Rhodium-plated vs. Gold Plated | All you need to know

rhodium plated vs gold plated jewelry

Choosing products for your jewelry brand isn’t always easy. If you’re a newcomer to the industry, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the different specifications for jewelry. Plating determines the finish and lifespan of your jewelry.

We’re deep-diving into the different types of plating that you can choose from for your jewelry. This guide focuses on the two most popular jewelry plating choices: rhodium and gold. You want to find a jewelry manufacturer who can help you find the right plating for your price point and customers.

rhodium plated jewelry

What is Rhodium Plated Jewelry?

Rhodium-plated jewelry has a distinctive silvery-white appearance and uses a hard metal that is typically found in platinum ores. Rhodium in its natural state is too hard to work with as a solid.

Instead, rhodium is used as an alloy used to produce platinum to make it more durable. This noble metal is a popular choice for jewelry plating as it adds a natural shine and is more durable than most other metals. You’ll typically find rhodium plating added to silver jewelry, deepening its grey color to create an ideal setting for stones like cubic zirconia.

Rhodium is considered one of the most precious metals and is rarer than gold. It has a bright silvery-white finish that adds a reflective shine to your jewelry for a more expensive-looking appearance. Most brands choose to add rhodium plating to silver jewelry for extra protection and added brightness.

Why You Should Use Rhodium Plated Jewelry

The durability of rhodium is why it’s one of the most popular choices for jewelry plating. Its high-shine finish is also used for lighting fixtures, mirrors, and even automobiles. Adding rhodium plating to your jewelry can help add a luster to its finish and make it more resilient. 

Rhodium plating is commonly used for jewelry that is intended to be worn every day. This metal finish gives you the peace of mind that you can enjoy your jewelry without worrying about it cording or scratching with wear.

Most jewelry manufacturers in Thailand choose to use rhodium plating as its hypoallergic and doesn’t contain nickel. If you’re an independent jewelry brand, you want to have rhodium plating in your store as an option for sensitive skin.

As its nickel-free, rhodium plating is typically used for silver earrings to prevent skin irritation. If you’ve ever experienced jewelry leaving behind green marks on your skin, it’s a sign of a skin allergy, and you should switch to rhodium plating.

How Long Does Rhodium Plating Last?

Rhodium plating is nickel-free and corrosion-resistant, meaning it won’t tarnish or start to rust over time. Most rhodium plating will last for a year with regular wear before needing to be re-plated. It’s difficult to estimate how long rhodium plating lasts as it depends on how often it’s worn and the friction on the metal plating. If you only wear your rhodium plating jewelry on rare occasions, it can last for years.

Generally, rings made with rhodium plating will have a shorter lifespan than rhodium plated necklaces due to the difference in friction.

You can help improve the lifespan of your rhodium-plated jewelry by regularly cleaning it. Using a damp cloth is the best way to clean your rhodium jewelry, and you want to avoid using chemicals or soap.

gold plated jewelry

What is Gold Plated Jewelry?

Gold-plated jewelry is when a thin layer of gold is placed on silver jewelry using electrochemical or chemical plating. The most important thing to look for when considering gold plating is the thickness of the plating. Gold plating has been used since 1805, when Luigi Brugnatelli invented the method of applying a thin coat of gold on top of a silver base.

The gold plating is added to the jewelry using an economical metal that contains a gold chemical solution with an electric current that attracts the gold onto the jewelry metal. Jewelry brands typically choose to use gold plating to give the appearance of solid gold at a more attainable price point.

Jewelry that is worn in high friction areas – like rings – should typically have a higher gold plating to help it maintain its condition with regular wear. For jewelry to be classified as being ‘gold plated’, the gold layer has to be at least 0.5 microns.

Why You Should Use Gold Plated Jewelry

If you want the look of gold jewelry without the price tag, choose gold plating. It’s virtually impossible to tell the difference to the naked eye.

Gold plating can be used on various jewelry types, from nickel to stainless steel and copper. Although only a small amount of gold is used in the plating process, it is still solid gold. You’ll typically find gold plating ranging from 10k to 24k gold.

The difference you’ll notice between different gold plating grades is the color they produce. As the gold plating goes higher in quality, the color it produces will appear closer to a true gold shade.

How Long Does Gold Plated Jewelry Last?

You can help maintain the condition of your gold-plated jewelry by using warm water and gently cleaning with a mild soap. Over time, gold-plated jewelry will lose its luster and start to tarnish. It’s the base mental and not the gold plating that leads to its tarnishing. Although gold plated is intended to be permanent, it depends on the

Rhodium vs. Gold Plated Jewelry

The main difference you’ll notice between rhodium and gold plating is their color. Rhodium is a silver color with cool undertones, while gold has warmer undertones. While you can make jewelry exclusively from gold, you can only utilize rhodium as a plating.

We recommend choosing rhodium plating if you’re focusing on children’s jewelry, as it’s more durable and ideal for sensitive skin. Gold plating is ideal for jewelry that you want to market as an everyday style. Most jewelry brands will choose to offer a mixture of rhodium and gold-plated jewelry.

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