Do you have white gold jewellery? How often have you had it rhodium plated? Whether you have never heard of it, or simply want to know more, here are the top five things you need to know about rhodium plating

What is Rhodium Plating?

Rhodium plating is used to create a white reflective appearance on jewellery. As it is part of the platinum metal family, it is harder than gold so provides jewellery with a durable surface which resists scratches and tarnish. It is most commonly used to plate white gold as this metal naturally has a yellow tone, so by electroplating a layer of rhodium, the piece of jewellery will have a bright white finish.

How long does rhodium plating last?

A common misconception is that rhodium plating only needs to be done once and is permanent.

As it is a metal, like any other metal used in jewellery, it is susceptible to wear and tear through exposure. So most white gold pieces on average will need to be rhodium plated every 12-18 months. This depends on how the item of jewellery is worn. Rings will generally need to be done more regularly as compared to earrings or pendants that receive less contact wear. Any medications or body chemistry of the wearer can have an affect on the wearing rate of the rhodium or other metals.

If the item of jewellery needs to undergo any repair work or polishing, in most cases this also removes the rhodium plating and therefore will require it to be rhodium plated on completion.

How long does rhodium plating take to do?

This comes down to where you take you pieces to be plated. Some workshops may have a longer turn around time than others depending on the quantity of work at the time. Our store has the workshop on-site which allows us to offer same day rhodium plating service.

Will rhodium plating affect the gemstones?

This comes down to what type of gemstone. Extra caution is taken for softer gemstones such as opals, pearls, coral and turquoise, they may require additional work to protect them during the rhodium plating process. However stones such as diamonds, rubies and sapphires are hardy enough to withstand rhodium plating.

Can I rhodium plate a yellow gold or sterling silver pieces?

You can definitely rhodium plate a yellow gold piece to make it appear white. However as mentioned earlier, through wear and tear the plating will wear down and therefore reveal the yellow colour again. So for yellow gold items, you can expect to have to rhodium plate more frequently to keep it the bright white colour

Sterling silver is a white metal and does not need rhodium plating to give it a bright white colour. However,  sterling silver is well known to tarnish. So to help in preventing this, you can rhodium plate the piece of jewellery

So now you are an expert on the benefits of rhodium plating, why not treat you jewellery to a spruce up and book them in for an express rhodium plating!