Ever wondered what makes costume jewelry looking so shiny in the store, but after a few wears it starts to appear a bit lackluster? Rhodium finished jewelry is responsible for that glisten and gleam that keeps jewelry looking fabulous.
Rhodium is a derivative of platinum metal that is most commonly used to plate jewelry such as white gold, and sometimes platinum, to make it appear to be a brilliant silver color.
Rhodium is a hard metal that adds strength to the jewelry in addition to the shiny color. Another plus of rhodium jewelry is that it does not easily tarnish and keeps silver jewelry looking bright.
Rhodium finished jewelry is typically found on white gold diamond rings, fashion and costume jewelry. This is because rhodium plating on silver jewelry is prone to wearing off, exposing the metal underneath.
Rhodium jewelry requires a greater amount of upkeep, and is best suited for white gold or silver jewelry that will not be worn on a daily basis.
Rhodium is the most expensive natural metal.
It is currently ten times more costly than purchasing 24 karat gold, and two times more costly than platinum. Solid rhodium jewelry is not made because in its solid form, it becomes brittle. Powder form is the only way rhodium metal can be bought, adding to its difficulty in forming suitable rhodium jewelry.
A plus of rhodium is that it hardens and keeps rhodium jewelry strong. This extends the overall life of rhodium jewelry and the most expensive jewelry dealers have some degree of rhodium in their products.
Rhodium jewelry, although rarely found in a pure solid state, carries a lesser price tag than platinum jewelry. They can be found as cheap as $20, or as much as $200.
Maintaining Rhodium Plated Jewelry
Rhodium is typically not found on items such as wedding bands, engagement rings, or items exposed daily to elements and wear. I know no one wants to have their rings re-plated or pay a costly maintenance fee several times but solid rhodium jewelry is very rare and hard to find.
The upkeep of rhodium jewelry must be performed by a professional jeweler or a specialist. A piece of rhodium jewelry will typically need to be polished and recoated every 12-18 months. Without proper maintenance, the rhodium plating will wear off, lose its shine, or begin to change colors.
Sometimes, a person who wants to change the overall look of a particular piece of jewelry without changing the setting can opt for rhodium plating as long as he or she is willing to have routine maintenance. For instance, someone with a ring in a yellow gold setting can have it dipped in rhodium for a platinum appearance.
A piece of rhodium finished jewelry that is worn daily will have to be re-dipped several times over the course of its life to maintain its silver appearance.
For people with cocktail jewelry, rhodium plating is a great option to keep the jewelry sturdy and bright. If a piece of jewelry that will be worn each and every day, rhodium jewelry is less of a good idea.