Precious metals: rhodium
Rhodium is one of the most used precious metals in the jewelry guild along with gold, silver, platinum and palladium. The influence of the inclusion of new metals is changing this sector’s trends, such as rhodium: a chemical element that adds brightness and hardness especially to the designs in white gold and silver.
Rhodium is a pure metal, whose price is at least ten times higher than gold. Therefore, and because of its fragility, it is not currently used to make jewelry pieces without gold or silver. However, the rhodium ensures greater strength and brightness enhancing their quality thereof.
Rhodium is a chemical element of pink color in its mineral state. Considered as a transition metal, the most common use of rhodium is as a catalyst in reactions with platinum and hydrocarbons, thanks to its strength and for being easily malleable. All these features are perfectly suited to the qualities needed in jewelry, so the rhodium plays a very important role in rings, bracelets and exclusive pieces of watchmaking enhancing their brightness and resistance.
The most common objective of rhodium plating in fine jewelry is to improve the quality of a piece of white gold to enhance its color and provide an extra layer of protection against scratches and everyday use. It is also used to increase the brightness of platinum and silver. On the other hand, thanks to the Black & White trend, it is very common to find pieces of white gold with a touch of black rhodium to acquire a darker appearance and more resistance.
However, a disadvantage of this precious metal is that, despite of offering hardness and brightness, it doesn’t last forever. It wears off over time and requires a new plating. The useful life of these rhodium platings varies according to different factors, being the most important how we use and expose our piece of jewelry to external factors. However, today this problem can be solved quickly as its brightness and qualities return to their original state by performing a rhodium plating into the piece.
In conclusion, we can say that if the intention is to shine and own a high quality and long lasting piece of jewelry, in jewelry terms, rhodium plating becomes an excellent choice.