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White gold and yellow gold are two gorgeous precious metals that are popular in the jewelry industry. Each has their own charm and attraction that encourage individuals to buy them over other pieces, but what do you do if you have a white gold piece you wish were yellow instead?

In some cases, it may be better to repurchase the piece in yellow or simply be content with the piece as it is, while for others, it may be worth learning whether their existing jewelry can be altered to look more like yellow gold.

To answer that question, let’s first look at what white gold and yellow gold are before diving into whether it’s possible to change one into the other.

What is White Gold?

White gold is a beautiful precious metal used by hundreds of jewelers worldwide. Despite being made largely of gold, the metal is actually a bright gray color similar to the shade you would find in platinum or silver jewelry, but unlike the latter precious metals, white gold is much harder and more long-lasting. Additionally, the neutral color of this metal makes it an excellent choice for almost anyone, and it works well with a wide range of different gemstones.

However, because white gold is made of a mixture of pure yellow gold and other assorted alloys, it can lose its bright, silvery color over time. This is why most jewelers use white gold that has been thoroughly coated in rhodium, a metallic element that protects against corrosion. This platinum group metal (PGM) prevents white gold from turning yellow over time, but as the rhodium coating fades with time, it will need to be refreshed for white gold to retain its color.

What is Yellow Gold?

Yellow gold is one of the most common metals used in jewelry. It is typically very malleable in its natural, pure, 24-karat state, so jewelers will often work with yellow gold that has been diluted down to approximately 18 karats, or 75% of its original purity, by mixing it with sturdier white metals. This makes the resulting jewelry much more durable for everyday wear and gives it a softer color instead of a bolder, brassy yellow. 

Can White Gold Become Yellow Gold?

Technically, the answer to this question is “yes,” but white gold can become yellow gold, the process that must be used to turn white gold yellow is not a very feasible one. 

How Can White Gold Become Yellow Gold?

The process that turns white gold yellow is very complex. It requires a craftsman to completely melt the white gold down and painstakingly remove every single one of the non-gold alloys from the blend. Then, they would need to solidify and reshape the now-gold jewelry into the desired shape. Additionally, the rhodium coating would need to be removed.

Is there an Easier Way to Make White Gold Look Like Yellow Gold?

Yes! If you want your white gold jewelry to have that bright, yellow gold appearance, the easiest way to do this is not by extracting the white metal alloys from the white gold. Rather, you should have your piece plated in a thin layer of yellow gold. This will give your jewelry the appearance of yellow gold without having to completely destroy it first.

Note that the jewelry will not be as pure as a fully yellow gold piece would be, but if your goal is simply to change its appearance, the plating will more than accomplish that task.