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White gold jewelry has become more popular than ever due to its stunning silvery shine, superior strength, and affordability. Many people might assume that white gold is a naturally occurring metal, but this is a common misconception. White gold actually receives its lustrous finish from a coating called rhodium which needs to be maintained regularly. So how often does this rhodium last?

What is Rhodium?

Rhodium is a precious metal in the platinum family that is extremely shiny and particularly resistant to scratches. Jewelers have been using rhodium for its beautiful silvery-white finish since the 1930s. However, rhodium is very rare and can only be cultivated in small quantities as it is usually found within other mined ores and minerals. Due to its high demand and scarcity, rhodium is considered the world’s most expensive precious metal.  

How does Rhodium Plating work?

Jewelers use an electroplating procedure to bind liquid rhodium to the metal surface of a jewelry piece. Essentially, this process causes an electrical current to be passed through the metal which attracts a microscopic layer of rhodium to instantly bond over the original surface. Rhodium is most often used over gold alloys, but rhodium plating can also be applied to silver jewelry.

How often does Rhodium need to be re-plated?   

The frequency with which you will need to refinish your rhodium plating depends on what kind of jewelry it is and how often it is worn. Most jewelers recommend getting white gold jewelry like earrings, necklaces, or bracelets re-plated every 1-2 years. Jewelry pieces that are worn daily like rings, however, undergo quite a bit more wear and tear and should be coated more often, ideally every 3 months to a year. Overexposure to friction, certain chemicals like chlorine, and body oils can all cause rhodium plated jewelry to dull faster. You’ll know it’s time to refinish your plating when you notice the yellowish surface of the gold underneath showing through.

If you have white gold jewelry that is in need of a fresh coat of rhodium, be sure to visit the experts at Plateau Jewelers. Contact us today for more information.