What is rhodium plating?
A thin layer of rhodium, a rare and silvery white metal that belongs to the platinum family, is added to rings and other jewellery items, which results is a mirror like shine which catches the eye. The adds a small amount of resilience to the surface of the ring but mainly produces a dazzling shine.
Eventually the rhodium coating will wear away, leaving the jewellery item with a dull look, or allowing the true colour to show through. Our professional goldsmith’s rhodium plate thousands of jewellery items every year and below is how we do it:
1. First visual inspection
When deciding to have your jewellery rhodium plated with us the first thing we do is carry out our first visual inspection. We look for defects that will cause the rhodium to not take correctly to the item.
We also look for other defects such as broken claws or loose / missing stones. If we find any damage, we let you know straight away as the item will need additional work carrying out.
Once the jewellery piece has been approved, we move onto the next step:
2. Surface preparation
The surface of the jewellery item is then prepared for the rhodium plating. We use several types of emery paper to rub the surface of the jewellery.
This process removes dents and scratches and prepares the surface for polishing
After the jewellery surface has been prepared, we move onto a 2 stage polish. Using our polishing machines we carry out an initial polish first. The initial polish removes emery marks.
Once this has been done, we carry out a second polish, which will remove finer dents and scratches.
The polishing will prepare the surface for rhodium plating.
4. First ultrasonic cleaning
Once the item has been polished, we then place it into our ultrasonic tank, for cleaning. The ultrasonic tank removes not only any dirt from the item but also excess polish.
5. Second visual inspection
Once the item has been ultrasonically cleaned, we then carry out a second inspection. We check again to make sure that there are no stones missing or loose.
When dirt builds up in a ring it can actually be responsible for holding stones in place. When they are cleaned, they can occasionally come out, which we check for during our 2nd visual inspection.
6. Rhodium plating
The jewellery item is now ready to have the rhodium applied. We place the item into a tank containing rhodium solution alongside an anode and cathode.
An electrical circuit is formed which causes the rhodium particles to be drawn to the item placed in the tank and attach.
At In-Time we offer a 6 month guarantee on our rhodium plating and we apply a thicker layer of rhodium than most other jewellers (0.5 microns).
7. Second ultrasonic cleaning
Once the rhodium has successfully been applied, we then carry out another ultrasonic clean. The second clean will remove any dirt particles and excess rhodium solution.
After the second ultrasonic clean we then proceed to dry the item. We place the jewellery piece in a heated container (which also contains wood, for moisture absorption).
8. Final Inspection
We then inspect the item to ensure it conforms to the In-Time standard. At this point we will check to ensure the rhodium has applied correctly and if we are not happy with the finish, we will place the item back into the solution.
9. Quality control and dispatch
Once our goldsmiths are happy with the results the item is then transferred to our admin team.
We will carry out one final check on the item before getting it ready for dispatch.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does the rhodium plating last?
Generally rhodium plating will last for a few months, before it starts to wear off. the following points will help the plating last longer:
- Don’t wear the jewellery item whilst swimming.
- Don’t wear the jewellery when using alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Don’t spray perfume directly onto the item.
How much do you charge for rhodium plating?
How often do I need to have my ring rhodium plated?
There is no set amount of time you need to wait between rhodium plating. Usually our customers ask for their items to be re-plated when the plating has worn off and the item is dull.
We frequently receive requests for rhodium plating before weddings, birthdays and other events.
How long will you have my item for?
At In-Time we always strive to offer the highest quality service with a quick turnaround time. The turnaround time for our rhodium plating service is normally 7 days (from receipt of them item). Please note this timescale can fluctuate depending on the quantity of work we have at the time.
Did you know we offer a fast-track service for just £10 extra. We will rhodium plate your item on the very same day we receive it!