Rhodium is a commonly used metal in jewelry, and it’s typically used for plating. The reason jewelers used it is to enhance the durability and also the luster of the underlying metal, whether it is white gold or silver.
Not everyone is aware that in some cases when the jewelry has a smooth and super shiny finish, that’s because there’s a rhodium plating. You will find this metal getting plating getting used with diamond pieces because they increase the brilliance of the gemstone.
The properties of rhodium are also what make it preferred in the jewelry industry. It is highly reflective and also corrosion-resistant.
Another impressive aspect that not many people are aware of is that rhodium is a rare precious metal and more valuable than silver or gold. The question then becomes whether it is safe to wear.
We will answer that and more in this article.
Is rhodium hypoallergenic?
Rhodium plating is indeed hypoallergenic. That means it will not irritate your skin or cause you and skin reactions.
Rhodium itself does not contain any allergens such as nickel. It is a noble metal in the same group as platinum and doesn’t have other elements added to it.
The concern that people have is that tend to be found in either platinum or nickel ores, but after extraction, it is left as a stand-alone metal.
While the rhodium plate is hypoallergenic, you have to find out what metal is underneath.
There are instances that you’ll have companies put a thin rhodium plating over metal alloys that could contain non-hypoallergenic material.
It’s essential to know what metal is underneath because the rhodium plating does tend to wear off with use.
Does rhodium plating wear off?
As stated, the rhodium plating does wear off over time, and you may want to get it re-plated.
For a standard ring, you might need to re-plate it once every 12 to 18 months, depending on how you wear it.
The thickness of the plating itself is also a determinant in how often you’ll do the plating. Additionally, one’s body chemistry also affects how fast the plating wears off.
However, there is what you can do to prolong the inevitable.
Some of the things you can do are not rubbing your rhodium jewelry with your finger, whether it is a ring, necklace, pendant, earrings, or bracelets. When you do that, you are earing down the plating faster.
The other thing to do is not expose your jewelry to harsh chemicals.
That means taking off the jewelry when you’re getting into a chlorinated pool or the seawater.
Equally, when you’re washing your hands, applying lotion, or even makeup, do that first before wearing your ring or necklace.
That’s because the particles from these substances rub off and begin to cause the layer to fade.
To keep the ornaments looking new, wipe them down every so often to remove any residue that is present, sweat included.
Every few months you can use water with mild soap and a soft cloth to clean away any buildup. After, dry it and store it in a jewelry pouch or case. Remember to put them away from direct sunlight.
Is imitation rhodium hypoallergenic?
Imitation rhodium is not the real thing and thus not hypoallergenic.
Imitation rhodium is made from an alloy of tin, zinc, and copper, and in some cases, lead. The alloy itself that makes the imitation rhodium is not ideal for sensitive skin.
Is rhodium plating hypoallergenic?
Given that rhodium is rare, jewelry is not typically not entirely made from rhodium. Instead, it acts as a plating.
The plating itself is hypoallergenic, but the same is not guaranteed for the base metal as the rhodium plating wears off.
Is rhodium-plated brass hypoallergenic?
Rhodium-plated brass is not hypoallergenic. The plating itself is, but brass is not.
Brass is a mixture of copper and zinc, and it is not uncommon to find traces of nickel or lead.
Given the content of copper in brass, your skin will turn green.
Is rhodium plated silver hypoallergenic?
While pure silver is hypoallergenic, it is too soft to make jewelry with.
Instead, it is alloyed with other metals, including copper, zinc, platinum, silicon, and sometimes nickel.
Therefore, once the plating wears off, the jewelry is no longer hypoallergenic.
Is rhodium-plated gold hypoallergenic?
Pure gold is hypoallergenic, but just like silver, it is too soft to work with.
That is why it is alloyed with copper, palladium, or silver to make them.
While these elements are mostly hypoallergenic, the issue comes in when other allergy-causing alloys have been added.
Otherwise, you’re safe as long as the plating is on.
Is black rhodium hypoallergenic?
Natural rhodium becomes black rhodium when ink gets added to it.
Since it is merely color, it still remains to be hypoallergenic.
Can you wear rhodium plated jewelry in the shower?
Since we have mentioned that the layer of rhodium does tend to wear off, you have to take it off to perform specific duties.
That includes going to the shower. When it rubs against products and items you use to shower with, it ends up starting wearing off.
As a result of prolonged exposure to water and other chemicals, the layer comes off a lot faster. Therefore, it is not advisable to wear rhodium plated jewelry in the shower.
There are a lot of benefits when it comes to rhodium-plating jewelry. The major one is the enhanced shine, and how it makes the gems, it comes with stand out.
The other advantage is that it is hypoallergenic. If you have an issue with most metals, you can opt for rhodium-plated jewelry.
It takes time to wear off, and during that time, it would have given you ample serve. After, you can invest in getting the jewelry re-plated.
It does tend to be on the higher side, but you can increase the duration between replacing with proper care.
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