As we write today’s post, rhodium is trading at $2,820 on the London Fix. And investors are buying 1 oz. rhodium bullion bars for up to $2,900.
But if you shop online, you will discover that rhodium-plated rings, earrings and chains are selling for $20.00 or less. That is not a typo – they really are selling for surprisingly low prices. What is going on? How can that be?
The answers to the following questions will provide the answers you need.
How Can Rhodium-Plated Jewelry Sell for So Little Money?
It’s because extremely thin layers of rhodium are used as a plating. A tiny amount of rhodium is enough to add a bright, shiny surface to a ring or another piece of jewelry.
Why Is Rhodium Used as a Plating?
Rhodium is used because it is bright, tarnish-resistant, and abrasion-resistant. It has a beautiful bright finish, not unlike platinum. And it retains all those properties, even when only a thin layer is applied to other metals. If a plating of rhodium is added to silver, for example, that silver becomes more scratch-resistant.
Is Rhodium Always Bright White in Color?
No, rhodium can be colored yellow or even black by adding chemicals and other metals.
What Metals Are Most Likely to Be Plated with Rhodium?
Rhodium can be plated onto gold, silver, platinum and base metals too. But most of the better quality rhodium-plated jewelry you will find is made of silver that has been given a thin plating of rhodium.
Can Rhodium Be Plated onto Existing Jewelry Items?
Yes, it can. If you own a piece of gold, silver or platinum jewelry, you can have a jeweler apply a thin plating of rhodium to it to improve its finish and abrasion-resistant qualities. Also, do-it-yourself rhodium-plating kits have recently become available; they can be used to apply a very thin layer of rhodium to other metals.
Is Rhodium Used to Make Printed Circuits and Electronic Components?
Generally, no. Even though rhodium conducts electricity well, it is no better at doing so than copper, which is far cheaper. So rhodium has not become widely used in the manufacturing of printed circuit boards and other electronic components.
Got Rhodium? Give Us a Call
We are happy to answer all kinds of questions about rhodium. If you have a bright, shiny piece of white-toned jewelry, for example, is it made of white gold, platinum, silver or rhodium? If you have a chunk of what appears to be rhodium, is it a solid piece, or an item that has been plated with rhodium? We can test your items and answer your questions.
Give us a call at 800-426-2344 and say, “I want to talk to you about rhodium.” We have the answers and we’re eager to speak with you.
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