Rhodium Plating

What is rhodium plating and why would I want to have it done to my jewelry?

Rhodium plating is a repair technique used with jewelry to improve the scratch resistance of the surface while giving it a more intense reflective appearance. But, what exactly is rhodium? In what circumstances is this procedure used? Rhodium is a rare metal that is silver-white in color. Rhodium is currently much more expensive than gold. The most common purpose of using the rhodium plating procedure is to enhance a piece of gold jewelry’s coloring and provide an extra layer of protection against potential damage. This process is known as electroplating and usually leaves a thin protective coating about the thickness of a single micron on standard 14k gold jewelry. The reason rhodium plating is often combined with gold is simple. White gold does not exist in a natural state. White gold is standard yellow gold mixed with another metal that has a white color. This usually means silver, palladium or nickel. This process tends to result in a faint yellow tint to the finished product. Since the buyer of white gold is often looking for a brighter white luster, rhodium is used as a thin plating material to add that extra desired shine. Rhodium plating can also be an excellent option for those looking to give their older yellow gold pieces a new more modern look of white gold.

However, aside from its much desired reflectiveness, rhodium has more protective properties that give it a useful function as a plating metal. One of rhodium’s unique properties is that it will never tarnish. Also, it is a much harder metal than gold, which means rhodium is more scratch-resistant and more able to withstand the rigors of daily use. Rhodium is also used on silver as well for its scratch resistant properties and platinum to further enhance shine.  At Gold and Silver of Louisiana, we offer rhodium plating as a customization service to our greater Baton Rouge customers. We look forward to answering any questions you may have regarding rhodium plating your gold, silver or platinum jewelry.