You have probably already heard of rhodium-plated silver jewellery. But maybe you didn’t really know what it was all about. Rhodium plating involves applying a thin layer of rhodium to the surface of a piece of jewellery. Rhodium plating will protect the silver to protect your silver jewellery from oxidation. Most of the silver jewellery sold in France or the United States is rhodium-plated.
Why should you have your silver jewellery roasted?
Silver has one of the most important flaws: it blackens and tarnishes progressively over time. This phenomenon can take several years, months, days or even a few hours…impossible to determine beforehand.
Many people, however, do not know what causes this reaction of the material. Too often customers mistakenly think that the jeweller has sold them a poor quality silver jewel.
Don’t worry, this is not a sign of poor quality, but an intrinsic property of the chemical composition of silver.
The causes of tarnishing and blackening of silver :
- Silver blackens naturally on contact with oxygen in the air we breathe, humidity, sweat, especially when its PH is very acidic.
- Silver can also blacken on contact with cosmetics, hygiene and household products. Sometimes it is also caused by prolonged exposure of the jewellery in a dusty area.
The technique to avoid blackening: rhodium plating!
Rhodium plating is an antioxidant treatment which consists of depositing a thin layer of rhodium by electrolysis on a silver jewel. Rhodium plating will protect silver and white gold from the chemical agents responsible for its blackening, i.e. the sulphur compounds present in the air and on the skin. It also offers a second major advantage: it makes it possible to obtain jewellery with a rare brilliance and gives your old jewellery back its original shine and light!
What is rhodium?
Discovered in 1803, rhodium is a rare and noble metal from the platinum group. It is a rare metal that comes mainly from South Africa, the Urals (Russia) and Ontario. Around 20 tonnes are currently produced each year.
Extremely expensive (more expensive than gold), it is silvery-white in colour and, above all, very hard and stainless at room temperature. Moreover, it does not tarnish over time.
How long will this protection last?
It is important to know that although this process is remarkable, it is not eternal. The lifespan of this layer depends on its thickness and the care given to the jewel: 1 year, 2 years … sometimes a little longer. Indeed, friction and shocks are the main causes of its deterioration.
If you wish to keep your jewellery as you bought it, you will therefore need to regularly apply a new layer of rhodium (always accompanied by polishing beforehand to completely remove the old layer of rhodium).
What is the cost of rhodium plating?
As we have seen, rhodium is more expensive than gold. However, as the layer applied to the jewellery is thin, the extra cost is not astronomical.
At Dakaralliances, the rhodium plating of a silver ring will cost you around 5,000 FCFA. The price may be higher for bulky jewellery.
Finally, don’t forget that rhodium plating remains a choice. Certainly a silver jewel for example, will keep a new look without you having to maintain it, much longer than an untreated jewel. But you may also prefer to see your jewellery evolve over time.
hygiene or even cleaning. Sometimes it is the prolonged exposure of the jewel in a dusty area that is the cause.