Rhodium is a rare metal element that you probably only recognise from the periodic table. It is one of the rarest metals on Earth, and therefore, very valuable. It’s in the same group of metals as platinum on the periodic table. However, it is even more rare than platinum. It’s a silvery-white metal that can be polished to a very high shine. It looks very much like platinum or white gold. It is used to plate jewellery for a couple of reasons: it has a very high shine, and is resistant to almost all common forms of damage.
Protecting Your Jewellery
Rhodium as an element will protect your jewellery from corrosion, rust, and tarnishing. Rhodium is a non-reactive metal that does not react to most acids, bases, or oxidising factors. It will resist oxidation that would normally rust or corrode other metals. Since it is silver-white and polishes to a high shine, it looks very much like platinum or silver. It can be used to plate those metals and keep them from tarnishing or discolouring, which is especially helpful for silver and gold jewellery. You might be wondering why you have never seen rhodium jewellery. It is an incredible valuable and precious metal, so why is it not used on its own for making jewellery? Why is it only used for plating?
Plating with Rhodium
Rhodium is used mostly for plating by companies such as Acotis Diamonds because it is brittle. Except for a few very useful metals, most metals that are very hard are also very brittle. A metal needs to be hard to resist corroding, discoloration, tarnishing, and scratching. However, if it’s very hard, then it will also be brittle. Such brittleness is fine if a very thin layer of it is being used to coat another piece of jewellery. The brittleness becomes a liability if you want to make an entire piece of jewellery out of it. Therefore, rhodium is used for plating and not for jewellery itself. Furthermore, it would be prohibitively expensive for many different people to buy jewellery made entirely of such a precious metal.
Should You Buy?
The question is whether or not you should buy jewellery that is plated with rhodium. If you have the money, then the answer is definitely yes. You definitely should spend the extra money to get jewellery that is coated with rhodium. It is very hard and resistant to most dangers. If you wear your jewellery often, rhodium will help keep it secure. However, since it is a plating and not actually an alloy, you will need to make sure the plating is in good shape. Every few years, you might need to have it re-plated. That’s only if you wear such jewellery often. If the jewellery is some special occasion jewellery, then you likely won’t wear it very much. It will last for decades and never discolour or tarnish.
Jewellery plated in rhodium is a great choice for anyone who wants jewellery that will last a long time and look great. It’s a silvery white metal from the platinum family.