Rhodium plating is commonly used in jewelry to enhance the luster and durability of metals. This material gives silver and white gold metals a smooth and shiny finish in jewelry. It is best paired with diamonds, for it can bring out the brilliance of the diamond. However, there are some cons to rhodium plating. Continue reading for more information on this material.
What are the Properties of Rhodium?
Rhodium is a corrosion-resistant metal with a silvery-white appearance. It can reflect up to 80% of light and give off one of the best sheens achievable. It is a rare material that can be up to 20 times more expensive than gold. Since it is never found as a single mineral, it is cultivated in very small quantities with nickel and platinum ores. The production rate of rhodium is pretty scarce, and with huge demand, it is considered one of the world’s most expensive metals.
Rhodium has been used as a coating for jewelry for decades. It can enhance the durability of the metal in jewelry; however, it cannot be made into jewelry itself. Rhodium is a brittle metal that cannot be easily shaped or formed.
What is the Process of Rhodium Plating?
Jewelry can receive rhodium plating through an electroplating process. The jewelry must be thoroughly cleaned to remove all contaminants for the plating to hold. After cleaning, the jewelry is dipped into rhodium solution, and a positive electrical charge fuses the rhodium onto the base metal. This process takes around an hour and a half to complete.
Rhodium is permanent and has a long-lasting ability; however, it can suffer from wear and tear. The material wears off over time and may need to be replated every 12-18 months. This can vary depending on the wear and tear the piece sustains and the plating thickness.
What are the Pros and Cons?
There are many benefits to Rhodium plating, but there are some disadvantages as well. The most significant benefit would be the excellent luster. The sheen of the material makes jewelry absolutely stunning. As stated before, rhodium does wear off over time and will require replating. Not many shoppers know about the element’s lasting ability; thus, this may be a disadvantage to some, given the expense. Price is probably the biggest disadvantage. Jewelry with rhodium plating is extremely costly. Nevertheless, it is a valuable investment that can last for years if properly cared for.
Contact Bostonian Jewelers
Contact Bostonian Jewelers to learn more about the different materials and plating for jewelry if you're in the Boston area. We're the leading high-end custom jeweler in the Boston area with years of professional experience.