What is Rhodium Plating
In the image you can see streaks of silver motifs -this is an example Rhodium plating on the 22ct gold.
Rhodium plating look exactly the same on the cheapest and most expensive of rings, as you are seeing the reflective brilliance brilliant white colour of the rhodium plating and not the true colour of the metal below. In time the rhodium plating will wear off and the true colour of the metal will be visible. With cheap white gold this will be seen as a yellowish creamy white colour which will be very noticeable. With palladium rich white gold you may not even be aware that the rhodium is starting to wear as the colour difference underneath will not be as evident.
Rhodium plating will need to be reapplied on to white gold if you wish to maintain the colour, how frequent depends on the quality of the white gold and how quickly you experience a loss of colour. Grade 1 white gold will need less rhodium plating and sometimes does not need to be reapplied at all. Grade 3 or 4 white gold will need frequent rhodium plating as the true colour will show through quite quickly in normal wear.
A typical price for rhodium plating on a ring would be around £15.00 to £50.00 depending on the size, which involves polishing off any remaining rhodium and polishing out all of the scratches and then reapplying a new coat of rhodium plating. One downside of rhodium plating too often is that it does prematurely wear your ring away. Every time your ring is polished a tiny layer of gold is removed in order to remove all the scratches. Although the amount of metal removed is negligible if you are doing this every 3 -6 months then this can add up over time and cause unnecessary wear to your ring.
Palladium rich white gold is by far the best colour of white gold available at this time. It does however carry a premium and will be more expensive than cheaper alloyed white gold and is also more expensive than yellow gold which doesn’t have such an expensive alloy added.
The increased cost of palladium rich white gold is offset by less frequent rhodium plating and thus less un-necessary polishing, but more importantly customer satisfaction is greatly increased as you will not suffer the same level of discolouration experienced with cheaper alloys.
We would always advise with items of white gold jewellery that are in constant use that you ask the sales person to confirm that the article is either "palladium rich" or is made from "Grade 1 Alloys" If they are unable to confirm this then we would assume that they are below grade 1.