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What is Rhodium on White Gold for?

Rhodium is a common part of white gold that many people do not learn about until they need to have it reapplied to their jewelry. Most commonly their rings. Thu rhodium has more uses than just on white gold rings. Below are some of the questions we hear asked most often, and what we tell customers who come in and ask about it.

What is rhodium?

One of the rarest elements on Earth. Rhodium costs about eight times as much as gold. It is added as a coating on  outer most layer of gold on white gold jewelry to give it a whiter appearance. It is sometimes used with silver to protect it against tarnishing. With use the coating of rhodium will wear off.

rhodium element white gold
How can I tell my ring needs it?

Your original rhodium plating will wear off. Since gold is yellow your white gold ring with start to look more yellow than it did before. It won’t shine in the same way. When you compare it to a newer white gold piece, something that doesn’t get as much wear your white gold will stand out as needing to be re-rhodiumed.

Does my ring need to be re-rhodiumed?

It never NEEDS to be re-rhodiumed. Re-rhodium will help your ring to look like new, how it did on your wedding day. Over time wearing your ring rubs off the rhodium. It needs to be reapplied to keep your white gold looking white. But this is also a personal choice, you can always opt to not have your ring re-rhodiumed, it doesn’t damage your ring either way. If you bought your ring at Diny’s we will reapply rhodium at no charge to you. Most jewelers will do this if your ring is from them at no charge.

How often do I need to have this done?

That can depend a lot on how you treat your jewelry, and which alloy composition was used in creating your jewelry. Some jewelry looks more yellow than others. That makes the rhodium that is missing noticeable sooner. We find that there is no way to predict when your ring will need to be re-rhodiumed. At Diny’s Jewelers we’ve seen as few as 3 months and as long as six years before a client feels their ring needs to be rhodiumed.

It’s also common to decide against re-rhodium on your ring, because the wearer has a high quality white gold composition so it is much whiter, and they don’t mind the look of their gold without the rhodium.

Some people also make it a habit to get their ring re-rhodiumed once a year, so that it always looks the way they want.

But my ring has engraving, and special designs…can it still be re-rhodiumed?

YES! Intricate designs and engraving are not an issue. It’s going to stick to what is already there in a fine layer of rhodium. No need to worry your engraving or designs will disappear form this repair.

How is it done?

It is done through a process known as electroplating. Which puts on a new layer of rhodium and returns the whiteness of your jewelry that has worn off with use since you first bought it. To properly electroplate we have to clean and high polish your jewelry. Then reapply your original surface finish to refinish your jewelry to have it’s like new appearance.  Then it gets submerged repeatedly in the electroplating machine and rhodium. It is then set up to dry and regain that beautiful appearance that you want.

Is there anything I can do so that my ring won’t need this done, or not as often?

If you have white gold there is nothing you can do to prevent the rhodium wearing off, other than not wearing it. But what fun is beautiful jewelry if it is sitting in a box?  You could always upgrade to platinum, it is the only truly white metal, and what white gold was made to mimic.

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