White gold jewelry – even the name sounds sophisticated. As it should, after all, because, along with platinum, white gold is one of the most elegant jewelry metals. A favorite for engagement rings, but also earrings and bangles, white gold is fabulous, chic and breathtakingly beautiful. If you value your white gold jewelry as much as we do, you will continue to read further to find out how to take care of it. You will learn how to clean white gold, what mistakes to avoid and how to care for your precious jewelry.

What is white gold?

In order to understand how to care for your jewelry, you must first understand how your white gold earrings are created, for example. Not to be confused with platinum, white gold is an alloy of pure gold and other metals such as silver and palladium.

Each piece of gold jewelry that you have is an alloy because pure gold (24k) is too soft to create jewelry out of it.  This is why you get different gold karats which refer to the amount of gold in your jewelry. Coming back to white gold jewelry, it can have 10k, 14k, 18k or 22k, just like yellow or rose gold jewelry. The only difference is in the color, as well as the coating. As opposed to yellow gold, white gold jewelry receives a rhodium coating which helps offer its lustrous white surface. The Rhodium coating also protects your jewelry pieces and increases its durability.

Cleaning white gold jewelry

Before attempting to clean your white gold jewelry, make sure you don’t confuse it with platinum as these metals are very different. If you are unsure, take a look at the hallmark. Usually, platinum bears the “PLAT” or “PT” hallmark, along with some numbers that refer to the metal’s purity (900, 950, 999). White gold jewelry, on the other hand, can either feature the karat type or a series of numbers (916, 750, 585, 417).

Now that you’ve established that you have a white gold jewelry piece, it’s time to find out how to take care of it.

Cleaning simple white gold jewelry

A simple piece of jewelry means that it doesn’t feature gemstones. A white gold wedding band, for example, is usually all-metal. To clean such a jewelry piece, you need to mix a little bit of soap with warm water (ideally bottled water). Make sure that the soap you add doesn’t contain chlorine or other harsh detergents. Soak your jewelry piece in this solution for a couple of minutes, then take it out and rub it gently with a lint-free cloth or a jewelry brush. Rinse the piece of white gold jewelry thoroughly and immediately dry with using a microfiber cloth.

Cleaning gemstone white gold jewelry

If your piece of jewelry features gemstones, things change. Some stones are porous or can be ruined by detergents, especially pearls. In this situation, you shouldn’t dip your jewelry piece in soapy water. Instead, use a soft lint-free cloth dipped in soapy water to gently rub parts of your jewelry piece. Be careful not to scratch the gemstone. After you finish, rinse using a different cloth soaked in plain water, then dry immediately.

Caring for white gold jewelry

Cleaning your jewelry is important, but this isn’t the only way to take care of it.

Firstly, you should also pay attention to where you store your white gold jewelry. Keep it separate from your other jewelry pieces and store it in a soft-lined box.

Keep your white gold jewelry away from chlorine, perfumes or body lotions. Remember how we said above that it’s better to use bottled water to clean your white gold jewelry? That’s because tap water contains chlorine and this is a big no-no when it comes to jewelry. Chlorine, as well as other chemical substances found in perfumes and lotions,  can wear off the rhodium plating. Don’t wash dishes, clean the house, shower, swim or do your beauty ritual while wearing your white gold jewelry.

What if white gold turns into yellow gold?

This means that the rhodium plating has worn off. This doesn’t mean that you did something wrong. Eventually, the rhodium plating will wear off, but if you store and clean your jewelry properly it will last for a long time. However, if this happens, don’t worry. You can simply take your white gold jewelry to the jeweler to have it recoated. Most jewelry shops offer this service for a small fee (approximately $30) and you will have your jewelry looking as new in no time.

For more jewelry advice and fashion tips, browse through our other articles as well. To view Ana Luisa’s designer fine jewelry collection, visit our online shop.

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Ruxandra is a fashion blogger who teaches fashion stumped twenty to thirty somethings how to shop their jewelry boxes for polished new ensembles. Her work has been featured in Vogue, Fashionista, Nylon, and Refinery29.