Rhodium Plating Silver Jewellery: A Good Or Unhealthy Concept?


Pure silver doesn’t tarnish however is simply too gentle by itself for use in jewellery making. Sterling silver is 92.5% pure silver and seven.5% different metals (typically copper) with the ‘different metals’ getting used to make the sterling silver more durable and thus appropriate for jewellery making. It’s the ‘different metals’ that oxidize and trigger tarnishing of the sterling silver.


Rhodium is a member of the platinum group of metals and, as of Might 2011, prices over 50 instances as a lot as silver! It’s round seven instances more durable than silver however solely displays round 75% of incidental gentle in comparison with silver’s 95% and subsequently seems much less shiny. Silver might be given a superb plating of rhodium so as to add a level of scratch and tarnish resistance to an merchandise of jewellery, though at a monetary value given the excessive value of rhodium and the work concerned within the plating course of.

Professionals and Cons

Initially, the rhodium plated piece might seem considerably much less shiny than the equal plain silver piece because of the much less reflective nature of rhodium in comparison with silver. Nonetheless, until the plain silver piece is saved nicely polished, over time the anti-tarnish properties of the rhodium plating will make the plated piece seem shinier. Moreover, until you have been to put two related items side-by-side for comparability functions, one rhodium plated and the opposite not, it is uncertain that you’d discover that the plated piece was not fairly as shiny because it may very well be.

Generally, it is the case that it could be troublesome to wash the silver even should you needed to. Delicate silver filigree could make cleansing impractical and gem stones mounted inside the jewellery might be affected – even broken – by sure cleansing brokers. Rhodium plating the silver might be the best choice in these circumstances.

Though rhodium is a tough steel, the very thinness of the layer of plating (round one four-hundredth of the thickness of a human hair) implies that the diploma of scratch and abrasion resistance it gives is restricted (however however helpful). That thinness additionally implies that, even with simply regular carrying, the rhodium plating will ultimately put on off over a time frame leaving unpleasant patches on the jewellery’s floor. Jewellery might be re-plated however that is typically too costly for something aside from a most treasured piece. Moreover, if a rhodium plated piece of jewellery does change into scratched or abraded, it isn’t really easy to restore because the complete piece might have re-plating after the restore is finished.


So, is rhodium plating silver jewellery or unhealthy thought? Effectively, as regular, all of it relies upon. In the event you actually hate cleansing your jewellery, then rhodium plating could also be simply the factor you are on the lookout for. Nonetheless, be ready to throw the jewellery away as soon as the plating begins carrying off – or stand the price of having it re-plated. In the event you do not thoughts cleansing your jewellery, then you’ll have a shinier piece than may ever be achieved with rhodium plating and which, over time, will develop that lovely patina that’s distinctive to you. It appears that evidently there actually isn’t any such factor as a free lunch!