What is Rhodium Plating?

What is Rhodium Plating?

Rhodium plating is a metal deposition process. It is used to coat materials with a decorative and protective layer of a substance called rhodium. Rhodium is a metal that has an extremely bright and hard wearing finish when it is applied as plating. It gives the base metal a durable finish of exceptional brightness. Rhodium finishes can greatly enhance the appearance and longevity of jewellery.

In the jewellery business, rhodium plating is commonly used on white gold items. It turns them from a dull, yellow gold to a clean, bright, mirrored finish. It transforms jewellery from a used and lifeless condition and makes it look brand new.

Rhodium finishes are applied to white gold items through the process of electroplating. This involves submerging the item in a heated bath of the rhodium-based plating solution and then running an electric current through it. The item becomes a “cathode” or negative electrode. Rhodium from the solution permanently bonds to the surface of the item as the molecules are attracted to the cathode. Rhodium electroplating solutions are made up of rhodium sulphate, sulphuric acid and water.

It is important to be aware that rhodium plating will not last forever. The lifespan of a plated item varies and it depends on a number of factors including:

  • the amount of time you wear the jewellery,
  • the thickness of the rhodium plating,
  • your own body chemistry,
  • the quality of the plating
  • the colour of the underlying metal

Rhodium plating on an item that is subjected to a lot of wear, such as a ring, may only last between 6 and 24 months, whereas a necklace, brooch or earrings can retain plating for ten or more years if they have less contact with skin or the elements. 

At Nettletons Jewellers Clitheroe, we have an electroplating machine on site in our workshop so your white gold jewellery including engagement rings and wedding rings can be transformed to looking refreshed and full of life quickly and efficiently at a very low cost. Call us on 01200 422127 today for more information.