White gold wedding bands became popular during World War II when using platinum for non-military purposes was banned. White gold is an inexpensive, elegant, versatile metal that can be used to create unique and beautiful jewellery. White gold wedding bands are lighter weight than platinum wedding bands and stronger and more durable and more scratch resistant than pure or yellow gold. With proper care, a white gold wedding band will maintain a flawless appearance for a long time.
White gold wedding bands are not pure gold. White gold is an alloy of gold and usually nickel, palladium or silver. The alloy of metals is naturally a pale yellow in colour however typically white gold wedding bands are plated with rhodium to make the while gold rings shinier and whiter in colour. Rhodium is very reflective, extremely hard and does not tarnish.
The problem with the rhodium plating is that in three to five years depending on how active you are when wearing the white gold wedding bands the rhodium plating begins to wear off where it rubs against your hand or other fingers and must be replaced. The re-plating process is not expensive. The price depends on the intricacy of the design of the wedding bands being re-plated. Most jewellers offer a re-plating service.
You can easily clean your white gold wedding rings at home. The simplest way to clean the rings is to use a solution of equal parts of ammonia and water although there are also ammonia based commercial jewellery cleaning solutions you can purchase. If your white gold wedding band has pearls or gems set into the ring check with your jeweller before cleaning the ring with an ammonia solution.
Soak the rings in the ammonia solution in a bowl for 10 to 20 minutes to loosen any dirt and grime that has accumulated on the rings. Please note: it is recommended that you soak the rings in a bowl and not in a sink to avoid inadvertently losing the rings down the drain.
After soaking you can use a soft toothbrush to gently scrub off any remaining dirt in the crevices of the ring. After the ring is clean rinse the ring with warm water and dry with a soft towel.
If your white gold wedding band has designs or etchings you may want to use an ultrasonic machine which uses vibrations and water to clean the crevices.
To keep the ring clean it should be stored in a cloth box or bag or a jewellery box with separate compartments to keep other jewellery from scratching the white gold wedding bands.
White gold wedding bands are beautiful and a good value for their cost and even when figuring in the cost of re-plating the rings every so often still are a less expensive option than a platinum wedding band.