Everything you need know about why buying a white gold rhodium plated engagement ring is a BAD IDEA.
If you go into most jewellers on the high street looking for engagement rings you will be shown bright white shiny metal on sparkly rings with diamonds in, and you will be told that they are white gold, and technically this is ‘true’, for a given value of true.
Don’t let the high street retail jewellers talk you into this. Don’t do it! They are only saying this to cover up their shonky cheap metal.
The most important thing to remember here is this: Not all gold alloys are equal. Even though they all might say for example 18 carat, some will be a better 18 carat than others. How? Well it works like this:
For 18 carat gold you have to have 750 parts per thousand or 75% fine gold. This is true of any uk hallmarked alloy. So far, so lovely, right? Right! But the other 250 parts or 25% is where you want to be looking. The law says that your 18 carat gold alloy must contain 75% gold to be hallmarked 28 carat, and that is guaranteed but it doesn’t specify what the other metals should be, and here’s where the big chain shops and sometimes even the littler high street jewellers will cheat you.
They want to make the cheapest alloy possible so in the case of white gold, they will add in a little bit of copper, probably some zinc, maybe if you are lucky then a bit of silver and so you get a horrid grey/yellow blend of gold that has to be plated with rhodium to get that shiny white colour you think is white gold. Real white gold is actually more grey, my ‘white’ gold alloy is actually grey gold and its beautiful! It contains silver and palladium and this is what makes the beautiful grey/white colour. It's deep and rich and its more expensive of course, because silver and palladium re more expensive than copper and zinc. But an engagement ring made from my grey gold or ‘high palladium’ white gold is never going to need plating, ever. So what you save on buying a cheaper quality metal you actually have to spend year in and year out on re-plating.