What is Rhodium plating?

Posted on May 19, 2015

What is Rhodium plating?


What is Rhodium plating?

 

Rhodium plating is as it is called, an electrolysis plating that goes over metal.

It is a very white plating that is used mainly in the jewellery industry to make jewellery look whiter.

White gold, silver and even the very low grade muck metal is routinely plated with Rhodium to enhance the whiteness of the end product.

18ct white gold is…

Here at DDS Diamond Design Studios we recommend using 18ct white gold which is high in Palladium without Nickel, so the colour of the gold used is already very white, but it is not quite as white as Platinum, so DDS still Rhodium plates the end product to ensure a “white” finish.

Many people come into DDS, asking “why is my white gold ring going yellow on the underside?” Many jewellers still use a Nickel rich, slightly yellowish white gold, which is cheaper. This grade of white gold does not look good unless it is Rhodium plated. The problem is when the Rhodium plating comes off, the actual colour of the base gold shows through.

Another common question we get asked is, “how often should I get my rings Rhodium plated”?

The answer to this question is a personal decision. When you think your ring is not looking white anymore, that is when you need to get it replated. We suggest, with normal wear, the polish of your ring will be diminish within a year, so a service of your ring once a year is an excellent idea. It doesn’t cost much to get it serviced and includes polishing, Rhodium plating and checking of all stones to make sure they are tightly set into the ring.

Rhodium plating is sometimes used as a protective coating over silver and low grade metals. Silver for example, tarnishes and turns black after long periods of exposure to our environment and acid on our skin. This oxidisation is reduced by Rhodium plating the product. A problem people sometimes have is the tarnishing or blackness comes through the Rhodium plating and black blotching starts to occur. The only thing you can do in this case is take it back to the jeweller you got it from and ask them to polish and replate the product. Please keep in mind, the product you bought is only silver and it is not the jeweller’s fault that silver oxidises. It is just part of buying silver.

If a gold ring is heated for a resizing or repair, the Rhodium will burn, so all the Rhodium needs to be polished off and replated once the repairs have been made.

Many people ask DDS, “can you Rhodium plate yellow gold to make it look white”?

Yellow gold pendants that are Rhodium plated do look white and if the plating is thick enough, it lasts and works well. Rings on the other hand do not work that well. The plating wears off rings and when the yellow gold shows through, the effect is not good.

There are other colours of Rhodium, such as Black Rhodium, but once again, they are only surface coatings, so will all come off with wear.

Feel free to contact us and book in your Rhodium plating now.

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