How Is Rhodium Plating Used?

05 June 2017

Rhodium plating is most commonly used on white gold jewellery. It transforms them from a dull, yellow colour and gives a clean, bright, mirrored finish. It can take jewellery in a used and lifeless condition and make it look brand new again.

Rhodium finishes are applied to white gold items through a process called “electroplating”. This process involves submerging the piece in a heated bath of the plating solution and then running an electric current through it. The item acts as a “cathode” or negative electrode and the rhodium in the solution is bonded permanently to the surface as the molecules are attracted to the negative charge. The rhodium electroplating solution is made up of a special mixture of rhodium sulphate, sulphuric acid and water.

Rhodium plating will not last forever. The lifespan of a rhodium plated item varies, and it does depend on a number of factors including:

  • the amount of wear the jewellery gets
  • the thickness of the plating
  • your personal body chemistry
  • the quality of the rhodium plating
  • the colour of the underlying gold

Rhodium plating on a piece of jewellery that is subjected to a lot of friction, such as a ring, can only be expected to last between 6 and 24 months, whereas plating on a necklace, brooch or earrings could last for ten or more years if worn infrequently.

At Nettletons Jewellers Clitheroe, we have our own electroplating machine on site in our workshop. We can transform your white gold jewellery including wedding rings or engagement rings and make it look refreshed and full of life quickly and efficiently – all at low cost.