The process of plating is based on electricity transferred between two articles in a bath with suspended molecules. Rhodium plating is deposited at a micron level; it cannot fill in scratches or divots. The reason it costs so much to plate an item is not the precious metal deposited. The cost is the preparation to the article being plated. The preparation is labor-intensive and needs to be polished to perfection. That’s why it costs so much to rhodium plate an article of jewelry.
Rhodium is a hard, very white precious metal. The need for plating objects in the jewelry industry applies mostly in two circumstances. First, sterling jewelry, if not worn on a regular basis, will oxidize or tarnish. Rhodium plating will prevent tarnishing and better quality jewelry is almost always rhodium plated. The plating, however, will wear off if the article is worn on a regular basis.
Most white gold items generally are plated to look whiter. White gold by itself is off white, winter white, or vanilla white. There are 2 precious metals that don’t need to be plated and those are platinum and palladium. Naturally, they are very white with a slight grey hue.
White gold is an alloy, which means a mixture of metals. The alloy of 14k white gold is gold, nickel, silver, and zinc. All of these extra metals overcome gold (yellow metal) to make it appear white. There is no natural element of white gold; it is an alloy that looks white. Therefore white gold is often plated to look whiter. The plating on an engagement ring set worn on a regular basis typically lasts a year or two, depending on the activity of the owner.
At Jonathan’s Jewelers, we are able to rhodium plate jewelry for you, enhancing its look and overall longevity. Visit us today, call 603-471-2828, or complete this form to schedule this service!