shape
carat
color
clarity

Why is unplated white gold taboo?

Discussion in 'RockyTalky' started by kenny, May 14, 2011.

  1. kenny
    Super_Ideal_Rock

    Messages:
    26,658
    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2005
    by kenny » May 14, 2011
    White gold is not really white.
    It is a little yellowish, goldish.

    Some people like the color of gold gold and also rose gold, so why is "white" gold always plated with rhodium?
    What's to be ashamed of?

    Also rhodium plating is not just about color; It's also about finish.
    Freshly dipped rhodium is very smooth, shiny and mirror-like.
    But some people like brushed finishes too.

    Yet when I asked jewelers about just getting white gold and not plating it they all look at me like I'm from outer space.

    Why are the two extremes of color okay but something in between not okay?
     
    InsecureSweetGirl likes this.
  2. diamondseeker2006
    Super_Ideal_Rock

    Messages:
    54,232
    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2006
    by diamondseeker2006 » May 14, 2011
    White gold was apparently used during the war when platinum was being used for something I can't recall. So it was a substitute for the preferred white metal. Today, I think it is mostly preferred because it costs less than platinum and also because some have only seen the plat/iridium that is so soft that it gets that gray patina so easily so they think they don't like platinum.

    My 18k white gold ring with plating gone looks like maybe 10k yellow gold. Definitely looks like yellow gold, though, and therefore, you'd have to like light yellow gold to want it. I do like it and am not inclined to replate unless I sell it in the future. You'd just have to have a matching band.
     
  3. kenny
    Super_Ideal_Rock

    Messages:
    26,658
    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2005
    by kenny » May 14, 2011
    I understand it's all personal preference.
    Nothing wrong with that.

    What's wrong with it looking like 10K gold?
    Is the fear that someone will think you are too poor to afford a higher gold content. :roll:

    What I do not understand is how the industry is set up to allow people to have preferences of many shades of yellow gold, but once the shade is pale enough they absolutely must cover it up with something that has no gold-yellow color at all.

    Anyone who even considers unplated white gold is just out of luck, or are made to feel like some pervert or something.
    Why?
     
  4. denverappraiser
    Ideal_Rock
    Trade

    Messages:
    8,515
    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2004
    by denverappraiser » May 14, 2011
    Rhodium makes things show better under the bright lights in jewelers showcases. That increases the chances that someone will point to it and say 'let me see that one'.
    At the manufacturing level it costs basically nothing to do and lots of customers like/expect the look. Rather few object to it.
     
  5. maplefemme
    Brilliant_Rock

    Messages:
    874
    Joined:
    May 12, 2011
    by maplefemme » May 14, 2011
    Diamondseeker, you have touched on something I would like to know, it seems you're well versed in this subject.
    With softly softy's diamond I'm getting, I need to pick a metal for the ring. I have never owned anything platinum so I have no experience with the metal at all and the jeweller I bought our first stone from told me that she deeply regretted getting her own engagement ring made in platinum, for the above reasons you posted, that it looks grey, she hates the dull patina and she is constantly polishing it and even after polishing it looks less than nice. It gave me cause for concern and turned me off getting it as an option because I don't want something that looks grey and dull and needs constant polishing to look only decent.
    I don't know enough about the alloys added to platinum. Is there a platinum that doesn't suffer the negative qualities you mentioned, you seem to hint at another option...?
     
  6. aviastar
    Brilliant_Rock

    Messages:
    1,190
    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2010
    by aviastar » May 14, 2011
    None of my white gold is plated and the designer who made my pendant and earrings does not plate unless requested and even then he recommends not plating because of the maintainence required to upkeep the finish. My pieces do have a creamier color but nothing like 10K- to me it's really only creamy when up against silver or platinum.

    While it is certainly common (I suspect initailly for the historic reason diamondseeker stated and then because most people simply do not know they have options in white gold color), plating is not universal. Perhaps the jewelers you are working with are simply surprised to have a customer educated enough to know the difference between plating and not.
     
    steviedsgirl likes this.
  7. diamondseeker2006
    Super_Ideal_Rock

    Messages:
    54,232
    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2006
    by diamondseeker2006 » May 14, 2011
    maplefemme, I did a LOT of research before getting my current ring, and what I discovered was that the 95% platinum/5% iridium combination is softer and scratches more. I used to hate platinum because my mother's rings looked like that and I had no knowledge of different alloys. What I learned was that 95% platinum/5% ruthenium is a harder combination, and particularly in handmade pieces, it will be durable and more scratch resistant. Now of course, all metals are going to have tiny scratches, but after 4 years and only polishing once, my ring still looks almost like new and not even close to being gray. I only had it polished because I went to NYC summer before last and visited Leon Mege's shop and he was kind enough to check and polish it while I was there. Leon and Tiffany use the 95plat/5% ruthenium mix, and that is what I prefer. There are some other excellent jewelry makers (Mark Morrell and Maytal Hannah) who use 90%plat/10%iridium which is better than the 95pl/5irid, and that is my second choice.

    Here's a link from Mark Morrell's site that will help you learn more about the alloys:

    http://www.mwmjewelry.com/platinum_purity.htm
     
  8. diamondseeker2006
    Super_Ideal_Rock

    Messages:
    54,232
    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2006
    by diamondseeker2006 » May 14, 2011
    I imagine unplated 14k white gold is more pale than 18k white gold, and my ring is 18k. It may also be affected by the alloy used.
     
  9. LGK
    Ideal_Rock

    Messages:
    2,975
    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2007
    by LGK » May 14, 2011
    Old white gold alloys- like pre 1960s- are much, much whiter and are not rhodium plated. They have a much higher nickel content, and as such, are much more likely to trigger allergic reactions. When the alloy mix was changed "white" gold became MUCH yellower, and rhodium plating came into vogue. That's the history on it anyway.

    I don't know why you'd be getting the stinkeye for asking for no plating, kenny. How irritating. I suspect most people don't even know enough to realize WG *is* rhodium plated, much less have an opinion on wanting no plating. Maybe they're thinking "Oh crap, an educated consumer!" :lol:
     
    Octo2005 and steviedsgirl like this.
  10. maplefemme
    Brilliant_Rock

    Messages:
    874
    Joined:
    May 12, 2011
    by maplefemme » May 14, 2011
    Diamondseeker, thanks for your pearls of wisdom, this is really good information and really helps us make an important choice. It's helpful to hear of your personal experience with it too.
     
  11. diamondseeker2006
    Super_Ideal_Rock

    Messages:
    54,232
    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2006
    by diamondseeker2006 » May 14, 2011
    Maplefemme, you are very welcome and I hope the information is useful!


    I think Yssie's rings have nickel and that may be why they seem whiter than mine. If I were to have something made out of white gold, I think I would try palladium white gold since palladium is hypoallergenic.
     
  12. kenny
    Super_Ideal_Rock

    Messages:
    26,658
    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2005
    by kenny » May 14, 2011
    Thanks.
    Good point about them being annoyed by educated clients.

    When I show them the GIA 2.26 ct F VVS2 asscher they look at me cross-eyed for not going with platinum.
    Then I tell them, "Well, actually I really prefer silver." and they really scrunch their face up.
     
  13. risingsun
    Ideal_Rock

    Messages:
    5,549
    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2006
    by risingsun » May 14, 2011
    I have had my plat/ruth wedding set for almost two years. In that time it has not developed a gray patina or very many scratches. I will probably have my jeweler polish it sometime this year, when I have the prongs checked. It will make it look like new, but it really doesn't need much of anything. I think you should get whatever color gold you want. If you want platinum, make sure it is made with ruthenium. I hope it all goes well and you get the ring that you want :))
     
  14. maplefemme
    Brilliant_Rock

    Messages:
    874
    Joined:
    May 12, 2011
    by maplefemme » May 14, 2011
    Thankyou risingsun and diamondseeker, you've put my mind at ease about going the platinum route now :)
     
  15. Black Jade
    Brilliant_Rock

    Messages:
    1,242
    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2008
    by Black Jade » May 14, 2011
    Is it always nickel in pre-1960's white gold?
    My grandmother had a white gold ring from the about 1919. It was never plated. It was very white, so white I did not know it was gold for a long time. IN the 1970's when I noticed it, yellow gold was in style and I assumed all gold was yellow. This was not yellow at all.

    It was defintely 18K.

    The reason I am surprised about the nickel is that our family has nickel allergies. I don't know for sure that my grandmother did, but i would be surprised if she did not. Otherwise she wore only quite high carat rose gold. She never took this ring off, not to sleep, bathe, or anything.

    It was very beautiful filigree, a very Edwardian or deco style (I know they're not the same, but I don't remember which it was).

    It was very white but not all shiny like rhodium.

    I hate rhodium. It looks to me like chrome on a car, not like jewelry. I always ask not to have it put on anything of mine, I really hate it and always did.

    I also have a plat ring about three years old that shows no signs of patina and has never been polished. It's from Blue Nile adn they did the setting and I would be really surprised if they are using another mixture than usual for platinum; I'm sure their settings are like, mass produced. I have another two other plat rings,b ut bought both used so assume they were polished up before sale. One is a filigree ring very similar to my grandmother's, but plat, not white gold, from the same time period. One is a plain five stone with five princesses. I have had both for about three years also and they also do not have patina. Does it usually take longer than that? None of the rings have changed in appearance at all since I have gotten them--but an 18k white gold ring I got at the same time has gotten really, really yellow. It doesn't look like 10k gold at all, but its definitely pale yellow and not white. I don't actually care because it's a half-eternity with diamonds covering the whole front, so only the back that can't be seen has gone yellow. I would not bother to replate it because, as I said, I hate the rhodium worse than the yellow.
     
  16. yssie
    Super_Ideal_Rock

    Messages:
    19,259
    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2009
    by yssie » May 14, 2011
    :bigsmile:



    My rings are 18k nickel wg. Some may remember that I recently had the joy of learning that even wg of the same karat (18k) and alloy (nickel) from the same vendor but originally from different manufacturers doesn't necessarily all look the same - or even close enough to be mistaken for the same, if one takes a relatively close look :-o


    A - plat (950/ru)
    B - unplated 18k nickel wg from e-wb, custom piece (different manufacturer, matches my WF custom Ering metal perfectly)
    C - unplated 18k nickel wg from e-wb, stock piece

    D - plated 18k wg from WF
    E - 22k

    Metals2.png
    Metals1.png

    *edited - mixed up the bands
     
  17. CherryBlossom
    Shiny_Rock

    Messages:
    311
    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2011
    by CherryBlossom » May 14, 2011
    good question. After seeing Yssie's gorgeous ring, I ended up asking a few jewelers that I was visiting if they could show me some rings that were unplated gold and they ALL looked at me like I was crazy... but honestly the color is so rich. I love it, a lot more than I like platinum anyway.
     
  18. CherryBlossom
    Shiny_Rock

    Messages:
    311
    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2011
    by CherryBlossom » May 14, 2011
    This so funny!! I came here expecting that you had already commented because your unplated gold ring is so famous here on PS and I was wondering why you had not commented. But when I pressed enter to send my comment, it said that someone else had just posted and here you are.

    I love the color of your ring. I think that you're going to start a whole new trend ;-)
     
  19. CherryBlossom
    Shiny_Rock

    Messages:
    311
    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2011
    by CherryBlossom » May 14, 2011
    the patina issue has a lot more to do w/ each person body chemistry, right? that's what I've been told anyways.
     
  20. yssie
    Super_Ideal_Rock

    Messages:
    19,259
    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2009
    by yssie » May 14, 2011

    ::)

    It's a pretty empty bandwagon at the moment - I can only think of a handful of people on PS who have forgone the plating w/ a non-specialty wg and none IRL.. but hey, who knows, right? 8)

    Patina - how quickly it develops is more how you wear the ring and what alloy, I'd say. Plating is very much dependent on your skin, how/how often you wear it though.
     
  21. CherryBlossom
    Shiny_Rock

    Messages:
    311
    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2011
    by CherryBlossom » May 14, 2011
    Hey, I am on board! I'm currently in talks with Victor Canera about my e-ring and he's going to get back to me soon to let me know if he can do it. The only problem is that he mainly works w/ platinum because it's easier to work w/ when you're making fully handmade pieces. but hopefully he'll tell me if there's any way for him to do it.

    I'll be posting about my 3 hour meeting w/ him at his studio this past week. My fiance and I put off the engagement ring process for a few months because I was crazy busy with school (also why I was MIA from PS) but now we're back at it.

    Your unplated gold ring has been an inspiration for me. It's so unique yet classic. I don't know if that makes any sense, but I really want a Harry Winston inspired halo ring, but I see so many people w/ gorgeous replicas (or the real thing) and I am have been so hesitant to pull the trigger on my final selection because of the fact that I want to make it different enough to be by own... even if I am the only one who notices. You really made your ring your own. It's a design that many other people have but your attention to detail made your ring one of a kind. I want to do something similar w/ my ring ;-) so thanks for encouraging us to be bold!
     
  22. risingsun
    Ideal_Rock

    Messages:
    5,549
    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2006
    by risingsun » May 14, 2011
    I know that gold can react differently to each person's body chemistry. I have not heard that about platinum.
     
  23. DisneyBride828
    Shiny_Rock

    Messages:
    156
    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2010
    by DisneyBride828 » May 14, 2011
    My wedding rings are all wg and I never have them re plated, unless they have work done on them. I like the color they get once the plating starts to wear off. Also, the bands i wear next to my wedding ring are usually rose gold, as I like the contrast between two different color metals. I'm probably the odd man out, lol. :naughty:
     
  24. yssie
    Super_Ideal_Rock

    Messages:
    19,259
    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2009
    by yssie » May 14, 2011
    CherryBlossom - oh, wow. What flattering commentary!

    Good luck with your meeting - I'm looking forward to reading about it! He's certainly done some amazing work around here lately, I imagine your design will be beautiful :sun: And very much your own! Leaving it unplated is actually a safe choice IMO - if you hate it, you can just get it dunked and be done with it ;))

    I remember Victor said something about visible solder joints when handworking white gold in one of his posts a few months ago... I'll be interested to hear how he works around that issue w/ your ring.
     
  25. CherryBlossom
    Shiny_Rock

    Messages:
    311
    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2011
    by CherryBlossom » May 14, 2011
    Thanks ;-) I already had the meeting w/ him, I'm just too lazy to do the write up because it's going to be looooong. He let me take a peek at a whole bunch of stuff, including the various tools he uses to create the pieces. I was really interested in the metal work, so it was awesome that he showed me so much. I'm sooo nervous but excited!

    BTW, back to the topic at hand. Anyone know of a way to actually get wg stripped or does one just wait for the plating to wear off?
     
  26. yssie
    Super_Ideal_Rock

    Messages:
    19,259
    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2009
    by yssie » May 14, 2011
    You can get it chemically stripped - it's apparently easy and quick and safe for your stones.
     
  27. diamondseeker2006
    Super_Ideal_Rock

    Messages:
    54,232
    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2006
    by diamondseeker2006 » May 14, 2011
    Yssie, thanks for posting the picture with the rings in different metals! I, too, prefer your unplated wg to rhodium plated! It's interesting to me to hear that there are others here like me who are leaving their white gold pieces unplated!
     
  28. po720
    Rough_Rock

    Messages:
    73
    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2016
    by po720 » Aug 25, 2016
    Yssie, fast forward 5 years and I am so so so grateful for this thread!!! I LOVE your unplated WG and want to see if I can get my ering and band stripped when I get my upgraded stone reset!! :dance: :dance:
     
  29. Groucho
    Rough_Rock

    Messages:
    67
    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2010
    by Groucho » Aug 25, 2016
    Platinum is one of the most effective catalysts known for inducing a variety of chemical reactions. Consequently, it has a variety of potential military applications (e.g., bombs, fuses for explosive detonators). I believe this is why platinum was banned from non-military uses --- like jewelry production --- during WWII.

    There is no reason that I can see for unplated white gold to be "taboo." I agree with other posters that older white gold alloys tend to be whiter. However, if you like the color of today's unplated alloys, go for it!
     
  30. Niel
    Super_Ideal_Rock

    Messages:
    18,309
    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2012
    by Niel » Aug 25, 2016
    Who knows. When o had my ringade I asked them not to plate it. JA said they will not send out any white gold without rhodium. I basically had to say I will go elsewhere before they would agree to do it
     

Share This Page