Are you trying to figure out what it means by your jewelry being rhodium plated?
You have come to the best place. Here you will get information about:
- What exactly is rhodium plating on a jewelry piece
- Is it safe to wear a rhodium-plated jewelry type
- The best way to take care of rhodium plated jewelry
- And a lot more!
Rhodium makes diamond and gemstones look beautiful, but come with the need to routinely spend money to retain the beauty.
However, is rhodium really worth it?
You will decide on that in just a bit.
Below is all you need to know about the rhodium plating on jewelry.
What is Rhodium Plating?
Rhodium plating refers to when a jeweler applies a very thin coat of rhodium on the surface of the jewelry. Rhodium is a very white metal. You will find it common in silver metals like white gold, palladium, and sterling silver. The process of applying a layer of rhodium is called rhodium plating or rhodium dipping. A less commonly used term for the same process is rhodium flashing.
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Rhodium plating is not done to all kinds of jewelry. While all white gold jewelry is always rhodium dipped, only certain special metals are. All white gold jewelry and sterling silver jewelry pieces have rhodium plating. Other metals like stainless steel and titanium can be coated with rhodium, in most cases to make the jewelry hypoallergenic. No rhodium flashing is done to jewelry pieces that are rose gold or yellow gold unless you deliberately want to change the color.
Process of Rhodium Plating Jewelry
The process of rhodium plating uses a method called electroplating to put the rhodium layer on the jewelry. Before the process begins, the jewelry must be cleaned properly and all dirt removed below the shank and inside any basket or crown settings.
It is important to thoroughly clean the jewelry since dirt makes it hard for the rhodium to stick on the jewelry. You can choose between electro cleaning and steam cleaning the jewelry or just use distilled water.
Once cleaned, the jewelry piece is dipped in rhodium solution. The solution is a combination of water and rhodium concentrate. By use of an electrical charge, the rhodium fuses onto the original metal.
The process of rhodium plating takes about one and a half hours and the jeweler should be very cautious, as the entire process is delicate. If you want to re-plate the jewelry in a corporate jewelers store like Jared, you will have to wait for about two weeks before you get the ring back. It is better to take the ring to a local jeweler if you need it back soon.
How Long Does Rhodium Plating Last?
Many people think that anything that is considered high quality is meant to last forever, but this is not what happens with jewelry. Rhodium plating can last long on your jewelry but it definitely is not permanent.
How long rhodium plating can last on a piece of jewelry is not known for sure, but on average, it can take about 12 months for it to start fading away. The time it will take to fade depends on several variables. One of the key factors that determine how long the rhodium will last is the conditions under which the jewelry is worn.
If you wear the ring all day every day, the oils from your skin will cause the rhodium to start fading off. The same applies to your wedding band or any other kind of everyday jewelry. If these are the conditions that your jewelry is exposed to, the rhodium plate will fade away faster. The different body chemistries in the skin cause the rhodium to become dull quicker than the average 12 months.
Certain kinds of weather conditions also make the rhodium start to wear out faster. Thick rhodium plates also wear out fast. How thick the plate is dictated how long the plate will last.
To know whether a ring needs fresh rhodium dipping, look at the shank. The white metal therein will appear yellowish and dull. This means you should be visiting your local jeweler in the next few days and has the ring re-plated.
Is It Safe to Wear Rhodium Plated Jewelry?
Many people, especially those who are allergic to metals worry if it is safe to wear certain kinds of metals in jewelry. Rhodium falls in the family of platinum and is considered hypoallergenic. If the rhodium is plated on a white gold ring, it will ensure the skin safety of the wearer for as long as the coat lasts.
The good thing is that there are not many people who are allergic to the alloy metals found in a 14K white gold diamond ring. If you react too often to the metal, you need to always make sure that the rhodium plate is re-applied when it fades away.
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When rhodium plating on sterling silver jewelry goes a long way in preventing the jewelry from tarnishing faster. All sterling silver jewelry is bound to tarnish as some point. The rhodium creates a barrier between the silver and skin oils or other tear conditions, thereby slowing down the tarnishing process.
However, when the rhodium plate starts to wear off, you will notice that the silver metal has discolored and the tarnish starts to pop out through the patches. If you are not severely allergic to one of the metals in the sterling silver alloy, the jewelry should be safe for you to continue wearing.
The skin or allergic reactions is made worse if your jewelry is made of cheap metals like brass, copper, or any other metal alloys. Dipping your jewelry in rhodium helps to prevent allergies but only for a specific period. As soon as the rhodium fades away, you are at risk of getting allergic reactions. It is better to buy jewelry made of precious metal with rhodium plating and rest assured of no allergies even when the rhodium is all gone.
Caring for Rhodium Plated Jewelry
We already know that the rhodium plate will come off after prolonged use of the jewelry. However, there are several things you can do to make the rhodium last longer and save costs incurred to keep up with the plating. There is no doubt that the maintenance of rhodium-plated jewelry can be a little expensive for some people. It can cost about $100 on the higher side. If your body chemistry makes the rhodium fade away faster than usual, re-plating becomes even more expensive.
When buying white gold jewelry, ensure you are buying from an online store that offers rhodium plating at no additional cost. I highly recommend you buy from James Allen. This store does not only have the best selection of white gold jewelry but also offers a lifetime warranty for regular maintenance. Buying white gold jewelry from James Allen saves you a lot of money, especially that which you would have used for regular rhodium plating.
How to Tell a Rhodium Plated Jewelry
If the jewelry is white gold, then it should be rhodium plated. In general, all white gold jewelry has rhodium plating, unless you are buying something cheap off the streets. Other than that, the law that every jewelry store states in their product description, in print or verbally, if the jewelry is rhodium plated requires it or not.