Does White Gold Tarnish? Myths vs. Reality



Does White Gold Tarnish? Myths vs. Reality

When choosing a ring that will tell your story beyond the wedding day, there are many things to consider. What are the types of engagement rings? Do you want a solitaire stone, a cluster, or a fully studded band? Do you want or the vibrant, rich, statement color of an emerald, ruby, or sapphire? And just as important (though sometimes overlooked in the midst of so many gemstone options), which gold color will you choose? The gold color can be somewhat hidden underneath the glamor of the ring’s stones, while other times it is front and center in more prominent settings. 

Regardless of how visible the metal of your ring is, the color you choose is always vitally important to the design of your ring as a whole.


White gold is a lovely choice for the band of your ring, for many reasons. If your chosen gemstone is a white diamond, moissanite, or other colorless sparkly stone, then white gold will blend seamlessly with your stone for a very clean and cohesive look. When choosing the gold color for your ring, consider the metal color of other jewelry and accessories you wear day to day. Your engagement ring is singular and meant to be striking, conspicuous, and distinctive, but you’ll likely want it to match with your overall style. 

If you tend to regularly experiment with your fashion style, then think about what colors and styles of rings will coordinate best with a wide range of ensembles. Since neutral colors often go best with wide ranges of styles, white gold might be the best option for you.

Visit this link to view all of our June Rings that can be customized to feature white gold.


does white gold tarnish


White gold and silver look extremely similar when freshly polished, but white gold is a stronger metal which makes it more suitable for an heirloom piece like an engagement ring. While silver is quite soft and can scratch and tarnish easily, white gold is more resistant to impact and corrosion. However, as with all precious metals, there are some things to consider when caring for and maintaining your white gold ring. One common question people ask is, “Does white gold tarnish?” Keep reading to learn more about what factors really affect tarnishing, and what to expect when you choose to wear one of our June Rings.

What Causes Tarnishing?

Technically speaking, tarnish is a thin layer of corrosion that forms on the surface of some metals as a result of a chemical reaction. While oxygen is a common cause of some tarnishing, the specific contributors to tarnishing are different for each individual metal. Silver, which has already been mentioned, is not only softer and more prone to scratches and softening shapes than white gold; it is also much more prone to tarnishing. Tarnished surfaces of metals become dull and gray—not ideal for a wedding ring, or any other piece of jewelry, that is intended to sparkle and shine forever.

Read more about which metals tarnish, and which metals do not tarnish.


white gold engagement ring


Does White Gold Tarnish?

Gold in its most pure form does not tarnish, but the gold used in most fine jewelry is mixed with other metals for increased durability, which make some elements of tarnishing possible... In order to fully understand what causes white gold—or any other metal, for that matter—to appear tarnished, it’s important to know what white gold is made out of.


Gold is naturally yellow, so to create the white hue it is mixed with metals like silver, platinum, and palladium.. This creates an alloy with a white color that is more durable than pure gold. However, a sharp eye may be able to detect a soft hint of yellow of the original gold. The more pure gold in the alloy, the more yellow undertones the white gold will have. 

  • 10k white gold (41.7% yellow gold and 58.3% white metals) will be the most naturally white
  • while 18k gold (75% yellow gold and 25% white metals) will have a stronger yellow undertone

No matter the karat, tarnishing will show itself as the luster of your white gold diminishing. This will happen naturally with everyday wear, but can also be accelerated by exposure to sweat, perfume, or other chemicals.


The quality of the white gold (which is mostly impacted by the white metals used in the alloy) plays a huge role in how much the whiteness is preserved over time, and you can rest assured that at June Rings we use only the highest quality of white gold available.


engagement ring


How to Prevent Your White Gold Ring from Appearing Tarnished

White gold is typically coated with a protective rhodium plating, which protects and enhances the white gold shade.  However, depending on how much you wear your ring and how many chemicals the metal is exposed to, the rhodium plating will wear off with time and you’ll see the natural warmer tones of the white gold peeking through. To maintain the bright white that Rhodium creates, you can get your white gold ring re-rhodium plated every couple of years.  The rhodium plating also protects your skin, specifically the area of your finger where you wear your ring, from reacting negatively to any of the metals used in the alloy


If you notice any discoloration on your finger or yellowing of your ring’s metal, it may be time to clean your ring and renew its rhodium plating. If you are especially concerned about maintaining the white color of your ring, then it would be a good idea to recoat it regularly, even before it starts yellowing. How regularly, you may ask? Well, that depends entirely on the wear that you put on it, and that is different for everyone. For most people, it is every 2-4 years. 


Take care of your fine jewelry by removing it for exercise and sports, as well as activities that would expose it to chemicals (swimming, cleaning, applying makeup). Doing this will keep your gold looking its best. When you begin to notice the natural signs of wear - a subtle  yellow undertone and diminished luster -  take it to your jeweler for a fresh polish and layer of rhodium and it will be as good as new!   

Learn more about how to care for your June Ring by visiting our Ring Care page.