What is Rhodium Plating

Rhodium is used by jewellers in electroplating white gold and platinum to give it that shiny white surface. This makes Rhodium perfect for plating rings, bracelets, decorations, etc. Know more about this process and why jewellers love this rare but elegant element.

Have you ever heard of rhodium? This silvery-white transition metal is used in some of the most suitable wedding ring designs in the UK due to is highly resistant corrosive properties.

Rhodium has the incredible reputation of being the world’s most precious, and costly, metal. Its atomic number is 45 and the metal is as nonreactive as gold is. In fact, the only way rhodium can be dissolved is with the use of sulphuric acid.

One of this metal’s biggest appeals is how highly reflective it is, making it incredibly unique amongst other metals. This is why it a popular metal to use as an alternative, expensive and rather flashy metal to silver in jewellery. Rhodium is very often plated onto jewellery. And some of the most expensive pieces of jewellery in the world have been made from rhodium. Making it ideal for the most suitable wedding ring designs in the UK.

A Little Bit of Rhodium Background

Rhodium was first discovered as far back as 1803 by William Hyde Wollaston. Mr. Wollaston isolated the metal from platinum and named it after the Latin word rhodon which means rose. Wollaston also discovered palladium.

The Cost of this Metal

Rhodium actually costs six times as much as gold by weight. You cannot find it in mineral form, only in trace amounts in nickel or platinum ores. The majority of the world’s rhodium comes from South Africa.

So What is Rhodium Plating Exactly?

It’s a hard-metal, silver-white in colour and mostly found in platinum ores. Rhodium is the most costly precious metal in the world and in its natural state it is extremely hard to work. This is why it is used as an alloy in the smelting of palladium and platinum.

As for rhodium plating, this is a metal deposition process that is used to coat materials with a protective and usually decorative layer of the metal. Rhodium is truly a noble metal that gives off an extremely flashy, bright finish that is hard wearing. When it is applied as a thin plate the finish is highly durable and incredibly bright. Such a finish can greatly enhance the appearance as well as the longevity of the most suitable wedding ring designs in the UK of any metal.

How Rhodium Used to Be Used

In the 1930s, silverware makers started using rhodium electro-plating to produce sterling flatware that didn’t have to be polished regularly. Such uses then spread to sterling silver and white gold items of jewellery to create durable and tarnish-resistant surfaces.

It was only after World War II, though, that the wide use of rhodium plating as a base metal came into play on pots and stainless jewellery. Eventually great advances in technology allowed for incredibly thin layers of rhodium to be bonded to surface metals.

How Rhodium is Applied

Rhodium is frequently used during the electroplating process. This process involves submerging a material in a heated bath of rhodium-based plating solution. An electric current is then run through the bath and the recipient is used as either a negative electrode or a cathode. During this process the rhodium becomes permanently bonded to the recipient material’s surface.

Nothing Lasts Forever

As durable as rhodium is, it’s not going to last an eternity. Its lifespan varies depending in a few factors like how frequently the piece of jewellery is worn, the thickness of the plating as well as the quality of the plating, colour of underlying gold and even individual body chemistry.

The plating on a piece of jewellery that is subject to a great deal of friction or worn all the time like a ring, might only last between 6 to 24 months, whereas a brooch or necklaces or even earrings that have less contact with the skin or is worn less, can retain the rhodium plating for more than a decade.

Making Sure Your Rhodium Plating Lasts A Long Time

To make sure your rhodium plated jewellery lasts the test of time, following the cleaning instructions below to keep your items in top condition. Avoid ever using chemical cleaners or ultrasonic cleaners that have chemicals in them. Also avoid using polishing cloths and make sure the pieces don’t come into contact with hard surfaces. Always wash make up off your items and store them in a protective box to ensure your pieces always look highly reflective and in tip top condition.

How to Clean Rhodium Plated Jewellery

Rhodium, a silvery-white precious metal belongs to the platinum family. It’s favoured in some of the most suitable wedding rings designs in the UK and other items of jewellery because of its hardness, highly-reflective finish and extreme resistance to corrosion. What’s more, this metal is hypoallergenic and will prevent white and yellow gold from leaving the skin with a greenish tinge. Even sterling silver items plated with rhodium will resist tarnish.

Currently the trend is towards white gold items of jewellery. To save on costs, many people are choosing to have their yellow gold rings plated with rhodium – a fairly inexpensive procedure compared to buying a brand new ring.

While the rhodium might wear off over time, with the right care it could just last a lifetime. The actual lifespan of the plating will depend on various factors such as the quality and thickness of the plating as well as body chemistry and how frequently the items are worn. If the finish starts to wear off, the item can always be replated.

To look after your rhodium plated pieces of jewellery, clean it regularly with a mild detergent that’s mixed with a little water. Rinse well and make sure the item is thoroughly dried. You can also use a silver polishing cloth but stay away from liquid jewellery dips and other chemically enhanced cleaners which will cause the rhodium plating to wear off.

Always remember to remove your rings when doing heavy work.


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