What is Rhodium Plating?

A common practice, often used on white gold, is adding rhodium plating to a piece of jewelry. You might find this mentioned from time to time as you are shopping for a white gold wedding band or silver jewelry. The question then is, what is rhodium plating and why do I need it?

This is a great question. Rhodium is one of the most rare and valuable of precious metals. This silvery-white metal is part of the platinum group and is a noble metal. This means it is corrosion resistant. Rhodium is most commonly found as a free metal, alloyed with other similar metals. While 80% of rhodium is used in catalytic converters such as automobiles, the jewelry industry has found a great use for it as well.

On silver jewelry rhodium is used as a coating on the surface to help it be more tarnish resistant while rhodium on white gold helps improve appearance as well as add protection for the item from damage since it is a harder material than gold. 

Over all, whether stated or not, rhodium plating is a good thing and helps to protect your jewelry investment for many years to come. Despite the strength and corrosion resistance, rhodium plating will not last forever. Heavily worn jewelry such as wedding bands may need to be re-plated ever couple of years while earrings that are not as heavily worn or in contact with the skin may only need re-plating every 10 to 15 years.