If you are planning to buy a white metal jewellery, then there are 90% chances that you have heard the term ‘rhodium plating’ referred by the jeweller. Rhodium plating is also known as rhodium dip or rhodium flashing. If you are wondering what the term means, then you are not the only one. Read this article to know everything about rhodium plating.
Rhodium is a rare metal, a silver-white hard metal belonging to the platinum family on periodic table. It is an extremely expensive precious metal. Rhodium is best known to increase the life of any jewellery it plates as the metal is resistant to corrosion and oxidation in a moist environment.
Rhodium is extremely shiny as it reflects 80% of light. It is an extremely brittle metal and therefore, cannot be shaped or formed easily. Hence, pure rhodium cannot be used to make jewellery as it can get cracked easily. Whereas, when rhodium is used as a plating on another metal, it enhances its durability.
How is rhodium plating done?
Rhodium plating is done by using the electroplating process. When a piece of jewellery is to be plated with rhodium, it first needs to go through intense cleaning as the metal doesn’t hold plating if there is any dirt on the piece. This cleaning is done using distilled water, steam and electro cleaning process. After this, rhodium is fused on base metal with a positive electrical charge. This needs to be done with extreme precaution because if the electric current gets too high, then it may result in blackening the rhodium plating. The whole process takes around an hour and a half.
Why choose rhodium plating?
Rhodium plating has been used to coat white gold or silver jewellery since the 1930s. It is especially used to plate wedding and engagement jewellery. This is because wedding and engagement jewellery is a symbol of the promise that has to stay forever. Rhodium increases the durability of the jewellery, making the rhodium ring a popular choice in wedding and engagement rings. Also, it increases its shine and lustre. Rhodium plating makes jewellery scratch resistant and makes silver less prone to tarnishing.
One of the biggest pros of rhodium plating your jewellery is that it makes it nickel-free by making it hypoallergenic. Most of the white metal jewellery consists of yellow gold mixed in the minimum amount of nickel to achieve a white gold colour. You must check yourself for nickel allergy before choosing one.
How to make your rhodium plated jewellery last longer?
They say rhodium plating lasts forever, though nothing can last forever is no proper care is taken. Here are few steps by which you can take care of your rhodium plated jewellery.
- Avoid putting your rhodium plated jewellery especially rhodium ring underwater.
- Take off your jewellery while dealing with harsh chemicals or use gloves to protect your rhodium ring.
- Take off your jewellery before swimming in highly chlorinated pools, as chlorin can cause damage to the rhodium plating.
- Check if your jewellery needs a reapplication of coating and do it when necessary.
You can weigh the pros and cons of rhodium plating and make the best decision based on your budget.