What Is Rhodium?
When choosing fine jewelry, many shoppers feel caught between a rock and a hard place, or, more accurately, between two rather soft metals: silver and gold. The popularity of gold and silver jewelry is undeniable--three out of four brides receive an engagement ring made with gold and diamonds.
However, there are many, many more types of fine metal that make great choices for beautiful and durable custom jewelry. Titanium and platinum are two metals that come to mind, as well as Rhodium. In particular, Rhodium makes a great choice for buyers who want the beauty of gold and silver and the long-lasting qualities of tougher metals. But what exactly is Rhodium?
What is Rhodium, anyway?
Rhodium is a precious metal in the same metal family as platinum. It is also a chemical element with the symbol Rh and atomic number 45. Rhodium has silver-white color, and the substance is quite rare.
Rhodium, as an inert transition metal, is incredibly corrosion-resistant and remains unaffected by even the most aggressive chemicals. This metal also has an extremely high melting point of 2,237 degrees Kelvin, which is hotter than the hottest kinds of lava. As such, rhodium is the preferred substance for protective coatings in a variety of applications.
How is Rhodium used in Jewelry?
Due to its high melting point, this metal is rarely found in its pure form in jewelry. However, Rhodium is very useful as an electroplating material for both gold and sterling silver. Rhodium's reflective nature gives these metals a unique shine while also acting as a protective shield. By preventing scratches and wear from damaging the softer metals beneath, rhodium plating can extend the life of jewelry.
Though Rhodium is remarkably durable, electroplating creates a very thin coat over the jewelry which will eventually fade away with everyday wear. Rhodium plating can be re-applied once a year to continue to protect the jewelry's appearance and make it look like new.
Rhodium plating is most common for white gold rings and silver rings, however, rhodium can be used to make yellow gold appear silvery white. This style of ring will need re-plating more frequently to prevent the yellow color from showing through.
While Rhodium plating may not be right for every piece of jewelry, it is a great option for protecting wedding bands, engagement rings, custom jewelry, and other precious pieces. For more information about how Rhodium can take your jewelry to the next level or you need your rhodium jewelry cleaned, contact The Diamond Room today!