Rhodium plated jewelry has a unique luster that makes us fall in love. It is elegant, sleek and goes great with both casual and formal wear. However, rhodium plated jewelry requires a little bit of maintenance to continue to be shiny and beautiful. In this article, you will discover not only how to clean jewelry, but also how to take care of your rhodium plated pieces. Read further to find out more.

What is rhodium?

Rhodium is a precious metal that can cost 25 times more than gold. It is part of the same family as platinum and has a silvery, highly reflective surface. One great thing about rhodium is that it doesn’t tarnish or corrode. However, on its own, rhodium is a very brittle metal that can crack or even break. This is why you won’t find rhodium jewelry on the market.

Jewelry makers use rhodium to plate jewelry because it has two big advantages – it helps jewelry gain a unique, beautiful luster and it enhances the durability of the metal underneath.

How many types of rhodium plated jewelry are there?

While there is no hard rule on how to use rhodium plating, jewelers usually plate silver or gold jewelry with rhodium. It is less common to find yellow gold jewelry plated with rhodium, but white gold usually has this type of plating.

Rhodium plated jewelry is especially beautiful, whether the metal underneath the plating is silver or white gold. But it is important to know which metal your jewelry features the most, as there can be different cleaning and maintenance methods for each metal.

Rhodium plated silver jewelry

Sterling silver jewelry can, sometimes, feature a rhodium plating. The layer of rhodium helps protect the jewelry and offers it a unique look. However, a common problem with rhodium plated jewelry is that the rhodium layer will, eventually, wear off.

In case you notice darker spots of your jewelry piece, it means that the plating has worn off. What you are seeing is the sterling silver metal underneath which has a slightly darker color than the rhodium plating. This is the moment when you take your piece to the jewelry shop for a replating.

Rhodium plated white gold jewelry

While sterling silver jewelry doesn’t have a rhodium plating very often, for white gold, this plating is quite common. Many white gold pieces contain this layer of rhodium simply because gold is a yellow metal. Yes, mixed with nickel and other metals its color changes to something similar to white. But it is actually the rhodium plating that gives white gold jewelry its unique color.

If you notice spots on your jewelry piece that have a slightly yellowish color or simply look dull, then it means the rhodium layer has worn off. Again, you need to take a trip to the jewelry shop and have your pieces replated.

How to clean rhodium plated jewelry

Whether we are talking about white gold or silver, rhodium plated jewelry requires a little bit of maintenance. You need a soft microfiber cloth and a bowl with lukewarm water. You can add a few drops of a mild detergent to the water, but stay away from harsh chemicals. Dip the cloth in the water and gently rub your jewelry piece. We don’t recommend using a jewelry brush as even its soft bristles can be too harsh and cause your rhodium plated jewelry to scratch or wear off.

After you are done cleaning the jewelry piece, make sure you rinse it using another lint-free cloth. When the piece is dry, store it in its separate compartment in the jewelry box.

What to avoid with rhodium plated jewelry

As we mentioned before, rhodium plated jewelry and harsh chemicals don’t go well together. This includes not only the detergents you use to clean it but also the perfumes and body lotions you use. Simple apply perfume or body lotion before putting on your rhodium plated jewelry and wait for a couple of moments.

Another thing you should avoid with rhodium plated jewelry is the polishing cloth. This type of cloth, which is great for your silver or gold jewelry, is a little bit abrasive. When you polish a rhodium plated piece, the cloth will accelerate the process that causes rhodium to wear off.

Last, but not least, ultrasonic cleaners are not safe for rhodium plated jewelry. The only valid method of cleaning it is manual, as we described above. And, in case you notice the rhodium wearing off, don’t wait too long until you get your piece to the jewelry shop.

If you want to find out more about rhodium plated jewelry or other precious metals, browse through our articles. To see Ana Luisa’s unique fine jewelry collections, visit our online jewelry shop. We promise you will fall in love with our creations.

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Ruxandra is a fashion blogger who teaches fashion stumped twenty to thirty somethings how to shop their jewelry boxes for polished new ensembles. Her work has been featured in Vogue, Fashionista, Nylon, and Refinery29.