Almost all gold jewelry isn't pure gold. Pure gold is 24-karat and it is a soft, pliable metal that is too flexible to be used in rings and necklaces where it will quickly become misshapen. Gold jewelry typically has other metals added to strengthen it for everyday wear. An 18-karat gold piece, for example, will contain 18 parts gold and 6 parts other metals. White gold is an alloy formed by mixing gold with other metals, typically silver, palladium, and nickel. The alloy is plated with rhodium, a member of the platinum group, to give it the brilliant luster white gold is known for. This plating is important to consider while caring for your white gold jewelry. Other colors of gold, such as red and rose gold, are not plated and are colored by varying the amount and type of metals used in the alloy. Caring for Gold Jewelry: - Gold jewelry can be scratched easily- don't store it with other jewelry or clumped together as it will scratch itself. - When cleaning your gold jewelry, be sure to use a jewelry cleaner that does not contain any harsh chemicals that could harm either your gemstone or the setting. A soft brush or cloth can be used to clean any buildup. - To maintain the "just like new" sheen, the rhodium plating of white gold jewelry should be reapplied every year by a professional jeweler. As the plating wears away a white gold piece will, over time, look more yellow than white. - Be gentle with your cleaning- roughly scrubbing white gold jewelry can remove the rhodium plating or thin yellow gold jewelry. Everyday Tips - Don't wear your gold jewelry while swimming- chlorine is known to weaken and discolor gold, making it more prone to cracks and breaks. - Over time, gold jewelry will develop a film from lotions, makeup, hairspray, and natural skins oils that will diminish its luster. Wait to put on your gold jewelry until after you apply personal care products. - Remember to take off your gold jewelry before you go to sleep, gold jewelry could get caught on your sheets and stress the prongs or links causing damage to the soft metal and loosen gemstones. - Don't wear your gold jewelry while swimming or working with household chemicals. The metal can become discolored and damaged by harsh chemicals such as chlorine.