what is rhodium plating, how its used on white jewelry

Rhodium: What it is, How to use it, and FAQ

Today’s blog will be breaking down everything about Rhodium: What it is, how to properly use it, and frequently asked questions. Stay tuned to learn about the precious material.

What is Rhodium?

what is rhodium plating? before and after

Rhodium is a highly reflective, resistant, rare, and expensive material. It is generally incorporated in jewelry in the form of plating. The costly material is commonly used to give white gold a more white appearance. Despite its name, white gold usually has a slight yellow hue; therefore, any white gold jewelry you purchase will be Rhodium plated by default. Rhodium is also available in black, which is commonly used in men’s jewelry. White and black Rhodium are almost the same price but are used to create completely different aesthetics.

*Rhodium plating is only used for white gold, not yellow or rose gold.*

How to care for Rhodium-plated Jewelry?

art deco engagement ring in white gold with rhodium

When jewelry is plated, no matter how thick the plating is or how careful you are with it, the plating will fade at some point as it is a superficial coating to a surface. If your ring, for example, is Rhodium plated, you will begin to see a difference in color at around one year and a half to two years and a half. That is why we recommend that you get your jewelry re-Rhodium plated and professionally cleaned every 3-5 years.

 We do have cleaning and re-plating services here at Fine+Flux, all you need to do is send us an email at info@fineandflux.com and we will be happy to accommodate all your needs!

How to properly utilize Rhodium?

The process of rhodium plating an engagement ring

Normally, plated jewelry will always fade. However, there are ways to prolong the time in between each replating. It is only a matter of making sure the Rhodium is protected by reducing the amount of daily wear and tear. It can be as simple as removing your bridal set before you work in the garden or go to the gym. These are straightforward habits that will help drag out the longevity of your rhodium plating and therefore reducing the amount of times you will have to have your rings replated.

How long does Rhodium last?

Around a year and a half to two years and a half. You will be able to tell that the rhodium has worn off when you start to see that your rings have a slightly yellow tint to them. It will wear off at the base of the shank first and by the 2 year mark the top half will be as well.

Is Rhodium good for jewelry?

Rhodium does not impact your jewelry in any way. Rhodium in simply used to enhance the beauty of your jewelry and attain a crisp white look, similar to the look of platinum.

Does Rhodium tarnish?

Much like platinum, Rhodium remains the same color. White gold however, over the years, will grow a stronger yellow hue. Due to everyday wear and tear and the acidities in our hands, the yellow alloys within the white gold will come forward. That is why the longer you have your white gold jewelry, the more you will need to re-polish and re-Rhodium plate it over the years.

What Is Black Rhodium Used For?

emerald and pearl necklace with black rhodium

If you aren't familiar with black rhodium, it is exactly as it sounds, black! Like white rhodium it is very expensive, which is why we only use it as a plating. However unlike it's lighter counterpart, it is most commonly found in men's jewelry or used to accentuate certain features, versus plating an entire piece.

Once black rhodium starts to fade and the base yellow or white gold starts seeping through, it looks terrible. This is why we never recommend plating complete surfaces with it, but instead small areas that are ideally set lower then the surface. For example, this emerald & pearl necklace has black Rhodium plating in between the emerald center stone and the pearls. The fact that it is placed below the top surface and embellished with pearls around it, it will actually prevent the rhodium from being worn down, keeping it intact forever.

How to use black Rhodium?

A lot of men wear black Rhodium plated rings, which is not the best idea as the black will scratch off quickly. When plating white Rhodium on white gold, scratches and fading are not as glaringly obvious as black Rhodium against white gold is. That is why plating black rhodium in protected areas is key.

Alternatives To Black Rhodium

black resin men's wedding band, a black rhodium alternative

If you are looking for a ring that has a black surface we would recommend using black resin instead. As previously mentioned, black rhodium wears off. If you were to coat a ring in black rhodium, you would most likely have to have it redone every 4 months, which will be costly and time consuming.

This is why we recommend black resin. Resin comes in almost every color and opacity and is a durable option to consider. It has a jet black look, as you can see from the example to the left.

Re-Rhodium & Custom Inquiries 

If you are looking to have your jewelry cleaned, polished and rhodium plated or if you are interested in creating a custom piece, please send us an inquiry at info@fineandflux.com. You can also view a more in depth break down of our rhodium and maintenance services, including prices here.

 You may also like our jewelry cleaning blog, where we teach you how to clean your jewelry and engagement rings from the comfort of your home, with no more then dish soap, a toothbrush and warm water!


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