When it comes to rhodium plating nobody can say no whether the metal is gold or silver, it offers an extraordinary silvery-white shine to the jewellery. However rhodium is not only used in rhodium plating but has been emerging as a new precious metal for jewellery lover.
Rhodium belongs to the platinum group (or noble metals) and is one of the rarest precious metals. Although rhodium is a familiar name among jewellers and designers but rhodium jewellery is a new trend among jewellery designers.
Rhodium – Rarest in Rare & A Noble Metal
Rhodium is an element from noble metal’s group including platinum. Its chemical symbol is Rh and was discovered by William Hyde Wollaston in the first decade of the nineteenth century. It occurs as the free metal and alloyed with similar group metals.
It exhibits bright silvery-white lustre attraction and is denser and harder than gold thus it is more suitable to create jewellery instead using gold and silver. Initially it was used as a catalytic converter which is used to change harmful unburned hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide emission from the engine into noxious gases. It is also used to manufacture rhodium-containing thermocouples to measure temperatures
up to 1800°C.
Rhodium Plating – An Added Shine To Your Jewellery
Rhodium plating is used in white gold, silver, copper or its alloys make the metal brighter, shinier and more attractive. A buffer layer (or plating) of nickel is also deposited on the silver and copper metal before applying rhodium plating to prevent possible contamination of the rhodium with silver and copper though rhodium plating on gold does not require this nickel layer.
Rhodium Plating – The Process
Rhodium plating is done using electroplating process. In this process, the recipient metal (jewellery) is used as a cathode or negative electrode putting in a heated bath of rhodium-based plating solution (contains rhodium sulphate, sulfuric acid and water). During the process, small quantity of rhodium travels to the recipient metal and sticks to its external surface creating bonding with the external atomic layer of the recipient layer.
Rhodium Plating – Facts
There is a myth that rhodium plating ends never, but it may lose completed in ten or more years indeed depending on the use of the jewellery. If the jewellery is worn in daily uses such as a ring or necklace that is subjected to a lot of wear or friction, rhodium plating may last from 6 to 24 months only but if it’s worn occasionally you may enjoy it up to ten years.
Rhodium is hypoallergic and causes allergy to sensitive skin thus people with sensitive skin should not wear rhodium plated jewellery or wear it minimum at least.
Rhodium is neutral with harsh chemical but rhodium plating is not. Do not use polishing cloths, chemical cleaners or ultrasonic cleaners to clean rhodium plated jewellery. Clean it with a mixture of mild liquid soap and a little water. Also wear all makeup and perfume before wearing on jewellery to ensure long life of rhodium plating.