Originally called as “poor man’s platinum”, white gold was invented for the first time after the First World War as the alternative to the more costly, platinum. This then set into motion Art Deco white jewelry craze of the period. Unlike platinum, white gold can be rhodium plated to make it appear whiter than it actually is. Rhodium is basically the silvery cum white precious metal that falls in the platinum group and is plated on white gold to offer it a whiter, shinier and cleaner look.
Indeed, rhodium is more costly than platinum. But as it is utilized as the transitional metal for plating white gold and other jewelry items, small amounts are utilized thereby making it an affordable option. The rhodium plating is a kind of finish which is used to white gold. It thus looks exactly like white gold and that too by investing a small amount. Even the reflective brilliance achieved is amazing on white gold and the rhodium plating helps to cover the real color of the metal underneath.
The rhodium plating on white gold can wear off in some time as well and the actual color of white gold may be visible. With the cheap white gold, you can see yellowish and creamy white color that is noticeable. But with palladium rich gold, you will not be able to recognize that rhodium has started to wear off because the color difference is not so evident.
Without rhodium plating, the white gold has subtle yellow tint as gold in its real form is yellow in color. The rhodium plating will be required to be applied again on the white gold in case you wish to have the color intact. The discoloration actually depends on the overall quality of white gold used and how fast you face loss of the metal color. The grade 1 white gold will require less of rhodium plating and in fact no re-plating. But on the other hand, grade 3 or 4 white gold might need frequent rhodium plate as real color will show through quickly in case of regular wear.
Rhodium plating white gold services are provided by some jewelers as they polish the jewelry items to remove all traces and scratches of old rhodium plate. It is crucial to remove all the old plating as it can give dull as well as patch look to the item. When the scratches and rhodium plating is removed with care, the item can be again polished to offer an excellent shine because rhodium is bright and will offer a polished finish to the white gold.
Also, when the polishing has been done, the jewelry can be immersed into electrolysis chemical cleaner in order to enhance the jewelry and remove all finger prints available. Finally, the rhodium plating can be added to the white gold jewelry to restore the bright appeal and shine of the jewelry pieces. In all, rhodium plating white gold jewelry is very common and popular these days. A large variety of these jewelry pieces is also available in the form of necklaces, earrings, rings, pedants, chains and a lot more.