Rhodium is a rare and valuable precious metal that makes an excellent coating for silver and white gold jewellery. It is harder than silver and provides a beautiful sheen, making it very attractive in pieces that feature stones or other embellishments. It also has the added benefit of being hypoallergenic, which is particularly important for people who have sensitivities to certain jewelry metal alloys like nickel.
Because of its price and relative rarity, pure rhodium rings are rarely available, but most jewelers offer a choice between solid rhodium and standard ring styles made in silver or white gold plated with rhodium. The latter is a good option for many people because it is more affordable and it still looks beautiful.
However, it is important to understand that rhodium plating will eventually wear off and you will need to have your piece re-plated. Typically this happens every 18 to 24 months, although it can be sooner or later depending on the level of wear and tear the piece sustains as well as your body chemistry.
You will know when your ring is ready to be re-plated because it will begin to look dull and discolored, exposing the original yellowish color of the base metal. This is especially noticeable on the underside of your ring because that’s where it comes into contact with everything you touch: door and drawer handles, pots and pans, sinks and tools, etc.
To re-plate your ring, you will have to bring it to your jeweler and they will remove the old layer and apply a fresh one, which takes about an hour or two. The price to do this is typically between $60 and $120, but it is an investment worth making if you’re going to keep your ring for a long time.