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What is Rhodium Plating?

Author: Ringmaster

Mike FoxThis article was written by Michael Fox, owner of Fox Jewelry, a business dedicated to the sale of Masonic Rings, Masonic accessories and other fraternal jewelry.

Fox Jewelry offers the largest selection of Masonic Rings and other Masonic Jewelry anywhere.

What is Rhodium?

Rhodium is an extremely rare metal that can cost ten times the price of gold or more. Rhodium is general not considered a feasible material to create jewelry from because it’s stressed and brittle, very difficult to work with properly for jewelry making, its price is also terribly volatile. Rhodium makes a wonderful plating for jewelry because it is glitteringly dazzlingly and white and has a mirror like finish. It is like chrome, but much whiter and has the most reflectivity of all metals. Rhodium plating make diamonds look brighter and better because it is so bright and dazzles much like diamonds. From a couple of feet away and under most lighting conditions it is hard to see exactly where the stones end and the metal begins. Nothing sets off a diamond like rhodium plating does. Most white gold jewelry right now is rhodium plated. However the rhodium is only a plating and consequently it will wear off eventually and require re-plating.

How long will rhodium plating last?

That is a difficult question to answer. First of all it depends on whether the item is a ring that suffers a great deal of wear or a pin or broach that receives almost no contact. It will also depend on whether you wear the ring constantly. The life of the plating is also dependent upon to other extremely important and controllable factors.

1). How good is the quality of the plating?

High quality plating performed by a competent specialty plating shop will endure far longer than a thin layer of plating applied from a teacup of contaminated plating solution inside the back room of a jewelry shop.

2). What color is the underlying gold?

When the white gold underlying the rhodium plating is a nice acceptable color, you can go a long time between re-plating.  When the color of the underlying ring is slightly yellowish, more frequent re-plating will likely be necessary because the item will appear poorly much sooner.  If the underlying material is strongly yellow or is actually yellow gold, the contrast will be more dramatic and re-plating will be requited much more frequently. You can get your yellow gold jewelry rhodium plated, but if the piece experiences significant wear, the good appearance may last only a short time even if the rhodium plating quality is good, and almost no time if the plating is poor.

A note about Rhodium price volatility. Rhodium is never mined for its own because it is too rare to be economically feasible, rather it’s a minor by product from platinum mining and refining. When platinum is in high demand and a lot of it is being mined, a lot of rhodium is available and its price can decline to about the same price as gold, but when platinum mining is down, rhodium is virtually unavailable and becomes very costly (over $12,000) per ounce at one point in 2011 when gold was well under $1,000 per ounce).

Conclusion: When possible, try to make sure that the white gold jewelry you are buying is a quality shade of white before plating so that there is going to be a little contrast when the rhodium plating gets thin. If your jewelry store can’t rhodium plate the jewelry well enough for an acceptable life, try to find another jewelry or perhaps a specialty plaiting shop that can.

This article was written by Mike Fox, owner of Fox Jewelry. They are the leading marketer of Masonic Rings and have the largest of selection of Masonic Rings and other fraternal jewelry anywhere. We welcome your visit to our online store at: Fox Jewelry. Feel free to contact us at 712-251-8053 or email us at: [email protected].

Fox Jewelry 

 3821 Chippewa Ct.

Sioux City, IA 51104


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