Suppose you are a manufacturer looking to go into rhodium plating, or you’re already into it and want to know more, or you are a customer who simply wants to learn more about their jewelry. In that case, this article is for you. Read on and find out all that you can about rhodium plating.
Everything You Should Know About Rhodium Plating Jewelry As A Manufacturer
What Is Rhodium?
Rhodium is a metallic chemical element. (Represented as Rh, with an atomic number of 45) It is a member of the platinum family. Rhodium can be twenty-five times more expensive than gold! William Hyde Wollaston discovered rhodium in 1803. Rhodium comes from the Greek word for pink: rhodium. This is because this metal has pink compounds.
It is a noble metal. It has an extremely high melting point. Its compounds can only be dissolved in very strong acids. Rhodium is stronger and more durable than gold. However, rhodium, due to its brittle nature, cannot be shaped into jewelry. It is often used as a coating in jewelry to protect other metals from tarnishing, being very resistant to corrosion itself.
What Do We mean by Rhodium Plating?
In the jewelry manufacturing industry, rhodium plating is used to refer to a process where rhodium, a silvery-white metal valued for being very rare and hard, is deposited in a thin layer over a piece of jewelry as a means of preventing tarnishing. Rhodium-plated jewelry is more resistant to scratches. They are quite elegant, thanks to the silver-white luster that rhodium gives. Rhodium plating is applied to gold, silver, and jewelry made of other precious metals. This is also called rhodium dip or rhodium flashing.
Rhodium is a precious metal that belongs to the platinum family. This is the group that includes ruthenium, iridium, platinum, osmium, and palladium. Rhodium is one of the most expensive precious metals in the world. Rhodium reflects light heavily and is very resistant to caustic agents.
How is Rhodium Plating Done?
Before any planting is done, care must be taken to ensure that the jewelry to be involved in the plating process is thoroughly clean. Dirt and oil would prevent the rhodium layer from settling perfectly on the jewelry.
For final cleaning, most jewelers would go for steaming, ultrasonic, or electro cleaning to be very sure of the cleanness of the jewelry. The first step in the plating process is to make sure the jewelry is immaculate before rhodium is applied. It’s not enough to simply wash the jewelry in a bowl of water. Even the slightest scrap of dirt will prevent the rhodium coating from sticking to it. For these reasons, thorough cleaning of the jewelry is necessary.
After cleaning, the plating may proceed. The plating process usually involves the use of a solution called the plating liquid. This liquid often is made up of sulfuric acid and rhodium sulfate. The piece of jewelry is dipped into the liquid. It stays there for at most a minute depending on its fineness, while an electric current is passed through the solution, causing the rhodium to adhere to the piece of jewelry. Afterward, it is rinsed and dried.
How Long Does A Rhodium Plating Last?
The length of service of jewelry plated with rhodium depends on the type of jewelry and how often it is exposed to friction. Jewelry such as necklaces and earrings that receive minimal friction should last for a very long time. However, rings or bangles that are worn every day see a lot of friction. This could cause them to lose their rhodium coating in so short a time as a year.
In addition to wearing and tear, torch flame damages and reduces the serving life of rhodium plating. Your rhodium jewelry may come in contact with torch flame when your jeweler needs are here to repair your jewelry. This can do serious harm to the rhodium coat.
Does rhodium plating affect gemstones?
Yes, gemstones are affected by rhodium plating, but the degree of the effect depends on the gemstones. Relatively soft gemstones like peridot, opals, coral, pearls, topaz, rubies, and emeralds could suffer damage during the rhodium plating process. This is due to the sulfuric acids and heat present in the electroplating solution. This may damage their surfaces, creating spots and studs.
Gemstones like sapphires and rubies are hardy enough to withstand rhodium plating. They don’t have to be removed when plating the piece of jewelry and don’t get damaged by the process. Hard gemstones such as diamonds and sapphires are durable enough that rhodium plating doesn’t affect them. There is no need to remove them before the plating process.
How Do You Take Care OF Rhodium Plated Jewellery?
While it might be inevitable that the rhodium plating would eventually wear off, there are things one can do to length its service life. Do not rub the rhodium plating constantly. Take off your rhodium-plated jewelry before you wash your hands for that reason, as this could lead to faster wear and tear. Don’t expose the rhodium-plated jewelry to harsh chemicals. Take off your jewelry before swimming. The chlorine in the water could do some severe damage to the plating.
The Advantages And Disadvantages Of Rhodium Plating.
There is always a second side to the story. Rhodium plating is undoubtedly beneficial to jewelry; however, it is not without its disadvantages. Let us look at some of them.
Advantages The foremost advantage of rhodium plating is that it prolongs the service life of a piece of jewelry. When a piece of jewelry is rhodium plated, it is more resistant to scratches and scrapes. Rhodium plating prevents tarnishing of the jewelry. It adds to the visual appeal of jewelry as it is highly reflective.
The major drawback to rhodium plating is that it is expensive. Rhodium is much more costly than gold so that rhodium plating can strain you financially. The rhodium plating of a small piece of jewelry may amount to $100 and another $100 in the future if you have to replace your jewelry.