What is Rhodium Plating? What You Need to Know

A metal's colour does more than define it. Choosing between rhodium plating, white gold, or sterling silver is crucial. Despite having a similar silver hue, they differ in price, lustre, and longevity. If you're looking for a superior ring, necklace, or pair of earrings that catch the light and are brilliant white, rhodium-plated jewellery is your best bet.

The rhodium plating highlights the surrounding gemstones and protects them from hard knocks. You might be able to get the extra sparkle you want with rhodium. To assist you in determining whether rhodium jewellery is appropriate for you, we have gathered and addressed some of the most common enquiries concerning the metal.

What is Rhodium Plating?

You might be wondering if you're thinking about getting an engagement ring. A ring's durability and lustre can be increased at a minimal cost by adding a thin layer of rhodium. The selection of metal is about more than just colour. Let's examine rhodium plating in more detail so you can decide if it's the right option for you and your ring.

Rhodium: What Is It?

A silvery-white metal belonging to the platinum family is rhodium. It has a non-tarnish, highly reflective quality. In addition to being more resilient than gold, rhodium is allergy-friendly. This metal is great for jewellery plating because it gives the metal underneath it a beautiful sheen and increases its durability.

Rhodium plating: What Is It?

Jewellery makers plate jewellery using either chemical or electrical processes. During the process, a thin layer of one metal is bonded to another. Because the precious metal is thinly plated over a more common metal or alloy, plated jewellery enables jewellery makers to create more affordable pieces.

A dazzling, long-lasting, and scratch-resistant piece of jewellery is produced by rhodium plating, dipping, or flashing. Most jewellery makers use rhodium with a micron size of.75 to 1.0 over metals with a silver hue, such as silver or white gold.

Electroplating is used in most rhodium plating procedures. Jewellers use steam or electro-cleaning to remove any impurities or dirt that might interfere with the plating procedure. The jeweller first cleans the item, gives it a positive electrical charge, and fuses a thin layer of rhodium.

The exact electroplating process can take up to 90 minutes for each piece of jewellery. Inadequate electric current can cause the plating to turn black and harm the metal underneath.

Jewellers should avoid over 1.0 microns of rhodium plating because the brittle metal is prone to cracking. The metal beneath it may become discoloured if the layer is too thin. Daily wear jewellery, such as rings, requires a higher rhodium layer than pendants or earrings.

Is It Possible for Jewellers to Plate Rhodium on Yellow Gold?

Jewellers have the option to plate yellow gold with silvery-white rhodium. Rhodium can be used over other coloured metals, such as rose gold or copper. The yellow will be covered by rhodium plating, drastically altering the jewellery's appearance. The yellow hue will become visible as the plating wears off.

Due to the high cost of rhodium, most jewellers will not plate cheaper metals with it. Because plating brass jewellery with precious metal is more expensive, jewellers who plate brass with rhodium only apply a thin layer. When the plating on your rhodium-plated brass jewellery wears off, you can tell because the brass will turn your skin green.

Black rhodium plating: What Is It?

Black rhodium plating is an option for those who prefer their jewellery to have an edgy appearance. When plating jewellery, jewellers add black ink to give it a mysterious appearance. This type is more expensive than conventional rhodium plating and requires more touch-ups to keep the shiny, black appearance.

What Advantages Do Rhodium Jewellery Offer?

Rhodium is a valuable metal that possesses both anti-corrosive and eye-catching reflective qualities. Here are a handful of the advantages:

  • The electroplating process shields the softer metals from scratches and adds shine to other metals like silver and white gold. Additionally, it guards against typical wear and tear.
  • Unlike certain white gold jewellery and other white metal items, rhodium is simple to clean.
  • Now, more jewellery options are available for sensitive skin and metal allergies because jewellery plated with a rhodium solution does not cause skin reactions. Rhodium plating makes alloys that react with body chemistry hypoallergenic.
  • Rhodium-plated jewellery that is glossy does not tarnish, but it does deteriorate with time.

What Is the Duration of Rhodium Plating?

Jewellers use relatively little rhodium (about 20 tonnes of the metal are extracted annually) when plating jewellery because it is rare. The thin plating layers must be changed to keep the high sheen and protective properties. Although longer-lasting, thicker plating has the potential to become brittle. With its high sheen and silver colour, thicker plating gives rhodium a platinum-like appearance.

Your rhodium jewellery will eventually need to be replaced, just like other plated items. The longevity of rhodium plating can be shortened by harsh chemicals, such as highly chlorinated pool water and cleaning solutions. Cleaning jewellery as soon as you notice any residue is important because certain perfumes and cosmetics can harm rhodium and other precious metals.

What Is the Duration of Rhodium Plating?

Items that you wear regularly may require replating every 12 to 24 months. Jewellers find plating a simple process; most can have your jewellery ready for pickup in a matter of days. Every ten years, pieces that you wear rarely may need to be replaced.

What Makes Jewellery Rhodium-Plated?

Compared to sterling silver, white gold, or platinum, rhodium-plated jewellery produces a brighter white and adds a layer of protection. Despite its strength, rhodium is brittle, so creating jewellery entirely from it is impossible. To prevent a layer of rhodium plating from cracking, the ideal thickness is between 75 and 1.0 microns. If the coating were thinner, the metal underneath would be visible; if it were any thicker, it would break. Your jewellery's longevity, quality, and appearance can all be improved by that flawless rhodium coating.

Hidroallergenicity Of Rhodium?

Due to the absence of nickel, which can result in severe skin reactions, rhodium is considered hypoallergenic. To protect your skin, it acts as a barrier against other metals alloyed with nickel. Rhodium is a great option if you have a nickel allergy or want to shield your skin.

Are Rhodium Jewellery And Wear Safe?

Without a doubt. Non-toxic and perfectly safe is rhodium. It is advised for new piercings, infants, and people with sensitive skin. Since rhodium doesn't contain nickel, it doesn't cause skin rashes or irritate ears.

Rhodium: Does It Tarnish?

Rhodium does not tarnish because it contains no nickel. Additionally, rhodium does not rust and is resistant to corrosion. Because rhodium is so strong, it doesn't need to be alloyed with other metals like copper or nickel, which will rust over time and leave your skin covered in dark green marks.

Quartz Plated Sterling Silver: What Is It?

To make sterling silver whiter and brighter, it is coated in rhodium, a process known as rhodium plating. Rhodium shields silver from wear and scratches because it is a softer metal. Since solid silver is too soft to be worked into jewellery, It comprises 92.5% silver and 7.5% other metals, like copper, nickel, or a combination of the two. Sterling silver tarnishes due to trace amounts of copper and nickel. By using rhodium plating, this is prevented.

It's a preference whether or not you like sterling silver jewellery with rhodium plating. Fortunately, though, you are free to decide. Jewellery plated in rhodium and sterling silver complement each other best. Since sterling silver contains copper and nickel, it will eventually tarnish and turn your finger green.

On the other hand, silver improves when it is rhodium-plated. Rhodium eliminates the possibility of tarnishing and shields your skin from trace amounts of nickel and silver. Due to their similar colours, silver and rhodium plating don't show wear and tear as much. This implies that you might be able to go between replatings for longer.

Comparison Of Rhodium Plating

Silver vs. Rhodium

Rhodium is more reflective and whiter than silver. Because of its softer nature, it must be paired with other metals to prevent tarnishing. Sterling silver is a strong, premium metal frequently used as a base metal for rhodium. Silver gains some value and imperishability from rhodium.

Platinum Vs Rhodium

Platinum and rhodium are both silvery precious metals in the same metal group. Platinum and rhodium are extracted together, and both are rare and priceless. Rhodium is far more expensive than platinum and even more rare. However, rhodium becomes brittle at thicknesses greater than 1.0 microns, so a jeweller cannot make a piece entirely of rhodium. When thick, platinum is more pliable and does not break. It is used to make jewellery that is long-lasting and easy to maintain.

Despite the lower value of the metal itself, platinum jewellery costs more than rhodium-plated jewellery. Because rhodium jewellery only has a thin layer of fine metal, it is less expensive than platinum but still very attractive and reflective. 

Gold Vs. Rhodium

The most noticeable distinction between rhodium and gold is colour; whereas rhodium is a cool silver, gold has a warm yellow hue. Both metals are pricey, valuable, and long-lasting. Like platinum, solid gold can be used to make jewellery; rhodium is used only to plate other metals.

Gold Vs. Rhodium

It is not advised to rhodium plate yellow gold jewellery unless you want to turn it silver. The rhodium will eventually show through the gold. Gold is frequently bleached and made white by combining it with other metals before being plated with rhodium.

How do you extend the life of plating with rhodium?

When handling chemicals, remove your rings or wear gloves to prolong the life of your rhodium-plated jewellery. Before swimming, remove your jewellery, wash your hands, and put it back on after applying makeup and fragrances. The rhodium plating is resistant to water, but drying towel friction can erode it.

When the rhodium plating on your yellow-gold jewellery wears off, you'll notice the yellow colour peeking through. Due to the similar colour of the plating, white gold pieces take longer to show. As the rhodium plating ages, you'll probably notice less shiny areas.

FAQs on Rhodium Plating

Is Silver-Plated Better Than Rhodium-Plated?

Since silver is a soft metal that scratches easily, most silver jewellery is partially strengthened by a small amount of alloy. Tiny amounts of nickel and copper are what tarnish silver. Silver with a rhodium plating never tarnishes or scratches.

Even though sterling silver is beautiful on its own, rhodium plating increases its value and lustre. Priced higher than sterling silver, rhodium-plated sterling silver is hypoallergenic due to the plating. You can wait longer between replatings since the colours of the two metals are similar.

Is White Gold Not as Good as Rhodium-Plated Gold?

White metals are given a slightly darker tone by rhodium plating. Although it is very resilient, it does fade, so you must repaint it once a year. In addition to its durability, white gold also doesn't need to be replaced and has a slightly silverier finish.

Does Rhodium Plating Occur Greenish?

Pure, nickel-free rhodium is resistant to corrosion and will not rust in addition to not tarnish. However, due to rhodium's extreme durability, it is frequently combined with other metals, such as nickel or copper, which can cause green spots on your skin.

What Is Rhodium's Colour?

When clean, traditional rhodium has a vivid silvery-white colour and is very reflective. It is frequently used to plate platinum or white gold to increase the metal's durability and give it a more appealing, silvery hue. To give rings a black finish, rhodium can be mixed with ink and applied to white metals.

Is there hypoallergenic rhodium?

Rhodium is hypoallergenic as long as there are no nickel traces present. It is a barrier between the skin and the metal to keep it safe. Rhodium is ideal for nickel, gold, or other allergies because it helps shield your skin from irritation.

Is Rhodium Flaky?

It's not rhodium that tarnishes. That being said, it needs to be kept neat. Use soap and a toothbrush to remove dirt or other buildup from your jewellery gently. You shouldn't wear it while swimming or physically demanding activities (like lifting weights) to preserve the rhodium's integrity.

How Much Does Rhodium Plating Cost?

The rhodium plating cost for a wedding band or engagement ring can range from $60 to $150. The quality of the jeweller's work and the rhodium will determine the final price.

How can I tell if the jewellery I own has rhodium plating?

Compared to white gold, which tends to look more yellowish, rhodium has a finish that is far more silvery. Most white gold in jewellery is plated with rhodium; you can always find out if your item is plated by speaking with a nearby jeweller.

How Often Should My Jewellery Be Replated?

If you wear your jewellery frequently, schedule a rhodium plating yearly. If the item is a ring you wear frequently, you might want to think about replicating it twice a year to keep it durable and prevent scratches.

Rhodium is a great option for a silver finish on white metal jewellery. It also adds another degree of defence to keep your jewellery from getting scratched up. When purchasing a rhodium ring, necklace, bracelet, or earrings, remember that you will need to set aside money to replace your rhodium-plated jewellery. Don't miss out – embrace the extraordinary! www.luxurybrandjewellery.com.au