Hopefully you were informed when you bought that gorgeous white gold ring that it won’t always look as white or as bright as the day you bought it. Your shiny white, brand new ring, is looking that sharp, because its final step of creation was to rhodium plate it.
In my blog post, Rhodium Plating; Like Coloring Your Hair, Only for Jewelry, I describe what rhodium is, a bit about plating, and have before and after rhodium plating pictures, to show you what a dowdy, white gold ring can look like, before and after plating.
Since you want to know the cost of rhodium plating your ring, I’ll give you that and dive into the why on rhodium pricing.
How Much to Rhodium Plate my Ring?
Rhodium plating your ring will cost between $45.00 and $65.00. This will included a thorough cleaning, polishing and hopefully your jeweler will check the tightness of your prongs while they are at it.
What Else is Rhodium Used For?
Rhodium is used as a catalyst. A catalyst is a substance used to alter chemical reaction, without being changed itself. It is used with other items in car’s catalytic converters, to eliminate nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide and/or hydrocarbon emissions from cars. Yay, science. These catalyst metals remove or neutralize targeted pollutants. For details on how it works, check out Platinum Group Metals in Catalytic Converters.
This isn’t its only benefit as a catalyst—it’s also used in many industries to alter chemical bonds. It’s corrosion resistant and very hard, in comparison to other metals.
Why is Rhodium so Expensive?
Because it is used in the automotive industry and we’re making more cars all the time, rhodium is in high demand. It’s actually one of the most expensive metals by weight. As of February 28th 2020, an ounce of rhodium will cost you $12,650.00. For an ounce! In comparison, an ounce of gold is $1590.00. Bit of a difference there.
There are many more gold mines than rhodium mines. Rhodium’s scarcity translates to about 1% of gold’s availability.
Your White Gold Ring Will Need Rhodium Plating as Part of it’s Maintenance Schedule
White gold starts its life as yellow gold and uses white alloy metals, to create the white gold look. It’s still a slightly yellow white, as compared to polished sterling silver. Enter rhodium plating. Problem solved. The only thing is, plating isn’t forever and needs touch ups. Especially for a daily wear ring. For your engagement ring have it done once a year, when you have your ring cleaned and checked over.
Do People Plate Their Platinum Rings?
I have clients with platinum, which dulls up easily, that choose rhodium plating to prolong the shiny look of their rings. Rhodium seems to give the added benefit of resisting scratching. I’m not saying you won’t scratch, but that it takes longer and the plating seems somewhat protective. I like that.
Your Personal Jeweler,