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Top 5 Frequently Asked Questions About White Gold & Rhodium Plating

Top 5 Frequently Asked Questions About White Gold & Rhodium Plating

You might be wondering what rhodium plating is and why you have it on your white gold.  Why do I need rhodium plate my white gold jewelry?  We put together everything you need to know when it comes to white gold and rhodium plating. 

What is White Gold?

We all know gold is a natural element, but what’s interesting is white gold is not! White gold is actually an alloy combination of pure golds mixed with white gold metals like platinum. The platinum acts as a bleaching agent to help give the gold a white and shiny appearance. However, the resulting color still shows hints of yellow gold. This is where the rhodium comes in. The white gold is then plated with a coat of rhodium, thus giving the jewelry that desirable shiney white look. Occasionally you will see a white gold piece is more expensive than the same piece in yellow gold.  Now can you understand why?

What is Rhodium and why should I re-plate my white gold?

Rhodium is a member of the platinum metal group and is rare compared to other elements. Rhodium is harder than gold and silver, doesn’t tarnish, and is highly reflective. This makes it an excellent topcoat for your jewelry. A thin layer of rhodium has many benefits. It helps protect from scratches, it doesn’t tarnish, and requires very little maintenance when it comes to cleaning your jewelry.

What if I have a nickel allergy - will I be allergic to rhodium?

Rhodium plating is actually hypoallergenic.  Often if you are having an irritation with something white gold we will first suggest you re-rhodium the piece.  White gold contains a mix of alloys, like nickel, that can cause allergic reactions in some people.  Rhodium can protect you from the skin to skin contact with the white gold metals and stop the reaction.    

How often do I need to re-plate my jewelry with rhodium?

leMel recommends that until you start to notice the yellowing of your piece it's not necessary to get it rhodium plated. We know some places say every year or so, but this all varies depending on how often you wear it! So, once YOU notice the yellow it might be time. One sign might also be when you add a new piece to your stack.  The yellow tint is more noticeable when you compare a new piece to an old piece side by side, like in a ring stack for example.  One of the pieces in your ring stack will be shiner, brighter and whiter than the rest. 

How much does rhodium plating cost?

While prices vary per piece, you can expect to spend around $100 to polish and rhodium your piece.  After a polish and rhodium your piece will be looking brand NEW again.  


If you’re thinking it might be time to get some of your jewels rhodium plated we are happy to help! You can get a quote from us by emailing hello@shoplemel.com

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