Does rhodium plated tarnish? Does rhodium plating wear off? There are several rhodium-plated pieces of jewelry on the market. However, not many people understand what it is or how long it lasts. This article seeks to give you all the information you need on rhodium plating, including if rhodium plating wears off.
Often, rhodium plating increases the durability and luster of other metals that make jewelry. It provides a shiny and smooth finish to diamond rings, gold bracelets, and even silver necklaces.
While rhodium plating is a widespread practice in the world of jewelry, it does require adequate maintenance to remain looking smooth and glossy. But, does rhodium plating wear off?
Does rhodium plating wear off?
First of all, you need to understand the term ‘rhodium plating.’ Rhodium itself is an element that belongs to the platinum family.
It is harder than gold, making it more durable and stronger than gold. This element is also quite rare, making it about 10-25 times more costly than gold.
Rhodium has a silver hue that does not corrode or tarnish and is highly reflective. Similarly, it is quite brittle and does not bend easily, meaning that if used to make jewelry on its own, it is likely to break.
Rhodium plating, also known as rhodium flashing or rhodium dip, is when jewelry manufacturers add a protective layer to other pieces of metal jewelry via the process of electroplating.
As a result, the piece of jewelry becomes more scratch and corrosion-resistant. Most rhodium plated jewelry has a thickness of 0.75-1.0 microns, which is enough to shelter precious metal jewelry that experiences rough wear regularly.
If the rhodium plating thickness is too much, it increases the chances of the piece to break due to its brittle nature. If it is too thin, it may discolor the piece, making it vulnerable to tarnishing and corroding. Therefore, yes, rhodium plating does wear off after some time and depending on certain conditions.
How long does rhodium plating last?
Rhodium plating is a process that occurs on the surface of a piece of jewelry. As such, it tends to wear off after some time, revealing the yellow or white color beneath.
Depending on how frequently you wear your rhodium plated jewelry, the protective layer wears off and requires re-plating at least once every 12-18 months.
Often, rhodium plating lasts for about three to twelve months. Factors, like the body chemistry of the wearer, color of the base metal, the piece’s wear and tear, and the thickness of the plating, dictate how long the plating will last.
If the color of the base metal is yellow, it is likely you will need to re-plate your piece before the end of twelve months.
What happens when rhodium plating wears off?
We have already found out that rhodium plating wears off in the event of daily wear and subject to other factors.
When it wears off, the piece of jewelry loses its silver hue and exposes the base metal underneath.
For instance, most white gold plated pieces of jewelry look whiter after the rhodium plating wears off.
More so, the piece may tarnish and corrode faster, causing detrimental damage to its appearance. Luckily, you can get your piece re-plated at your local jewelers at a small fee.
Tips for extending the life of my rhodium plated jewelry
Although rhodium plating can wear off quite quickly with regular use, there are some simple tips you can employ to ensure it lasts longer. They include:
Avoid exposing your ring to harsh chemicals
It is vital to clean your pieces of jewelry to ensure they maintain their shiny and lustrous appearance over time.
However, if you use heavy cleaning products with strong chemicals, it may cause your rhodium plated jewelry to wear off. Simply use warm water and soap to clean your pieces.
Similarly, if you are doing your daily chores, we recommend that you take off your ring or wear a pair of protective gloves.
The same goes for swimming; do not swim in a chlorinated pool with your rhodium plated jewelry.
Avoid rubbing off the rhodium plating on your ring
Rhodium plating is only on the surface of the jewelry.
As such, it can come off when you rub your hands together when washing them.
You should avoid this as much as possible to prolong the rhodium plating.
Wear rhodium plated rings around your neck or take them off until you are off duty if your profession requires you to rub your hands together often.
If your jewelry is spinning and loose, its rhodium plating is likely to wear off from the inside.
Often, cosmetics accelerate this process, when they come into contact with the rhodium plating. As such, you may notice the wearing off of the plating only when you remove your jewelry.
Clean out any cosmetic residue off your ring. If your ring is spinning a lot, you may have to have your finger size rechecked, and the rings adequately adjusted.
Is rhodium plating safe for jewelry?
Yes. Rhodium plating is very safe for jewelry. Rhodium plating is hypoallergenic, meaning it does not cause any allergic reactions on sensitive skin.
More so, rhodium itself does not have these allergens, making it safe for all skin types to wear rhodium-plated jewelry. Many jewelers recommend rhodium plating jewelry that causes allergic reactions as a solution to eliminating the issue.
However, once the rhodium plating wears off, it exposes the base metal, which may cause an adverse reaction on your skin. Some people confuse this exposure with rhodium plating allergies, which is false.
Rhodium plating does an excellent job of increasing the durability and appearance of the jewelry.
It offers a worthwhile shine that does not tarnish or corrode quickly. However, the maintenance costs are quite high since you will have to re-plate your piece at least every twelve months.
Rhodium plating also has a darker shine when compared to pure silver, making it easy to notice. Consult your jeweler on the rhodium plating process and whether it is advisable for your piece of jewelry.