Why is my white wedding ring turning yellow?

Why is my white wedding ring turning yellow?

So it’s been several months now since you first got engaged. You’ve stopped staring at your left hand all day, but you still like to admire your ring from time to time. Funny, though, it’s not as shiny as you remember. In fact, maybe it’s just the lighting, but doesn’t it look sort of yellow?

It’s not just the lighting. If you have a white gold engagement ring, you will notice that the white fades over time. That’s because gold isn’t really white. What is sold as white gold is regular yellow gold alloyed with a white metal to reduce the yellow. But this doesn’t eliminate all the gold color from the metal, so white gold jewelry is usually plated with a precious silver metal called rhodium.

The rhodium plate gives your ring that bright, shiny look, but since it’s just a plating and not solid, this will wear off over time. In things like earrings and necklaces, the rhodium lasts for a long time, because these items are not subject to lots of wear and tear.

But an engagement ring that you wear on your hand every day will get knocked around a lot, causing the rhodium to fade and the metal to scratch. All precious metals will scratch and lose shine — you can’t avoid this — but you can get the shine back by taking the jewelry to a jeweler to buff and polish, so don’t worry about that. You can also get rhodium re-applied to your white gold to bring back the color, but this will be costly if you are constantly taking it in for touch-ups. 

If you want a truly silver-colored ring that won’t fade with time, you may want to consider investing in platinum instead of white gold.


Lisa is a special needs teacher and a hugger. She always makes time for everyone and lightens up everybody’s lives with her presence. When she is not chasing her students around the yard, she finds time to write about what she truly loves, and you guessed it, its people and relationships.