Does White Gold Tarnish? Everything You Need to Know

Let’s talk white gold. This gorgeous hue is bright, beautiful, and currently rising in popularity. You can take our word for it: Few things compare to a sparkling white gold & diamond combo sitting on your left hand.

A love for this gold color might have you asking: Does white gold tarnish? Or, which gold color is right for me? Before you align with this gorgeous color, it is important to understand its unique properties so you can take home your soon-to-be accessory with confidence. 

Let’s get into the details: 

June Collection Dahlia Emerald Ring

 What is White Gold?

Gold is a precious yellow metallic element of Group 11, Period 6 of the periodic table of elements. In its purest form, it is quite soft and malleable. In order to make it suitable for everyday wear, it is mixed with other metals to make it stronger. These mixtures are measured by “karats” and are the basis of the three gold colors: yellow, white, and rose.

White gold is mixed with silver, zinc, and nickel. This color rose to popularity in the 1920s due to its bright appearance and durability. And for good reason: white gold captures the beauty of silver, but is more resistant to dents and scratches. In fact, it is the most durable of all the gold colors.

June Collection Fleur Marquise Ring

What is Tarnishing?

Tarnishing is a chemical reaction that produces a dull, gray layer on the surface of metal. This process is an indication of non-metal elements reacting against your ring’s surface. For example: air pollution, humidity, chemicals, or body oil. In its purest form, gold is a relatively unreactive element—however, the mixtures in gold jewelry (i.e. white gold) differ. Tarnishing can occur on silver, aluminum, copper, brass, iron, and other metals. 

June Collection Marigold Oval Ring

Does White Gold Tarnish?

Technically, no. Although white gold jewelry is mixed with silver, zinc, and nickel, the quantity isn’t high enough for a reaction to occur. However, white gold can dull over time without consistent care. Wearers often confuse this with the tarnishing process.

Here’s what you need to know: White gold is usually coated with a rhodium plating. This is a thin layer that protects and enhances its bright shade. Over time, this layer can wear down and cause gold’s natural yellow hue to peek through.

If you notice a discoloration on your finger or a yellowing of your ring’s metal, it’s not tarnishing—just an indication that your ring is overdue for a rhodium replating. This service is easy and affordable. To preserve white gold’s bright appearance, it is recommended to get your ring replated every 2-4 years.

June Collection Amber Oval Ring & Meadow Band

The bottom line: white gold is durable, dazzling, and pairs beautifully with a diamond. Whether it’s 10K, 14K, or 18K, you cannot go wrong with investing in this quality gold. And like any precious metal, it will last the test of time with proper care and maintenance.


With a dedication to fine jewelry crafted from quality materials, June creates modern heirlooms made to last. Shop our collection or create a custom ring with our design team.