Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Converting yellow gold to white


#1

A customer of mine asked me to “change” her yellow gold pendant to
white gold. She claims to have had this “colour change” process done
with another pendant. I am not aware of a process that can actually
change the colour of yellow gold. the only thing that I can think of
is to electro plate the yellow gold pendant with something like
palladium or other white metal. Does anyone know of a way to change
yellow gold to white gold?

Thanks
Milt Fischbein
Calgary Canada


#2

Obviously she is referring to rhodium plating. It is not a
permanent change but it will make a yellow piece white.

Daniel R. Spirer, GG
www.spirersomes.com


#3

Milt,

"Does anyone know of a way to change yellow gold to white gold? " 

Unless you plan to electroplate rhodium onto the surface, there is
no magic way to make yellow gold turn white. Perhaps your customer
took her previous pendant to a Con Artist, instead of a goldsmith…
:wink:

Doug


#4

Hi Milt, get your customer to give you the name of the other jeweller
who was able to perform this miracle. This other jeweller might have
some good advice about turning lead into gold as well.
Kind regards, Rex Steele Merten


#5

Ummm… Well, I have always used the “Magic Wand” technique. While
holding the “Magic Wand” to the piece needing change, utter the
phrase “Oh Wha Ta Moo Se Iam” 3 times and blink. Poof! The gold
changes colors.


#6

way to make yellow gold turn white.

Depending on how much silver vs copper is in the alloy, continued
depletion gilding will sometimes “whiten” the surface by removing the
copper and leaving the gold and silver - the effect can be quite
marked on some high-silver lower karat golds.

It can also effectively destroy some pieces by removing the Zn and
other stuff in there as well of course, as I’ve managed to do on
several occasions.

Al Heywood


#7

I cannot understand all this humbug why yellow gold cannot be
converted to white. Lets face it, it is not merely by a magic wand
or saying.“abracadabra” as it has been said. It is a process which I
have been doing since I have been fabricating white gold. For the
750, it is a process of adding to the pure yellow gold, the 24 carat
gold, with a one third of the weight you have in question of alloy
which can be purchased ready from Lacywest Supplies, Canada, they
call it ‘Italian White Alloy 10-18K All purpose Alloy’ or any other
supplier of this genre. Myself, I have the alloy from WELT, of
Milano Italy and has a very good malleable property when melted and
can be fabricated easily by hand. The result:- turning yellow gold
to white, no more no less.

Turning on to be sunny in Malta,
JOSEPH TANTI
http://jostanti.cjb.net


#8

I believe your customer has been fooled. Many years ago when I was
apprenticing, I made a mistake and cast a pendant out of white gold
instead of yellow, It was repaired by simply plating it, I am sure
your customer had the same experience but didn’t know it,

Frif


#9

Dear Joseph, the original post referred to a jeweller’s client who
claimed that another jeweller had changed her brooch from yellow
gold to white gold while maintaining its originality. This is humbug.

Making white gold alloy for fabrication isn’t, as you so rightly
point out. Kind regards, Rex Steele Merten


#10

I responded to this email when it came out. Obviously none of you
read it because those who have responded have all ignored the
obvious. The jeweler may have TOLD the woman he had converted the
piece to white gold, but all he actually did was rhodium plate it.
This is the only way that the piece would be exactly the same but
white. All the other stuff written about alloying, while
informative from the point of view of making white gold, is moot
because that isn’t what happened.

Daniel R. Spirer, GG
Spirer Somes Jewelers
1794 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA 02140
617-491-6000
@spirersomes
www.spirersomes.com


#11

Thanks to everyone who answered my post. As I suspected, and many of
you have confirmed, there is no way to convert a yellow gold pendant
to white gold, with the exception of plating. I have discussed this
with my customer again. She is quite disappointed as she used
someone to whom she referred to as a “very reputable jeweler”.
Unfortunately he misrepresented what he had done to change the
colour of the pendant. He will now loose a customer who has brought
him business for several years. She is going to go back to him to
give him a chance to explain how he converted his pendant. If the
reply is interesting I will post it here. Regards Milt Fischbein
Calgary, Canada


#12

Some cases of this modern alchemy are the result of jewelers (or
manufactures) simply rhodium plating yellow gold to make it ‘white’.

The legal status of selling rhodium plated yellow gold as ‘white
gold’ is unclear, at least in some countries, however the practice is
unethical and was declared to be ‘an unfair trade practice’ by the
International Jewellery Confederation (CIBJO) a few years ago
(unless, of course, the customer is aware of the true nature of the
object.

Happy Spring
Jack Ogden


#13
   All the other stuff written about alloying, while informative
from the point of view of making white gold, is moot because that
isn't what happened. 

On the contrary Daniel, It may not be that simple. The piece may have
been molded and cast. This may have been explained to the customer.
They may have had no idea what the jeweler was talking about all
they knew was that their piece was now white. If she believed that
someone could magically change the molecular structure of an alloy
she probably couldn’t grasp molding and casting.

Here in Colorado gold aspen leaves are popular. I have had customers
bring in leaves they picked up while hiking and asked me to dip them
in gold. Yes, they think you can just dip them in liquid gold. I
tell these people about the melting temperature of gold and how
leaves burn and they look at me and say “well, a guy in Telluride
does it” …

I understand that there are thieves and hacks in this business but I
also know that there are many, many, many customers who are clueless
when it come to jewelry concepts and technology. I hope that it was
the latter in this case.

John Sholl
Littleton, Colorado


#14
 The piece may have been molded and cast. 

If the customer came in and said “I had this piece before and I
brought it to a jeweler who converted it to white gold, and the piece
is exactly the same as before except it’s white now” I would lay odds
of 100 to 1 that all the jeweler did was rhodium plate it. I have,
over the last 25+ years of retailing had a number of people come in
and tell me the same thing and it has always turned out that the
piece had simply been plated. Maybe this isn’t exactly what the
customer was saying but it sure sounded to me like it was.

Daniel R. Spirer, GG
Spirer Somes Jewelers
1794 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA 02140
617-491-6000
@spirersomes
www.spirersomes.com


#15

Hello Jack:

    The legal status of selling rhodium plated yellow gold as
'white gold' is unclear, at least in some countries, however the
practice is unethical and was declared to be 'an unfair trade
practice' by the International Jewellery Confederation (CIBJO) a
few years ago (unless, of course, the customer is aware of the true
nature of the object. 

I wonder if this “Unfair Trade Practice” also applies (or should
apply) to the Rhodium plated “off colored 18K white gold” that so
many manufacturers are using now in some very high end jewelry lines.
The “yellowish white” that looks very yellow as the rhodium wears
away on the shank and prong tips. The 18K white that is not a stand
alone white that could be marketed for its color and must be plated.
If you or anyone out there knows if it is or thinks that it is,
unethical or even irresponsible to sell this kind of "low to no"
longevity type jewelry let me know.

Michael R. Mathews Sr. Victoria,Texas USA JACMBJ


#16
 dip them in liquid gold" 

Is probably a description of the copper paint/gold elctroplate
system used to cover baby shoes in gold.

It’s a romantic expression rather than a technical description of
the process.

Tony Konrath
Key West Florida 33040


#17

John, you’re right of course, you can’t dip leaves in molten gold
(well, you can … ). But there certainly are processes by which
leaves can be gold plated. I don’t know how it’s done, but suppose
it involves electroplating. There are companies that specialise in
this very process … you can have “baby’s first shoes” plated, and
gold plated orchids (Yea!) are almost a national symbol in Singapore.
May be worthwhile finding a specialist in your area that could
handle this work for you.

I do know that while electroplating is simple in principal, achieving
good results really depends on carefully prepared solutions which
usually contain proprietary materials. Silver plating can be done
fairly easily by chemical methods, but only to get a thin layer,
not with any strength. Kevin (NW England, UK)


#18

Michael, for what it is worth I think Rhodium plating to cover/hide
the yellowness of the 18k not so white, is nothing but a scam. The
maker is perpetuating a misrepresentation of the nature of the
actual material. The public comes away thinking the material is
white when it is really not. Once again a few shoot the rest of us
in the foot. Unethical, irresponsible, very, in my opinion.

Bill


#19

Hi

Michael R. Mathews sensibly asks whether the ‘unfair’ rhodium
plating of yellow gold also applies to rhodium plated “off colored
18K white gold”.

This is a tricky one - as I’ve posted before, problems with some
white gold alloys and the present avoidance of nickel (allergies) and
zinc (brittless) mean that many white golds are ‘off white’ at best.

There has never, to my knowldege been any legal definition - or
litigation - but the base line must surely be that customers should
know what they are getting. They shouldn’t be surprised when the
rhodium wears off on the edges and a different colour is exposed.

… of course, if the rhodium is not supposed to wear off, why have
gold underneath at all? Why not brass? What useful purpose does the
gold serve (other than ensuring a relatively high price)? :slight_smile:

Yours
Jack Ogden