What's rhodium plating?
What's rhodium plating?
Rhodium plating is like the cherry on top of a decadent sundae - it adds a glossy, dazzling shine to precious metals. It's perfect for giving jewelry and other metal objects an extra eye-catching sparkle that lasts and lasts. And, with its unparalleled resistance to corrosion and tarnish, rhodium plating is sure to keep your prized possessions looking their best for years to come.

But what exactly is rhodium plating? Let's take a closer look...


Rhodium plating is a process of applying an extremely thin coating of pure rhodium, one of the rarest and most valuable precious metals on earth, to jewelry or other metal objects through an electroplating process.

The electroplating process involves a plater soaking a base metal (usually sterling silver, brass, or platinum jewelry) in an electrolytic solution. First, the jewelry undergoes distilled water, steam cleaning, or electro-cleaning before the plater dips it into a rhodium solution. An electric current is then passed through the solution to deposit a thin layer of rhodium (metal ions) onto the surface of the jewelry.

Rhodium plating features an incredibly thin layer of the precious metal rhodium, usually not thicker than 1/1000 of an inch. Despite its incredibly thin nature, the rhodium layer offers protection against wear and tear and corrosion that can otherwise damage jewelry pieces over time.

Rhodium plating helps protect the base metal from corrosion and wear-and-tear from environmental factors such as chemicals or moisture. It does this by acting as a barrier between the underlying metal and the external elements. As a noble metal from the Platinum Group, rhodium is highly resistant to oxidation, making it an ideal choice for protecting jewelry and other metal objects.

In addition to its protectant qualities, rhodium plating is a vibrant silvery white, which gives jewelry a brilliant shine that's often brighter and shinier (thanks to rhodium's highly reflective properties) than the underlying metal.


The rhodium plating thickness is usually between 0.8 and one micron thick, depending on the manufacturer. This is important to know because the rhodium plating thickness will determine how long it lasts and how much protection it provides. A thicker rhodium plating will last longer, while a thinner layer of rhodium will need replacing more frequently.

Rhodium plating will eventually wear off over time due to contact with everyday elements such as air, water, and chemicals. The more frequently a piece of jewelry is worn, handled, or exposed to the elements, the faster the rhodium plating will degrade.

The amount of wear and tear on a piece of jewelry also depends on the quality of the plating. An inferior job of rhodium plating will wear out much more quickly, while a higher-quality job should last for years with regular maintenance and care. Generally, a thicker plating of rhodium can last up to two years before needing replacement.


Rhodium plating does not harm diamonds and most gemstones, but some types of gemstones cannot withstand rhodium plating. The plater can damage softer gemstones such as peridot, pearls, opals, topaz, turquoise, and coral and treated or heavily included rubies and emeralds during the plating process.


The short answer is no - rhodium plating should only be used when needed. Rhodium plating adds a distinct shine to jewelry, and its main purpose is to protect the underlying metal from corrosion and scratching. However, because a rhodium dip is expensive, it's wise to reserve it for pieces that need extra protection or to spruce up some of your favorite jewelry.

In addition, every time you rhodium plate your jewelry; your pieces will undergo a new cleaning and polishing process, which files down the metal, making your jewelry thinner and less valuable.


Rhodium plating offers numerous benefits over traditional sterling silver and yellow gold pieces.

  1. Rhodium plating provides a barrier of protection that prevents oxidation, scratches, and dents due to its hard nature. Rhodium plating is much harder than the softer metal that is used as the base metal, so it helps protect the base from damage. Rhodium also has strong corrosion resistance properties, making it ideal for protecting delicate jewelry pieces.
  2. Because rhodium plating does not tarnish easily, you can enjoy your jewelry longer without worrying about the finish's discoloring or dulling. This is because rhodium is a noble metal, meaning it is not easily affected by air or water.
  3. The rhodium plating process creates an eye-catching luster that helps brighten any jewelry piece. Its gleaming finish can help make your favorite pieces more glamorous and luxurious.
  4. It is also hypoallergenic, so you don't have to worry about skin reacting due to copper or nickel content in jewelry, making the jewelry safe to wear (even if you have nickel allergies). The plating wears with time, so make sure to have a re-plating done every few years.
  5. You can rhodium plate all types of base metals such as sterling silver, yellow gold, white gold, etc.
  6. Rhodium is available in multiple colors, such as black rhodium plating, white rhodium plating, and pink rhodium plating.


  1. Rhodium jewelry is quite rare because rhodium is an expensive, precious metal, so jewelers only use trace amounts of rhodium for plating. This means rhodium plating is usually a thin layer, less durable than thicker plating.
  2. Rhodium plating wears off over time and will need to be re-plated every few years. This depends on how often you wear your plated jewelry. Rings will generally need replating more regularly than earrings or pendants that receive less contact. Also, the wearer's body chemistry can affect the rhodium's or other metals' wearing rate.
  3. A thick layer of rhodium will make your rhodium-plated jewelry look more like platinum. This may or may not be appealing to you.
  4. The shine on jewelry plated in rhodium may not be as long-lasting as jewelry created with a pure metal (for example, rhodium jewelry).


This is a common question for anyone considering buying jewelry plated with rhodium. The cost of the rhodium plating will depend on the type and quantity of items you need to be plated and the quality of the finish you require. Generally speaking, the cost can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars. To get the most accurate estimate of your rhodium plating costs, we recommend contacting a professional plating facility for a quote. That way, you can be sure you're getting the best possible deal on your rhodium plating! In general, rhodium is a very costly metal since it is from the platinum family of metals. Hence, rhodium-plated jewelry is more costly than unplated pieces.


To make your rhodium-plated jewelry last longer:

  1. Avoid contact with harsh chemicals or abrasive surfaces, as this can strip the plating.
  2. Remove your rhodium-plated jewelry before swimming or showering, as chlorine, salt water, and other agents can dull the plating over time.
  3. Avoid excessive heat and extreme temperatures, as this can cause the plating to become brittle and crack.
  4. Clean your jewelry regularly with a clean, soft cloth to prevent any dirt or oils from settling into the crevices.
  5. Store your jewelry separately in a cool, dry place so that it doesn't get scratched or tangled up while not in use.


Knowing the 411 on rhodium plating can help you make an informed decision if it is the right choice for your jewelry. Whether you choose to rhodium plate or not, we hope that after reading this article, you have a better understanding of rhodium plating and its benefits and disadvantages. We wish you luck in finding the perfect jewelry pieces for your collection! Happy shopping!