18ct Gold with and without Rhodium.
Showing two twist ring mounts, prior to setting the diamond. (Left) with the Rhodium plating, (right) without. This is the true metal colour of 18ct White Gold.
The difference in colour between 18ct White Gold with and without Rhodium plating
Whether you were aware or not, 18ct White Gold is not a completely white metal. Most alloys are slightly off-white owing to the 75% concentration of Gold within the metal. Once the ring mount has been set with stones, and polished, the Rhodium Plating is applied by electrolysis. This results in a very white, coating which provides 18ct White Gold with the finished appearance. But why is Rhodium plated 18ct White Gold so popular?
Why choose a Rhodium Plated engagement ring?
The following are four notes well worth noting here.
1. Rhodium forms a protective barrier. An ultra-hard outer layer of metal protecting both the ring metal itself, generally more resistant to scratches than Platinum.
2. The bright whiteness of the Rhodium complements the whiteness of the diamond.
3. The main area of wear on the ring is typically below the finger. Where a discoloured worn away area reveals itself with time, this is hardly visible. Do not mistake Rhodium wear with tarnishing, which many people do.
4. The cost to re-finish (ie. clean, polish and Rhodium plate) the ring will likely be equivalent to re-polishing a Platinum ring, and a minor cost at that.
Is Platinum better than Rhodium Plated Gold?
Platinum certainly does have its advantages. Many buyers favour Platinum due to its natural silver-grey colour. When you view a Platinum ring, you are looking at the true colour of the polished metal. Unlike 18ct White Gold, there is no plating applied to Platinum. Don’t get confused with Platinum plating, often applied to cheaper jewellery sold on auction sites. Some buyers prefer 18ct White Gold because the Rhodium plating is more scratch resistant to Platinum. Either way, both choices need occasional re-finishing depending on the extent of wear.