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topic 10829

Need help--Allergic to 14K bridal set--Considering Rhodium Plating


I was recently married and upon receiving my 14k gold bridal set, I discovered that I am allergic to it. Something in the ring, probably nickel, is causing eczema on my finger (According to my Doctor). The most cost effective solution that I have found so far is to have it Rhodium plated. A jeweler suggested it. From what I understand, Rhodium is similar to Platinum. Platinum is supposed to be hypo-allergenic. Does anyone know if Rhodium is hypo-allergenic? It will cost me approximately 50 dollars to have my set Rhodium plated as opposed to probably a grand to have the entire ring re-set in platinum. They do not do any kind of plating or dipping in platinum that I am aware of. I asked a few jewelers about it.

Angela Rowley
- Orlando, Florida



Yes rhodium is using your term hypo allergenic. Of all the platinum metals group it is the most resistant to tarnishing and discoloration. If you decide to have your ring plated with rhodium, bear in mind that it will need to be periodically replated with rhodium. While rhodium is very scratch and wear resistant, its durability among other things, is greatly affected by the thickness of the plated rhodium, the "porosity" within the deposited layer and the surface cleanliness of the ring and its recessed contours, prior to the electroplating process. We have found the best results for plating rhodium includes a meticulous cleaning process, a pre-plate of platinum or palladium to improve adhesion and add additional protection. In combination with a reasonable thickness of rhodium (.75-1.0 micron is good) this will dramatically reduce the chances of skin tissue from coming in contact with the metal that you are sensitive to. It is important to have a good layer of uniform plating over the leading edges and corners on your ring band (shank). As a very general rule, this area has the highest wear rate and is subject to constant exposure to moisture,numerous cleaning chemicals and skin oils. Avoid having the ring "pen-plated" with rhodium at a jewelry store. In our kind opinion and no disrespect intended, their housekeeping and plating practices seldom deliver good long term plating results. There are exceptions, so shop around and ask questions.

Good luck!

David Vinson
Metal Arts Specialties - Leonard, Michigan


Angela, you might want to consider going to an Allergist before spending money on covering your things. I believe they can test you for metal allergies and then you'll know for sure. I've seen people who are allergic to almost every "Noble" metal including gold.

Robert F. Hyatt
dental lab - King George, Virginia

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