Why is rhodium plating used on some jewlery?


Quick Answer

Rhodium plating is done on jewelry items to provide a protective coating that increases the longevity of the jewelry. It helps to reduce how quickly the metal underneath the rhodium starts to tarnish. Rhodium plating also helps to improve the appearance by making it appear bright and shiny.

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Full Answer

Since rhodium is a silver-white hard metal, it is only used to plate silver or white gold jewelry items. It is considered the most expensive precious metal in the world. Rhodium is so strong that it only dissolves with sulfuric acid. It is very shiny and reflective, which is why many jewelry designers use to only for the appearance factor. Rhodium is often plated over silver jewelry, which increases the price of that jewelry item.

Rhodium was first used to plate items in the 1930s when it plated silverware to allow it to last longer. Before too long, it was also used to plate sterling silver and white gold jewelry items. After World War II, it was also used as a base metal for stainless steel jewelry settings and findings. Jewelry is not made of rhodium due to the high cost, but instead coated with it by using thin layers of rhodium bonded to other metals.

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