Rhodium is a member of the platinum metals group; the other members include platinum, palladium, ruthenium, iridium, and osmium. Rhodium was discovered in 1803 by English chemist William Wollaston. It is known that the primary sources of rhodium are Russia, South Africa, and Canada. Rhodium is a tough metal resistant to most acids and corrosion.
It is highly reflective. These are many of the reasons why rhodium is added to sterling silver and electroplated silver. Once the rhodium is added to sterling silver, the piece or pieces still be sterling silver. In this case, rhodium is the protection of the sterling silver making the jewelry or items keep their brightness, durability for years to come.
Some facts about rhodium:
- The price by weight of rhodium is about six times more than gold
- 80% of the world’s supply comes from South Africa
- the primary use of this element is in automobiles as a catalytic converter
- Solid (pure) rhodium jewelry is very rare, more because of the difficulty of fabrication
- The high cost of the metal ensures that rhodium is applied only as an electroplated material in jewelry or items
- Rhodium is used as filters in mammography systems for the characteristic X-rays it produces.
- People can be exposed to rhodium in the workplace by inhalation which could be very dangerous, but in its elemental form, the metal is harmless. Means, if used in jewelry or items, is not toxic.
The value of rhodium is higher than Gold. See examples below:
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