Rhodium is a type of precious metal belonging to the platinum group of metals. Rhodium is as equally hard as platinum but is less dense so consequently it is lighter. When the precious metal white gold is rhodium plated it will look more like platinum, because the natural colour of white gold has slight yellow tones.
The process of white gold:
Pure gold is 24ct which looks very rich yellow, this is then alloyed to make it more durable but also to change the colour. In the UK we tend to work with mainly 9ct and 18ct gold. To make the gold appear whiter it is alloyed with white metals such as silver and platinum. Both the 9ct and 18ct white golds have a warmer tone to them when compared to the cold bright white platinum or palladium.
Why do we recommend rhodium plating?
As the plating is only microns thick this means it will wear away over the course of a year or so. If you have a white gold engagement ring it is generally first noticeable on the back of the ring as this is the area that will come into contact with more daily wear.
How long does it last?
The rate of how quickly it will wear away depends on the amount of wear that the plating comes in contact with; it may start to wear off in 6 months but could last for more than a year on a ring. Rhodium plating will last longer on something that doesn’t get that same amount of wear as a ring like a pendant. For rings, we generally suggest getting them rhodium plated once a year if you wear it all the time.
How do we do it?
The rhodium is applied by using the electro-plating process which involves using baths of chemical solutions, rhodium and the item to be plated, a chemical reaction occurs which fuses the rhodium to the surface of the item.