Science, Tech, Math › Science White Gold Isn't White Until It's Plated Share Flipboard Email Print rustycloud, Getty Images Science Chemistry Periodic Table Basics Chemical Laws Molecules Projects & Experiments Scientific Method Biochemistry Physical Chemistry Medical Chemistry Chemistry In Everyday Life Famous Chemists Activities for Kids Abbreviations & Acronyms Biology Physics Geology Astronomy Weather & Climate By Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. Chemistry Expert Ph.D., Biomedical Sciences, University of Tennessee at Knoxville B.A., Physics and Mathematics, Hastings College Dr. Helmenstine holds a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences and is a science writer, educator, and consultant. She has taught science courses at the high school, college, and graduate levels. our editorial process Facebook Facebook Twitter Twitter Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. Updated July 25, 2019 Did you know nearly all white gold is plated with another metal to make it the shiny white color that it is? Here's a look at what white gold is plated with and why it is plated in the first place. Rhodium Plates All White Gold It's an industry standard that all white gold used for jewelry is plated with rhodium. Why rhodium? It is a white metal that somewhat resembles platinum, forms a strong bond over the gold alloy, takes a high shine, resists corrosion and oxidation, and is well-tolerated by most people. Why Plate White Gold White gold usually is not white. The gold alloy normally is a dull yellowish or gray color. White gold consists of gold, which is yellow, plus silver (white) metals, such as nickel, manganese, or palladium. The higher the percentage of gold, the higher its karat value, but the more yellow its appearance. High karat white gold, such as 18k white gold, is soft and could be easily damaged in jewelry. The rhodium adds hardness and durability, makes all white gold a uniform color and protects the wearer from potentially problematic metals found in some white gold, such as nickel. The downside to white gold is that the rhodium coating, while durable, eventually wears down. While the gold underneath isn't harmed, it's usually unattractive, so most people get their jewelry re-plated. Because rings are exposed to more wear and tear than other types of jewelry, they may require re-plating in as little as 6 months. Why Not Use Platinum In some cases, platinum is used to plate gold and silver jewelry. Both platinum and rhodium are noble metals that resist corrosion. In fact, rhodium is even more expensive than platinum. Rhodium is a bright silver color, while platinum is darker or more gray.