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Why Should I Worry About Rhodium Plating?

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Rhodium Plating and White Gold

We are often surprised by how few people know about the purpose of rhodium plating. While many love the sleek crisp look of white gold, few realize how white gold gets to be that brilliant white color. It does NOT come out of the earth looking like that! Naturally, gold is a bright yellow color, and the purer the gold is (higher karats), the more yellow it is. That means 18k gold is going to look a lot more yellow and vibrant than 10k gold.

So what IS rhodium plating?

In order to create white gold, certain combinations of alloys such as silver, palladium, manganese, and/or nickel are mixed with the yellow gold to lessen the yellow hue. The resulting metal is still not the bright shiny metal most people are used to – it is rather dull in appearance and can have a slight hue to it still. Enter Rhodium! Rhodium is a strong, and rare, metal found in the platinum family. This metal is used to plate the entire white gold jewelry setting, which creates that brilliant white look.

How often do I need to have my ring rhodium plated?

Being plated, the rhodium is subject to wear. This happens faster with jewelry that is frequently worn or treated roughly, eventually wearing down to expose some of the dull colored white gold underneath. Generally, this happens at the back of the ring first, or places where the metal may make frequent contact with other materials, such as at the tops of the prongs. At some point, everyone will need to have their white gold wedding rings re-plated to recreate the brilliance they once had. For some, this happens much quicker than others, ranging from every 6 months to every few years (though there are always exceptions). Some people don’t mind the duller-looking white gold underneath and opt to wait longer in between each plating – or never get it plated again.

Please keep in mind that this maintenance is for ALL white gold, but only for white gold. You do not need to rhodium plate rose gold, since rose gold is simply yellow gold mixed with copper, nor do you need to plate platinum, as platinum is a white metal to begin with.

Since our unique engagement rings require special care and should be removed before engaging in physical labor, the rhodium plating will be protected for longer. If you have purchased a white gold ring from us and feel that it should be re-plated, please contact us so that we can help you.

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