to have it buffed.
In the meantime, you can use a polishing cloth to keep your white gold jewelry shiny. Click here to see a polishing cloth that can be used on gold.
How Often Should You Polish White Gold?
In general, polishing white gold more than once or twice a year will cause it to lose its rhodium plating more quickly. In most cases, having your jewelry polished a couple of times a year is enough.
If you wear your pieces very often, though, they will scratch more quickly, and you can polish them more often. However, in such a case, be prepared to pay more money to have the color of your white gold restored when the plating wears off.
How to Restore the Color of White Gold
So, now that the lower layer of your white gold is exposed and your piece looks yellowish, is there something you can do to make it white again?
Actually, yes – you can always have your white gold re-plated with rhodium. Almost every jeweler provides such a service for a fee. Keep in mind, however, that this might cost you $20-$50 and more.
Before you decide where to have your jewelry re-plated, be sure to ask the jeweler about the method used and how thick the plating will be (the thinner it is, the shorter it will last).