Jewelry Trends

Rhodium Jewelry: Unraveling the Beauty and Elegance of This Precious Metal

Rachel Akmakjian

Author

Rachel Akmakjian

Rhodium, a rare and precious metal from the platinum family, exudes an enchanting elegance. While solid rhodium jewelry remains a rarity due to its high cost, rhodium-plated jewelry has emerged as a great alternative, providing the magnificent whiteness and durability of this precious metal but at a lower price tag.

In this article, we’ll look at everything there is to know about rhodium jewelry, exploring its unique features, how it’s made, and tips for identifying and caring for rhodium coating jewelry.

What You Will Learn

What is Rhodium Jewelry?

Rhodium, a rare precious metal belonging to the platinum family, boasts distinctive reflective properties. Rhodium pieces are similar in appearance to white gold or platinum jewelry. Solid rhodium pieces are rare due to their high cost, and rhodium plated jewelry is a more popular and accessible option. Whether it’s a radiant engagement ring, a dainty necklace, or an elegant bracelet, a rhodium plate enhances the beauty of various precious metals, turning them into exquisite and durable pieces of jewelry.

What is Rhodium Plating on Jewelry? (How is Rhodium Plated Jewelry Made?)

How does a jeweler or jewelry maker apply a layer of rhodium on jewelry? They use the rhodium plating process, which includes a surface treatment technique that applies a thin layer of rhodium to a base metal.

Metals Used in Rhodium Plating

  • Sterling Silver: Rhodium plating is commonly applied to sterling silver jewelry to prevent tarnishing. The rhodium layer provides a protective barrier, keeping the silver surface radiant and reducing the need for frequent polishing. Pure silver is also sometimes used.
  • White Gold: White gold often exhibits a slight yellow tone due to its unique alloy composition. Rhodium plating white gold can create a more brilliant, bright white color on white gold jewelry for a more uniform hue. In these cases, the true brilliance of white gold emerges as the thin layer of rhodium provides a mirror-like finish.
  • Yellow Gold and Rose Gold: While rhodium plating is most commonly associated with white gold, it can also be used to transform rose gold or yellow gold items. For yellow gold, rhodium plating offers a striking contrast, as the radiant white layer beautifully complements the rich golden tone. Likewise, rhodium plating on rose gold creates an enchanting interplay of colors, highlighting the delicate blush tones and adding a contemporary twist to this classic metal.
  • Platinum: While platinum is naturally white and lustrous, rhodium plating is occasionally used to refresh the precious metal’s surface.

The Benefits of Rhodium Plated Jewelry

So why choose rhodium plated jewelry? Some of the more notable benefits of rhodium plated jewelry include:

  • Durability: Rhodium is renowned for its exceptional hardness and resistance to scratches and corrosion, making it an ideal protective coating for jewelry. Rhodium-plated pieces are less susceptible to daily wear and tear, guaranteeing they retain their beauty for extended periods of time.
  • Hypoallergenic: Rhodium plated jewelry provides an excellent option for people with sensitive skin. Rhodium plating acts as a barrier between the skin and base metal, reducing the risk of irritation or allergic reactions and making rhodium hypoallergenic.
  • Whiteness and Brilliance: Rhodium’s reflective properties produce an unrivaled bright white color, comparable to white gold or platinum jewelry.
  • Whiteness and Brilliance: Rhodium’s reflective properties produce an unrivaled bright white color, comparable to white gold or platinum jewelry.

How to Clean Rhodium Plated Jewelry

If you want to keep your rhodium jewelry safe, proper cleaning and maintenance are important. Here’s how to clean your rhodium jewelry:

  • Prepare a gentle cleaning solution by mixing lukewarm water with a small amount of mild liquid soap. Avoid harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners to prevent damage to the rhodium plating.
  • Submerge the rhodium plated jewelry in the soapy solution and allow it to briefly soak. Gently brush the jewelry using a soft-bristled toothbrush or a soft cloth to remove dirt and debris.
  • Rinse the jewelry under running water to eliminate any soap residue.
  • Use a soft, lint-free cloth to pat the jewelry dry. Avoid rubbing, as excessive friction may wear down the rhodium layer.
  • Allow the jewelry to air dry completely before storing it.

stepsRefrain from using ultrasonic or steam cleaners on rhodium plated jewelry, as the intense heat and vibrations may harm the plating.

FAQs

Is Rhodium-Plated Jewelry Good?

Rhodium-plated jewelry is an excellent option for those seeking a luxurious and durable accessory without the premium price tag of solid white gold jewelry or platinum.

Can I Get My Jewelry Rhodium Plated?

Yes, if you have jewelry made from compatible metals like silver or white gold, you can purchase professional rhodium plating servings through a jeweler. Rhodium-coating jewelry must be done by a professional.

Can I Sell Rhodium-Plated Jewelry?

Yes, you can sell rhodium coated jewelry, though it’s essential to consider that the value may be based on the base metal rather than the rhodium plating itself.

What Metals Can Withstand Rhodium Plating?

There are lots of metals that can withstand rhodium plating, including white gold and pure silver. Whether it’s rhodium plate white gold or rhodium plated silver jewelry, the plating process adds an extra layer of allure and elegance to these precious metals.

What is Rhodium Plating Worth?

The worth of rhodium plating depends on various factors, including the size of the jewelry piece and rhodium’s current market value. As the demand for rhodium continues to fluctuate, the cost may vary.

Can You Wear Rhodium Plated Jewelry in the Shower?

Wearing jewelry plated with rhodium in the shower is unlikely to cause significant damage. However, prolonged exposure to soap, shampoo, and chemicals may gradually erode the rhodium layer, potentially exposing the base metal underneath. Also, water exposure may lead to rhodium tarnish or discoloration. To preserve the longevity of your rhodium plated jewelry, remove it before showering or engaging in water-intensive activities.

What is Black Rhodium Plating?

In addition to classic rhodium plating, black rhodium plating has become a popular choice for those seeking a more daring and edgier look. Black rhodium plating creates a dramatic and bold appearance, adding depth and dimension to jewelry pieces.

Does Rhodium Layer Thickness Matter?

A thicker plating of the rhodium layer may indicate higher-quality plating, contributing to enhanced durability.

Protect Your Investment

Rhodium is an exquisite and cost-effective alternative to white gold or platinum. Boasting durability, and hypoallergenic properties, it remains a sought-after choice for everyday wear.

At BriteCo, we offer comprehensive and cost-effective jewelry insurance coverage to protect all your pieces — rhodium jewelry, gold jewelry, and everything in between. Our policies protect against loss, theft, and damage worldwide.

Use our convenient online tool to obtain a personalized insurance quote today.

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Rachel's expertise is further enhanced by her distinction as a Graduate Gemologist from the prestigious Gemological Institute of America (GIA), equipping her with exceptional knowledge in gem identification and grading. Her education and experiences have given her an in-depth understanding of the demands and expectations facing jewelers and customers in today’s evolving retail marketplace.