Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

White gold - metallurgical help


#1

I need some metallurgical help, here. I recently had a question come
my way, out of the blue, regarding white gold needing to be
periodically replated in order to remain white. My reaction was to
say, no, that should not be necessary, as white gold is white, or at
least as white as white gold gets, all the way through. I was
thinking maybe rhodium plate, for a brilliant white finish, but even
that would, I hope, be a thing that is made clear from the start by a
reputable jeweller. Anyway, the response I got next has me a bit
concerned:

Thank you for replying to my question so quickly. My wife and I
recently purchased white gold wedding rings from Birks Jewelers in
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. My wife's engagement ring turned gold
in colour after 6 months. Having talked with an associate at Birks
we were told that this was common and the rings would have to be
replated every 6 months. They just replated the engagement ring for
us. They said that this was happening because the Canadian
Government had restricted the amount of lead that could be used in
the making of white gold jewelery. 
We were told it would cost an extra $50 per ring on top of the
original price of the rings to have them replated twice a year.
Needless to say this is not what we had in mind when we purchased
the rings. The manager has been on holidays so we haven't had a
chance to speak with him/her. We've just been trying to get some
background from different people who have expertise in
this field. From what you've told us it sounds like we're right to
think something is not right here. We would appreciate your opinion
and/or any comments or you have on this situation. 

I’ve got a number of questions, at this point, chief among them being
"Lead? In white gold?" Lead’s toxic, and who in their right mind
would include it in jewelry?

Anyway, I got these folks’ permission to post their question on
Orchid, along with their email address, amead@mts.net, so that
someone with more knowledge than I have can help them out directly.
I’d like to learn more about this, myself, since I don’t know for sure
if they’ve got grounds for concern or even for legal action, but of
course they’re the ones in primary need of reassurance and

Loren http://www.golden-knots.com/


#2

Hi: It’s a common practice in the industry to rhodium plate to give
the appearance of white gold… I really don’t think it’s kosher not
to inform… I only use white for white…the other reason is it is
harder to set stones in white gold…Have a good day

Ringman


#3

Hi Loren; Lead in white gold? Preposterous! There is no legitimate
modern white gold alloy on the market that has lead in it. Somebody
is being fed a line of B.S. White gold typically contains gold,
silver, nickel or palladium, and a certain amount of zinc in some
cases. I would take the rings back to the store and insist that you
know good and well these were yellow gold and were plated with rhodium
and you either want your money back or another set in white gold that
had better not turn yellow. I would also promise to report them to
the Jeweler’s Vigilance Committee, and the Canadian equivalents of the
Better Business Bureau and the Attorney General if this situation
were not corrected. This is fraud, plain and simple. A lot of white
gold is rhodium plated, and that plating wears off, either slowly or
quickly depending on how thick and how much wear it gets, but it
shouldn’t appear yellow. . .more yellowish than platinum or silver,
but certainly not a discernible yellow.

David L. Huffman


#4

I have worn my wedding rings for forty one years. They are white gold
and they look as they have always looked . . . like silver. I always
liked silver color on my skin better than gold but I knew that silver
would not wear well. I never take them off even when I was throwing
clay with grog in it. There is hardly any wear evident on them.

Marilyn Smith


#5

David, I have a small retail store here in Tacoma, WA. We specialize
in custom design work. In the past few months I have beenvisited by a
disturbing number of people with the same complaint, which is as
follows: Customer believes they have purchased a white gold ring, as
indicated by the salesperson AND the receipt. After wearing a short
time the customer notices yellow showing through the wear spots. Upon
returning to the place of purchase that have been told, by the
managers, that indeed, what they are seeing is the yellow gold
underneath, and that WHITE GOLD IS JUST YELLOW GOLD THAT HAS BEEN
RHODIUM PLATED!!! When I spoke to a manager in person, I was told
that all these pieces were cast in Asia, and that was their general
practice, and please butt out. This is a MAJOR chain, with a VERY
WELL KNOWN name attached to it. If you’d like to call, I’ll disclose
it, but will not here, for obvious reasons.

Wayne Emery


#6
   Upon . . . returning to the place of purchase that have been
told, by the managers, that indeed, what they are seeing is the
yellow gold underneath, and that WHITE GOLD IS JUST YELLOW GOLD THAT
HAS BEEN RHODIUM PLATED!!!!! When I spoke to a manager in person, I
was told that all these pieces were cast in Asia, and that was their
general practice, and please butt out. This is a MAJOR chain, with a
VERY WELL KNOWN name attached to it . . . 

This is so typical of the kind of service that one finds at some of
the major chains, which usually locate themselves in heavily trafficed
malls. After their customers come to a small retailer and get the kind
of service their patronage deserves, they never go back. I keep
telling everyone, “This is a service industry now!”.

David L. Huffman


#7

There are 2/3 alloy descriptions for white gold… none of which in
the US have lead . . . MAJOR Chain or not . . . they are
’bunk-o-artist and should be reported to the appropriate authorities.
. . most likely been getting away with this for years . . . I have
also warn WG for 30 years with no problem. . . Ascidians might plate
Yellow gold but I cant believe they would call it White Gold…

Jim