White gold turned gray

I had a customer with a 14 karat gold wedding ring that she wanted a
larger diamond set in it, so we changed the head and set the new
diamond. After polishing it, it’s now gray instead of white. Can
anyone explain what went wrong and how I can fix it?

Sue Kapoor

Sue It might be plat. was it hard to polish? if not it might need a
good rhod. plate put on


Hello Sue:

After polishing it, it's now gray instead of white. 

Palladium white is being used more and more now by manufacturers
because it contains no nickel, it produces fewer defects when cast,
it is easier to work and manipulate and settings made of it are not
affected by chemical induced fatigue . Although it is mostly used in
18K (I won’t say 18K “white” because it isn’t white in my opinion), I
have seen it in 14K. Because it is a somewhat ugly off-colored gray,
it is usually Rhodium plated. After plating, the jewelry item looks
like bright white platinum which doesn’t hurt its sale-ability at all
since platinum is all the rage for now. Unfortunately, what that
means to you and all of us, is that we must re-plate every time we
size, solder, polish or even after the customer wears it for six
months and comes back in to your store and complains that the item is
changing colors. It has come to the point that you can’t afford
to polish or work on white gold(especially .750) jewelry items
without telling the customer that the item they have might need to be
re-plated afterwards at their own expense.

I am not sure if the FTC has anything on the books to protect a
customer from this, or if you even have to legally disclose rhodium
plating. In the Gem world any human controlled treatment that changes
the appearance, durability or value must be disclosed at the point of
purchase. In my opinion Rhodium plating changes all three. Sorry so
long winded. Michael R. Mathews Sr. Victoria,Texas USA JACMBJ

Most likely the ring was rhodium plated and you burned/polished the
plating off. The ring might be made of palladium white gold which
has a much grayer tone than nickel white. Replating is the obvious

Daniel R. Spirer, GG

Could the white be a palladium based white gold? Once you get a
high polish you can rhodium of course. Was it rhodium plated to
begin with? If so that’s the only way to get the same final color.

Daniel Ballard