What Is Rhodium?
Rhodium is a precious metal, a member of the platinum family. Rhodium plating is most often found on white gold.
The term white gold is something of a misnomer. Gold is actually yellow, what jewelers call white gold today is an alloy (mixture) of gold and a white metal – usually nickel, silver, or palladium (another member of the platinum family). Metals known as white are actually more of a gray color, so white gold has a yellowish cast.
The higher the karat weight = the more gold there is in the alloy and the more yellow the cast appears. The wearer of white gold is usually looking for a bright white look, which is where the rhodium plating is introduced. Rhodium electroplating is added to jewelry to provide a surface that will resist scratches and tarnish, and give off a white reflective appearance. White gold plated with rhodium will also keep the jewelry piece looking good longer, however it doesn't last forever.
View the samples below to see a comparison of gold and natural white gold compared to white gold with a rhodium plating.
Sample #1 is Yellow Gold
Sample #2 is Rhodium Plated White Gold
Sample #3 is Natural White Gold
How Long Does Rhodium Last?
The rhodium plating on jewelry that experiences constant wear, like a wedding ring, can diminish in as little as one to two years, while a necklace or pin that is worn less frequently or comes in less contact with your skin or the elements can keep its plating for many more years. You can tell when the plating is wearing away by the look of the piece; the area without the plating will show the yellowish color of the original white gold.
Can Rhodium Finish Be Restored?
Yes. Most jewelry items can easily be re-plated. We offer complete rhodium plating services on white gold and yellow gold jewelry items, including complex two-tone pieces. Prices will vary according to the size and complexity of the jewelry item, however re-plating a two-toned item will be more expensive because the work has to be done by hand.
Note: Re-plating will not fill in dents, dings or scratches, it will only make them shinier and more noticeable. At Jewelry Service Center, we clean and polish your jewelry before it is re-plated. The smoother the piece is to start with, the better the effect your item will receive from the re-plating process.
Keep In Mind While Jewelry Shopping:
If you are shopping for white gold jewelry, be sure to ask if the item has been rhodium plated. Oftentimes, customers buy rhodium-plated pieces without realizing. Knowing how your jewelry was made will help you maintain it properly and enjoy its beauty for years.
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