We‘d like to introduce you to one of the representatives of platinum metals – rhodium. It may not be known to many, but it is really valuable as it is one of the rarest noble metals on Earth. Rhodium is a chemical element marked with a symbol Rh and is the 45th on the periodic table of elements.
How was it discovered? The first link with this noble metal was established by a worldwide famous English scientist William Hyde Wollaston in 1803. He discovered a pink coloured powder in the platinum solution, and after rolling, the pink powder in the hydrogen environment became a heavy white coloured metal, which resembled aluminium on the outside. Due to its exceptional shade it received a name of ροδον, which means “rose” in Greek. 

Due to its high resistance to aggressive environments and high temperatures, rhodium is used in various branches of industry. Pieces of jewellery are coated with rhodium to make them more sparkly (white gold and platinum reflect about 60-65 % of light, and rhodium – 75-80 %) and scratch-resistant. Rhodium does not oxidise in air, it’s resistant to humid environments, the effects of acids, sulphur, chlorine, fluorine and other compounds. Because if its strength, it’s more durable than other metals. It’s much more resistant to corrosion and effects of temperature, compared to silver.

When reading the descriptions of jewel pieces, or maybe having heard claims from others, that the piece is plated with rhodium, you might have asked yourself, what is “rhodium plating”? It is the coating of the jewellery pieces with a thin layer of rhodium. How is it beneficial? This type of coating not only increases the outer look of the metals by giving them platinum shine, but also provides them with chemical and mechanical properties. Rhodium does not fade with time.

Since rhodium is a metal characterised by its white shine, the coating looks great on jewellery made from white gold or silver. Traditionally, in order to highlight the shine of the jewellery infix, the mounting areas for stones (for example of diamonds or sapphires) are plated with rhodium.  
If you’ve noticed different shades of rhodium, you should also know that the main component changing the colour of rhodium is salt solution.

 When owning a rhodium plated piece of jewellery, the most important thing is its care. Since rhodium plating is only a thin layer of coating, it cannot be scrubbed with abrasives or anything else at hand. One and the most important rule for jewellery pieces are care and cleaning with special preparations. They might include liquids or special wipes. If your piece is damaged, take to a professional if you wish for your jewellery to last as long as possible.