What is rhodium?
Rhodium is the rarest and most expensive precious metal and belongs to the platinum group of metals. The expensive metal is mainly extracted from platinum deposits and has a high resistance to corrosion, oxidation and high melting temperatures. In addition, rhodium has a high reflectivity and reflects light very well, which makes it very attractive in jewellery making.
Why is jewellery rhodium-plated?
The rhodium is a very resistant metal and helps to protect the jewellery from wear, scratches and discolouration, thus it stays shiny for longer. It is important to note that rhodium plating does not change the jewellery, it only protects its surface.
Another advantage of rhodium coatings is that they are hypoallergenic and therefore suitable for people with sensitive skin. They are also resistant to acids and chemicals, making them a popular choice for jewellery such as rings, necklaces and earrings.
How is a piece of jewellery rhodium-plated?
Rhodium plating is the process of applying a thin layer of rhodium to the surface of a piece of jewellery. This is done through a technique called electroplating.
In this complex process, the piece of jewellery is dipped into a solution of rhodium salts and then placed in an electrolytic bath. An electric current is passed through the bath, depositing the rhodium onto the surface of the jewellery.
After rhodium plating, the jewellery is polished and cleaned to make it look shiny and attractive again.
Why is rhodium so expensive?
Rhodium is a very rare and expensive metal that is mainly extracted from platinum deposits. It is about 15 times rarer than gold and 30 times rarer than platinum. Therefore, it is more difficult and expensive to extract.
Another factor contributing to the high price of rhodium is the high demand for the metal in jewellery making, the automotive industry and the chemical industry.
How long does a rhodium plating last?
The lifespan of a rhodium plating can vary from person to person and is related to the type of jewellery and the frequency of use. A piece of jewellery that is worn frequently and exposed to frequent contact with water, chemicals and other potential damage will wear out more quickly than a piece of jewellery that is rarely worn and carefully stored.