Rhodium is a member of platinum group of metals. Silver colored in nature, rhodium is highly reflective and does not tarnish or corrode. It cannot be made into jewellery directly due to its brittle nature, hence used as plating for metals.
Rhodium Plating in jewellery refers to thin coating of rhodium for base metals like gold, silver or other alloy, that gives them additional strength and luster. Rhodium plating is durable and corrosion resistant as well and hence a good choice for using in jewellery . Though rhodium is supposed to be durable, they are susceptible to wear and tear over time and hence requires the jewellery to be plated on regular basis.
Rhodium vs Platinum
Rhodium looks similar to platinum due to its shiny white appearance and almost as expensive as platinum or even more, due to its rare availability. Though durable, rhodium cannot be make into fine jewellery due to its brittle nature. On the other hand platinum is malleable and does not crack, hence can be made into jewellery.
Rhodium Plating vs Sterling Silver
Sterling silver features a whiter appearance compared to rhodium’s darker grayish appearance. The more light that metal reflects, the shinier it is. Pure rhodium or rhodium plated jewelry has a high reflectivity rating of 70%, making it very shiny. In contrast, silver jewelry reflectivity rating is 40%.
Rhodium Plated Jewellery
Rhodium plated jewellery looks more lustrous and brighter. Cost of Rhodium plating depends on the base metal. If the base metal is gold or platinum, obviously the cost would be higher. But if the base metal used is any other cheaper metal that is used for jewellery making, then the total cost of the piece of jewellery would be less expensive after rhodium plating also.
Sterling silver is more durable and when plated with rhodium, becomes more lustrous. Since rhodium plating wears off after sometime, the underlying silver metal becomes visible . Since the underlying metal also has similar color, rhodium plating can be a good choice for silver.
On the other hand, rhodium is not a good choice for yellow gold since the underlying yellow metal becomes clearly visible after the plating goes off. Rhodium plating is good for white gold, but not for yellow gold.