Does Rhodium Plating Wear Off Jewelry?

There are so many types and styles of jewelry to choose from; it can really help set your outfit apart. Plated jewelry is affordable, often hypoallergenic, and usually helps amplify the look of more common base metals. You might be more familiar with jewelry plated in gold or silver, but rhodium is also very popular. It creates a stunning finish over other less expensive metals, but you may be wondering if it will ever wear off. Well, we've researched and scoured the internet to find out all there is to know about Rhodium-plated jewelry and have some answers for you.

Rhodium plating does not last forever and will eventually wear off. The time it lasts will depend on how often the jewelry is worn and what kind of wear and tear it faces. 

So now you know that rhodium plating will wear off, but what exactly is it, and how long does it typically last? Will showering with it harm the jewelry, and are there ways to take care of it? Keep reading as we answer these and even more questions below.

Rhodium plated tassel earrings on a plain gray table, Does Rhodium Plating Wear Off Jewelry?

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What is Rhodium Plating?

Vintage rhodium bracelet on gray silk, metal is etched with very fine cross hatching

Before we delve into rhodium plating, you should know a few things about rhodium. Rhodium is a precious, valuable metal that is part of the platinum metals group. Rhodium plating began in the 1920s but became more popular for commercial jewelry in the 1930s, so it has been around for quite some time now. You might be wondering why you haven't seen a solid rhodium ring or necklace. Rhodium is rare and very expensive.

Not only that, jewelry cannot be made from this metal because it is too brittle. However, it can help make metals such as white gold or silver more durable. It not only has a functional use, but it also has an aesthetic appeal. It is used to make jewelry look nicer. It is shinier, brighter, and whiter looking than the metals it covers, so it is often used to make jewelry look more glamorous!

How Quickly Does Rhodium Plating Wear Off?

Rhodium plating will typically wear off within 3 to 12 months, depending on the amount of use your item of jewelry gets. If you wear a rhodium-plated ring or necklace every day, it will wear off much quicker than if it's an item you infrequently wear because of the constant rubbing of the jewelry against your skin. So though it might be tempting to want to show off a rhodium-plated ring every day, limiting its use will make it last much longer. You should definitely consider wearing it for special occasions only!

Rhodium-plated jewelry should be replated every twelve to eighteen months. You can contact a local jeweler about this to see what your options are, but keep in mind this might not be available through a small-time jeweler, and you may have to mail your item to a more commercial jewelry company.

Is Rhodium Plated Jewelry Safe To Wear?

Rhodium-plated jewelry is safe to wear. It is great for those who have metal allergies because it is hypoallergenic. However, it is often used to plate white-gold and white gold can contain nickel, so if you have nickel allergies keep this in mind. If the plating begins to wear off, you may start to notice a skin rash if the metal it is covering does include any allergy-inducing metals.

Because rhodium-plating is hypoallergenic, some people even get jewelry that is causing allergic reactions plated in rhodium to help with the problem.

Will Rhodium Plated Jewelry Turn My Skin Green?

Another plus side to rhodium-plated jewelry is that it will not turn your skin green. Your skin turning green is due to an oxidation process between your skin and the metals in your jewelry. If a ring turns your finger green, it probably includes copper. Other metals that might turn your skin a different color are silver and nickel. If your rhodium-plating becomes too worn, and you start to notice discoloration on your skin, it is because your base metal is made of, or includes, one of the three metals we just mentioned.

Can You Shower Wearing Rhodium Plated Jewelry?

Close up image of a shower head with water emanating from the nozzles

Hopping in the shower and realizing you haven't removed your jewelry can be frustrating, and unfortunately, it is not recommended that you shower with your rhodium plated jewelry on. When a jewelry piece is plated with a metal, it is a very thin layer, so constant submerging and submitting your pieces of jewelry to water will cause the plating to wear off even quicker.

On the other hand, if you shower once or twice with it on, it won't instantly ruin your item. Just try to remember to remove it in the future.

So you cant shower with rhodium plated jewelry, but can you shower with 18k gold? Check out "Can You Wear 18k Gold In The Shower?" for more information!

How Do You Care For Rhodium Plated Jewelry?

Woman cleaning a gold bracelet with mild soap

The first step to taking care of your rhodium-plated jewelry is to limit its use. Limiting the use of your jewelry will make it last longer.

If your rhodium plated jewelry needs cleaning, keep in mind that the plating is pretty sensitive. Avoid using harsh chemicals, standard jewelry cleaner, strong detergents, and brushes with abrasive bristles like toothbrushes. If you're unable to get into the crevices without a brush, make sure you use a brush with very soft bristles.

You can use mild soap and warm water to clean your jewelry, but do not leave it soaking in the detergent for longer than fifteen minutes. Ensure you thoroughly dry your jewelry with a microfiber or polishing cloth to stop any residual water from damaging the plating.

Click here to see Ivory Classic Scent Dishwashing Liquid on Amazon.

If you're planning on storing your rhodium plated jewelry with other items, consider wrapping your pieces individually in a cloth or tissue paper to prevent them from rubbing and getting tarnished by other pieces.

Click here to see jewelry tarnish prevention storage baggies on Amazon.

If your jewelry is significant to you, don't be afraid to consult an expert on your piece's best cleaning practices. Taking a few minutes to reach out and learn the proper way to clean your individual item can save you from a big headache and a lot of heartache from damaging your favorite jewelry with improper cleaning.

Things To Avoid

Avoid frequent washing, showering, or swimming while wearing any rhodium plated jewelry because continuous contact with water can tarnish the rhodium layer much more quickly.

Fragrances, perfumes, or lotions can also cause the plating to wear off quicker, so make sure to remove your jewelry before you apply them.

As we mentioned above, the rhodium plating is sensitive to chemicals, including those you might find around your home. You should avoid using any household cleaner, varnishes, and nail polish remover while wearing your jewelry.

Final Thoughts

Rhodium-plating is beautiful, hypoallergenic, and has been in the commercial jewelry market for a long time. Even though it will wear off and has a limited life span, your jewelry can be replated. Make sure to follow our tips above on how to care for your items, and keep in mind the things to avoid to really extend your pieces of jewelry's life, so you can enjoy them for as long as possible.

If you're wondering if your Pandora jewelry will tarnish, check out our other blog post, "Do Pandora Rings Rust Or Tarnish?"

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