Why Rhodium Plating Is Used For Jewellery Repairs
White gold is stylish and has a beautiful sheen, so it is unsurprising that it is
currently in demand for engagement rings, wedding rings and other types of jewellery. However, it is a relatively soft precious metal and is vulnerable to damage over time, such as scratches. It may also lose its sheen a little over the years, particularly if the piece of jewellery is worn most of the time.
To restore your jewellery to its former glory, you will need to take it to a professional jeweller for repairs. Many people are surprised when they learn that their white gold ring, or other piece of jewellery, has been repaired using rhodium. Since very few people understand exactly what rhodium is, this can cause a little worry.
This article will look at why rhodium is used for repairing jewellery, and why you do not need to be concerned.
What Is Rhodium?
If you do not understand why rhodium is used in jewellery making and jewellery repair, your initial worry is likely to be whether you are being “ripped off” by the jeweller. It is not unusual for people to assume that the jeweller is cutting their costs by using a metal which is indistinguishable from white gold, but cheaper. This is assumption is entirely incorrect.
Rhodium is, in fact, part of the platinum family of metals, and one of the most precious metals on the planet. Far from being a cheap substitute for white gold, it is actually worth ten times more, gram for gram. It is not used for making entire pieces because it is brittle and difficult to create jewellery from, but is commonly used for plating more durable metals.
Rhodium has an attractive white sheen and can be used to create an almost mirror-like shine. This makes it perfect for enhancing the beauty of white gold jewellery, as it encompasses many of the qualities that purchasers are looking for. Un-plated white gold does not have the same brilliance because it is actually an alloy of yellow gold, and these undertones can dull some of the brightness.
However, the problem with plating is that it will wear off over time. This is why, when you take your jewellery to a jeweller to be repaired, they will re-plate it to restore some of the original sheen. Most jewellers will also add rhodium plating to heirloom pieces which are brought in to be repaired, even though older pieces did not use rhodium. This is because the finish is generally believed to be better.
How Long Does Rhodium Plating Last?
Inevitably, your jewellery will need to be re-plated at some point in the future. Estimating at what point this will become necessary can be difficult.
Items which are worn every day, such as a wedding ring, will wear a lot faster than a piece of jewellery which is only worn on special occasions. Rings will also wear more quickly than other pieces which are not worn in such close contact with the skin, such as some designs of necklace. This is because metals will, to a small extent, react with the wearer’s body.
The colour of the underlying metal alloy will also impact on how many years you can go in between touching up the rhodium plating. A good quality white gold piece will require less frequent re-plating, since any wear will be less noticeable than on a yellower piece.
There are very good reasons why rhodium plating is used in Auckland jewellery repair. Rhodium is a highly precious metal which can be used to enhance the beauty of a piece.