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Are you curious about rhodium? Here are some frequently asked questions that will help you learn more about this beautiful, high-gloss metal!

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What is Rhodium?

Pure rhodium is a rare, silvery-white, hard, corrosion-resistant, and chemically inert transition metal. Rhodium is a valuable precious metal used in jewelry, watches, and other luxury items.

Rhodium vs. Gold Price:

Rhodium and gold are both valuable metals with a long history of use. They're also both used in jewelry, although gold is far more common.

So which metal is more expensive?

The answer may surprise you: The rhodium price is actually much higher than gold. In fact, it's one of the most expensive metals in the world. The current rhodium price is five times more costly than gold.

Rhodium buyers prefer this metal to gold because it is highly reflective and does not tarnish or corrode. Rhodium buyers also prefer this metal because it is long-lasting and stronger than gold.

Is Rhodium Platinum?

Platinum and rhodium are not the same metal. With that said, platinum and rhodium are similar and often used as protective coats for jewelry. Rhodium colour is silver-white, and platinum is grayish-white.

The confusion between Rhodium and platinum stems from rhodium metal belonging to the Platinum Group of Metals (PGM), including platinum, palladium, rhodium, iridium, osmium, and ruthenium. Rhodium and platinum are also often used interchangeably because they are both silvery-white in color and have a high reflectance surface.

Rhodium is the rarest and most expensive of all the metals in the group; platinum is the second most expensive metal. 

How Abundant is Rhodium?

Rhodium is the rarest and most precious metal on earth, with an estimated global production of only 32 metric tons per year. In comparison, the annual production of gold is approximately 2,500 metric tons. Rhodium's rarity and high melting point make it difficult to work with, contributing to its high cost. Rhodium is currently 5x more expensive than gold; only diamonds cost more.

What Does Rhodium Look Like?

Rhodium metal is a silver-white tone that is very metallic and has a high reflectance—rhodium colour plates white gold jewelry to give it a brighter, whiter shine. 

Where Do you Find Rhodium?

Rhodium is one of the rarest precious metals, and it’s the rarest of the six PGMs (including platinum, palladium, osmium, iridium, and ruthenium). Rhodium mining is a complicated and expensive procedure. The ores usually contain mixed metals, including platinum, gold, silver, and palladium. There are very few rhodium-bearing minerals in rhodium mines, so extracting the metal is quite costly. These mining costs lead to the high price of rhodium.

How is Rhodium Extracted From Rhodium Mines?

In rhodium mining, the process for extracting rhodium is called solvent extraction. In this process, the ores are first crushed and milled, and then they’re treated with a hot solution of caustic soda and cyanide. This solution separates the rhodium from the other metals in the ore. Rhodium refining is complicated, and large mining companies typically do it.

Most rhodium—over 80% of the global supply—is found by rhodium miners in South Africa, but it’s also mined to a much lesser extent in Russia, Canada, Zimbabwe, and in even smaller amounts elsewhere. Rhodium miners generally don’t mine for rhodium specifically but rather as a by-product of platinum or nickel mining.

Why is Rhodium so Expensive?

Rhodium value is so high because it’s rare and it has a wide range of uses. However, it’s also difficult to extract from rhodium mines. The price of rhodium can be pretty volatile because it’s a precious metal with a limited supply.

The rhodium market price fluctuates daily, depending on global economic conditions and the demand for rhodium precious metal materials from different industries.

How Heavy is Rhodium?

Rhodium density is high, and just a small piece of it weighs quite a bit. In fact, rhodium density is so intense that if you had one cubic meter of it, it would weigh about 12.41 grams.

What is Rhodium Used For in Jewelry?

Using pure rhodium for jewelry is unusual as most rhodium pieces are alloyed. Using pure rhodium for jewelry is so uncommon because it is very costly and hard to manipulate as a jewelry metal.

Instead, white gold and silver plated with rhodium is common. Rhodium has a variety of uses, but the most common use is as an alloying agent for other metals. Rhodium improves the strength and hardness of other metals and increases their resistance to wear and tear. A rhodium finish also gives metals a high polish, so white gold and silver plated with rhodium are popular options.

How Much Does Rhodium Plating Cost?

The price of rhodium plating depends on the plating thickness and the size of pieces to be dipped in rhodium. Rhodium value also varies depending on the geographical location and the current market conditions that create the current rhodium price today.

The rhodium price today per gram is around $588, meaning that it would cost about $588 to plate a piece of jewelry with a thick layer of rhodium. In contrast, the price of rhodium plating jewelry is affordable since a thin layer coats the jewelry. The current rhodium dipping cost can range from $20 to $200 for most jewelry pieces.The rhodium dipping cost rises depending on how large the piece is.

How Long Does Rhodium Plating Last?

Rhodium dipping a jewelry piece can last for many years, but it will eventually wear off. The lifespan of a rhodium finish depends on how often the jewelry is worn and how well it’s cared for.

In general, you should do a rhodium plating every 2 years. It would be best if you also stored rhodium-plated jewelry in a cool, dry place away from sunlight to prevent fading and tarnishing.

How Do You Care for Rhodium-Plated Jewelry?

Dipping jewelry in rhodium is an expensive process, and so you must try to preserve it.

To extend the lifespan of your rhodium plating, you must take the proper steps, such as storing rhodium-plated jewelry in a cool, dry place. It’s also important to avoid contact with chemicals and cleaners, as they can strip the rhodium coating. When cleaning rhodium-plated jewelry, it’s best to use a mild, all-natural soap and water solution.

How to Clean Rhodium Jewelry?

Cleaning rhodium is fairly simple. You will need a mild soap and water solution and a soft cloth.

The Cleaning Process:

Start by mixing a small amount of mild soap with warm water. Dip the soft cloth into the soapy water and gently scrub the jewelry piece. Rinse the jewelry under warm water to remove any soap residue. Dry the jewelry piece with a soft, clean cloth.

If you need to remove stubborn dirt or debris, you can use a soft toothbrush dipped in the soapy water solution. Gently scrub the jewelry piece with a toothbrush and then rinse under warm, clean water. Dry the jewelry piece with a soft cotton cloth.

You should avoid using harsh chemicals or cleaners on rhodium-plated jewelry, as they can strip the coating. This means that the process of dipping jewelry in rhodium needs redoing.

Can Rhodium Rings be Resized?

Yes, resizing rhodium rings is fairly simple, but it’s best to search for the best professional metalsmith to do this for you. Rhodium is a precious metal, and it’s important to avoid damaging the rhodium or rhodium-plated rings during the resize process.

Rhodium-plated rings require replating after resizing because the fire from the soldering torch can strip away the rhodium coating.

Why Rhodium Plate White Gold?

Rhodium-plated white gold jewelry has a brighter, whiter color because rhodium is a very white metal. Rhodium is also very hard, and it gives the jewelry a high polish.

Rhodium-plated white gold also protects the underlying metal from wear and tear. White gold with rhodium plating is very strong, and it acts as a barrier against scratches, dings, and other damage.

Is All White Gold Rhodium Plated?

No, rhodium plating for white gold is not always an option. Rhodium is costly, so rhodium plating for white gold is not always used. In some cases, other less expensive metals are used to coat white gold.

White gold with rhodium plating is more expensive than white gold without a rhodium dipping. The price of rhodium can fluctuate, so the cost of plating white gold can also fluctuate.

In general, rhodium dipping jewelry is the best option. Rhodium dipping jewelry gives it a brighter, whiter color. Rhodium is also very hard, and it provides the jewelry with a high polish. Plating white gold also makes it stronger and scratch-resistant.

Is Rhodium a Good Investment? 

Rhodium is a good investment because it’s rare, has a variety of uses, and its products have a high value. Rhodium is also a good investment because it’s a precious metal, and precious metals tend to hold their value well over time.

The rhodium market price fluctuates daily, depending on global economic conditions and the demand for rhodium metal from different industries. The cost of rhodium has been on the rise in recent years due to increasing demand and short supply.

How Much is Rhodium Per Ounce?

The price of rhodium today is trading at over $11,000 per troy ounce on the London Fix. That is not a typo; the price of rhodium is trading at over $11,000.

What is Rhodium Used for?

Rhodium Usage:

Rhodium has a variety of uses, the most common being in jewelry. Rhodium is used as an alloying agent to improve the strength and hardness of other metals, and increases their resistance to wear and tear. Rhodium gives metals a high polish, so it's popular as a coating for silver and white gold jewelry.

Rhodium usage also includes several industrial applications. For example, rhodium is used to produce steel and stainless steel and is also used to produce glass and ceramics.

Is Rhodium Waterproof?

Pure rhodium is a precious metal used in jewelry, and it is waterproof. Pure rhodium is not soluble in water, so it will not tarnish or rust when exposed to water.

With that said, alloyed rhodium is not waterproof as the different alloys can corrode when exposed to water. For example, white gold jewelry plated with rhodium can tarnish over time when exposed to water.

Can you Wear Rhodium Plated Jewelry in the Shower?

It is not advisable as the chemicals in the water can cause the rhodium to tarnish. In addition, if the rhodium plate on your jewelry is very thin, the underlying metal can also tarnish.

Removing all jewelry, including rhodium-plated jewelry, is best before showering or swimming. Chlorine, in particular, can be damaging to a rhodium-plated finish.

Which is Better Rhodium Plated or Sterling Silver?

Rhodium-plated jewelry is more expensive than sterling silver, but it is also more durable. A rhodium dip gives jewelry a high polish and protects the underlying metal from wear and tear.

Sterling silver is a softer metal, so it is more susceptible to scratches and dings. Sterling silver will also tarnish over time, whereas a rhodium-plated finish will not.

What is the Difference between Rhodium and Sterling Silver?

Rhodium vs. Sterling Silver:

Rhodium is a precious metal used in jewelry, and sterling silver is an alloy of silver used in jewelry. Rhodium electroplate jewelry is much more expensive than sterling silver and is harder and more durable than sterling silver.

What is Rhodium Plated Sterling Silver?

Rhodium-plated sterling silver is sterling silver coated with a thin layer of rhodium. The rhodium plating on sterling silver gives it a high polish and prevents the underlying metal from wear and tear.

Rhodium plating on sterling silver also makes it more resistant to tarnishing. However, the rhodium dip will eventually wear off over time, and the sterling silver will need replating with a fresh rhodium coating.

Does Rhodium Over Sterling Silver Tarnish?

Rhodium on silver plating helps to protect the underlying metal from tarnishing. However, the rhodium plate can wear off over time, and the sterling silver underneath can become tarnished. Rhodium on silver is not a permanent solution to preventing tarnish and will eventually need a fresh coat every 2 years.

To help prevent sterling silver from tarnishing, it is best to store rhodium-plated jewelry in a cool, dry place. Rhodium-plated sterling silver should also be stored in an airtight container. It is also good to avoid exposing rhodium-plated sterling silver to water, chemicals, or cosmetics.

How Long Does Rhodium-Plated Sterling Silver Last?

Rhodium-plated sterling silver is a great option if you're looking for something that will last. Rhodium is one of the most durable metals, so your jewelry will stay shining and new-looking for a long time. How long? Well, that depends on how often you wear it and how well you take care of it. But rest assured, with proper care, rhodium-plated sterling silver will last for many years.

Is Rhodium Plated Jewelry Good?

Rhodium-plated jewelry is good because it is more durable than most base metals like sterling silver. Rhodium is also harder and more resistant to scratches. In addition, rhodium electroplate jewelry does not tarnish as sterling silver does.

What is Rhodium Silver?

Rhodium silver is an alloy of silver used in jewelry. Rhodium silver is more expensive than sterling silver and is harder and more durable. Rhodium silver does not tarnish like sterling silver.

What is Black Rhodium?

Black Rhodium is a black-colored alloy of rhodium used in jewelry and as a coating for other metals. Also, black rhodium is a component in several industrial applications, including the production of glass and ceramics.

Does Black Rhodium Tarnish?

Pure rhodium is a hard, valuable metal that does not tarnish and is highly durable. Rhodium is found in its natural form and has a lovely silvery color used in the jewelry industry to make other metals such as silver and white gold more appealing.

Black rhodium, on the other hand, is a manufactured metal. It's a proprietary alloy with rhodium and other metals to get the gunmetal look. Because it's a closely guarded industry secret, determining what goes into the mixture to darken the metal is difficult. Still, some possible contributors include ruthenium, tin sulfate, tellurium oxide, and arsenic trioxide. This alloy mixture means that black rhodium does tarnish because of the alloyed metal mixture.

Black rhodium plating is also popular. The plating process involves taking a thin sheet of rhodium and electroplating it onto another metal. Black rhodium plating gives the jewelry a different look and protects the other metal from scratches or wear and tear. This black rhodium plate will tarnish over time because it is not pure rhodium; hence, you should refresh a black rhodium plate every 2 years.

Can You Recycle Rhodium?

Rhodium is a precious metal used in various applications, from jewelry to electronics. While it is very durable, it is also very rare, making it quite valuable

The short answer is yes; you can recycle rhodium scrap. However, the process is quite complicated and expensive, so it is not common. Rhodium recycling usually only happens when the metal is in high demand and the price is right.

If you have rhodium scrap that you want to recycle, the best thing to do is contact a specialist company that deals with rare metals.

Wrapping Up

Rhodium is a beautiful, durable metal that is perfect for jewelry. Rhodium does not tarnish and is highly resistant to scratches. If you have rhodium-plated jewelry, be sure to store it in a cool, dry place and avoid exposing it to water, chemicals, or cosmetics.

If you have any other questions, please feel free to contact us!