The striking silvery shine, superior strength, and affordability of white gold jewelry have made it more popular than ever. White gold is often taken for a naturally occurring metal, but this is not true. The white gold’s luster is actually a result of a coating called rhodium, which needs to be maintained regularly. So in this article we will teach you about rhodium and answer the commonly asked question “How Long Will Rhodium Plating Last?”.
What Is Rhodium?
Rhodium is a metal that belongs to the platinum family and is known for being extremely shiny and particularly resistant to scratches. Also, it is a quite brittle metal that does not bend easily, which if used to make jewelry on its own, is likely to break.
Another thing that should be stated is that Rhodium is very rare and is generally found as part of other metals, ores, and minerals. Rhodium is the most expensive precious metal in the world due to its high demand and scarcity.
What Is Rhodium Plating?
When liquid rhodium is electroplated onto metal surfaces using an electroplating procedure, it is known as Rhodium plating, or Rhodium flashing or rhodium dip. By passing a current through the metal, a microscopic layer of rhodium is attracted to the metal, and it bonds to the original surface instantaneously. Gold alloys are typically plated with rhodium, but silver jewelry can also be plated with rhodium.
By plating jewelry with rhodium, the jewelry becomes more scratch- and corrosion-resistant. A typical rhodium-plated piece of jewelry has a thickness of 0.75 to 1.0 microns, which is sufficient to protect precious metal jewelry subjected to ordinary wear. Which is great so that you can keep your jewelry for years to come!
Will Rhodium Plating Wear Off?
Now that you know about rhodium plating and what it is, we now need to discuss if it will wear off. The answer is yes, rhodium plating will wear off. Rhodium plate wears off due to the brittle nature of rhodium. If the layer of rhodium plating is too thick, it increases the chance that the piece will break. When it is too thin, it can discolor the piece, making it susceptible to corrosion and tarnishing. As a result, the rhodium plating does wear off after some time.
How Often Does Rhodium Need To Be Re-Plated?
Knowing that rhodium plating wears off over time, it is important to know how often to re-plated. Rhodium plating will need to be refinished depending on the type of jewelry and how often it is worn. The answer is that you should re-plate rhodium every 1-2 years.
However, rings that are worn every day are subject to quite a bit more wear and tear and should be coated more frequently, ideally every 3 to 6 months. Rhodium-plated jewelry can become dull more quickly when exposed to friction, chlorine, or body oils. If the yellowish gold underneath shows through your plating, you know it’s time to re-plate your jewelry.