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Solid rhodium rings? Why or why not.

(to help bring readers up to speed to more quickly understand the Q&A's)

Rhodium is a precious metal like gold or platinum. It's plated on to most white gold rings these days because it is so bright & tarnish resistant that it dazzles, but it's very thin and wears away ... so some people are interested in the possibility of solid rhodium jewelry.

Rhodium is so rare that it is not mined for its own sake, but is obtained as a byproduct of platinum mining/refining. When there is a high demand for platinum, rhodium is therefore quite available and its price drops to a little less than the price of gold; but when demand for platinum drops , rhodium becomes virtually unavailable and its cost sometimes jumps to 10X-12X the price of gold.

Q. @Neil_Garnett: What kind of precautions. Interested in smelting but honestly I've never done any, and I might not even use this material but would be great to know.

Dirk Steele
Hobbyist - Dakota
March 16, 2022

A. Hi Dirk. We'll see if Neil replies, but his posting was from a very long time ago. Have you successfully smelted other metals?

Because now is probably not the time for an experiment. The cost of rhodium varies wildly. At times it's the price of gold or a bit less. But presently it's 9X-10X the price of gold. Experimenting with making rings from this material while it costs over $18,500 an ounce probably isn't really practical.

Luck & Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

⇩ Related postings, oldest first ⇩

Q. I am a jewelry hobbyist and am just wondering, if rhodium is used to plate jewelry and has such a nice finish why not just use solid rhodium for a ring? It seems it would be a good compromise between platinum and white gold. Is there some durability issue with rhodium?

Michael Smith
technician - Mountain View, California

A. The cost of precious metals, especially rhodium, fluctuates wildly, but rhodium is currently about 10x the cost of 24 carat gold, or 20x the cost of 12 carat gold. Still interested?

I understand that it's also very hard to work rhodium plus it has a very high melting point.

Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

Q. So, Rhodium costs almost twice as much as Platinum - of course I am interested. Where can I get solid rhodium jewelry, and if I can't, why not?

Along the same lines, why not solid Palladium jewelry? (Much more expensive than silver, but only costs about as much as 10k gold).

Sruli Federman
- Brooklyn, New York

A. Solid palladium jewelry is what I have been making for the last 2 1/2 years, and it works beautifully. It weighs a lot less than platinum so you get more rings made per oz. It is actually a bit whiter than platinum, and is much nicer to work in than white gold. You can get palladium alloys for jewelry applications from Hoover and Strong.

Elichai Fowler
- Livingston, Montana

Q. I am also hoping to find rings of pure rhodium as well as ruthenium. Do they exist? Could they?

Mordechai Xiaohiu
- Marietta, Georgia

Q. Rhodium costs Price 1g= $70,10g= $490, 60g= $2,195.
Iridium costs Price: 1g $35, 5g $145, 10g $245
Platinum costs Price: 1g $55, 2.5g $105, 5g $195

Rhodium is The most expensive natural metal. It is used in plating silver jewelry. I haven't found solid jewelry made from rhodium. It's hard to start a new trend when it's this expensive. The only idea I have on obtaining a pure rhodium necklace or bracelet is to buy the metal from an elemental supplier for chemistry sets and then pay a jeweler to make me a custom piece. Maybe have an iridium, rhodium, platinum alloy blend. Ratio of 5/80/15 respectively? What is your ideal jewelry metal alloy combo? I guess I should also find the melting points for these metals and their density. Can they be combined into an alloy?

Jaron Krane
- Boca Raton, Florida

A. Hello All
Just to let you know I have made 2 wedding bands in 80% solid Rhodium. You have to add 20% Plat as Rhodium will break if used in its pure form; it's not malleable.
What a fantastic metal. The problem is you can only get the metal in powder form, so you have to be very careful when you place the metal into an induction smelter.

Neil Garnett
- London, U.K.

! I want one too ... Bad ... It's too bad I don't have enough knowledge to be able to know whether it's solid or just plated, so I'll never actually purchase a 'solid' one, because I refuse to be scammed.

Michael Sanders
Creator - Las Vegas, Nevada
August 17, 2021

A. Hi Michael. It can be hard to find trustworthy people, but it's impossible to survive in our high tech world without believing anybody; so if you badly want one, inquire until you find a jeweler you trust.

thumbs up sign Investing in a nice heavy ring made from a material which keeps oscillating between less valuable than gold to more than 10X as valuable as gold sounds like a mean trick to play on a divorce lawyer or other appraiser :-)

Luck & Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

Why don't rich people buy rhodium rings?

Q. If these alloys in jewelry are so expensive then why are they not made privately for richer people already? And does anyone know under what condition these elements can be found?

Sophie Louise Denton
- Norwich, England, United Kingdom

A. Hi Sophie. They are. But just because it's expensive doesn't make it good, nor mean that many people will want it :-)

One strike against rhodium is price volatility: recently it was over $12,000 an ounce when gold was well under $1,000. Not even rich people want to pay 20 times the cost of a gold ring, and then find in a few years that the price of rhodium tanked and it's worth less than a gold ring so they lost more than 90% of their investment :-)

Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey




Rhodium is very toxic and radioactive!

!! If you do the research, Pure Rhodium can stain skin badly and is very toxic. Research the chemical makeup.

Google: pure rhodium

Megan Von Hoisnter
- Rialto, California

A. I wasn't able to find whatever page you were reading, Megan, but you accidentally extracted this out of context. The great majority of "white gold" jewelry today is plated with rhodium. It's safely worn by hundreds of millions of people around the world, doesn't stain the skin, is very inert, and certainly not radioactive.

Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

A. From Wikipedia:

Rhodium metal is, as a noble metal, inert.

However, when rhodium is chemically bound, it is reactive. Rhodium compounds are not often encountered by most people and should be considered to be highly toxic and carcinogenic [citation needed]. Lethal intake (LD50) for rats is 12.6 mg/kg of rhodium chloride (RhCl3) [citation needed]. Rhodium compounds can stain human skin very strongly. The element plays no biological role in humans. However, if used plainly, without compounds, the metal is harmless.

Joseph Lunsford
- Miami, Florida

A. Rhodium chloride does not appear to be especially toxic:

Rhodium Chloride:
Rat, oral: LD50 = 1302 mg/kg
Rhodium: No acute toxicity data found.

source: NIST website

J Mac
- Santa Barbara, California

A. I have worked with rhodium (both metal and compounds) for many years. Rhodium is used in many applications outside of the plating and jewelry industry. Check your catalytic converter in your car and you'll usually find platinum, palladium and some rhodium.

The metal itself shouldn't be a problem except if you inhale the dust and then the problem is dust not the rhodium metal. The compounds and solutions of rhodium that are typically found in the marketplace (i.e. chloride, nitrate, Wilkinson's catalyst, sulphate, phosphate, etc.) also should pose no significant dangers except for the pH of some of the solutions.

Eric Frueh
January 17, 2008
- South Plainfield, New Jersey

thumbs up sign I followed your suggestion and Googled Rhodium. While Rhodium compounds and salts are toxic and can stain your skin, usually because the Rhodium has been alloyed with nickel, pure Rhodium is not.

L Keller
- The Villages, Florida
March 7, 2023

The editor's fave "coffee table book" for years now...

The Elements by Theodore Gray

on AbeBooks

or eBay or


(affil links)

!! Beware! Rhodium is highly toxic and extremely radioactive.

J.C. Beckman
Artist - Vancouver Washington
November 13, 2008

Hi, J.C. Thanks for joining in, but that absolutely isn't true at all. There are probably a hundred million women wearing rhodium plated rings. I'll bet you're thinking of Radium :-)


Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

Q. I'm interested in rhodium plated jewelry's allergenic or non-allergenic properties. I have met several people who can only wear 14k gold or better. How would they fare with rhodium plated jewelry on the average? Is it less allergenic than pure silver? More? Is it comparable to niobium?
Your answers would be of great interest. Thanks.

P Casey Willson
- Eufaula, Alabama

A. Hi Casey. Rhodium is so inert (you can't even easily dissolve it in aqua regia, the acid that dissolves gold) that it is hard to believe anyone could be allergic to it.
However, it is often plated onto white gold and lots of white gold has nickel in it, which many people are allergic to, and the rhodium plating is always cracked ... so people can surely be allergic to rhodium plated white gold rings. As for rhodium plated silver, if it has an under-layer of nickel plating, you have the same allergy problem again.
Luck & Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

Q. I am thinking of making custom wedding bands for my fiancee and I. The base of the ring is made in silver that has a center trough, and the inside of the trough would be a turks head of niobium, iridium, and rhodium. Not too sure about how well this will play out, and also looking for a fourth metal, hopefully as rare as can be, to add to the turks head.
My main issue is I am unfamiliar with how difficult a rhodium wire is to braid.

Adam Lenrow
- Newport News, Virginia

Q. After 13 years I am starting to blister from my wedding rings, they are 14k gold and my doctor said I might be allergic to nickel and/or gold now. I have had them cleaned so I know it is not from anything trapped in my rings. Can I replate them with something and if so what do I use? Someone please help I don't want to plate them with the wrong metal and find out that I am allergic to it too......

Karen O'Neal
Home owner - Salem, Oregon

A. Hi Karen. You are probably not allergic to gold or rhodium or any precious metal. But usually rings are not pure 24k (24 parts out of 24 ) gold, but 10k (10 parts gold out of 24 parts) to 18k (18 parts out of 24), so there are other metals alloyed with the gold, and often some of that alloying metal is nickel, which many people are allergic to. Rhodium plating is cracked, so isn't 100% effective, but it's probably much better in terms of allergy than bare white gold.

Unfortunately, nickel allergy is an 'acquired' allergy, and it may be that it's you rather than your ring which has changed. Luck & Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

A. I got very interested once I started reading all this questions and responses, First I have been a jeweler for 38 years and nobody that I know of has had problems or reactions to rhodium, and I use it almost daily for plating.

Gilbert Gomez
- Phoenix, Arizona
December 2, 2008

thumbs down sign I, too, was VERY interested in solid Rhodium rings. After doing much research and talking with many jewelers, I found out why it is almost impossible to make one:
Least of all is the cost - about 10X solid gold.
Most important is the very high melting point and poor malleability.
What this means is, the melting point is so high that it would be almost impossible to spin it into a cast for a ring before it would start to solidify. It would end up as a partial ring glob. Rhodium is ~1000 deg. higher melting point than Platinum and Platinum is very hard to cast.
The other method is to melt the rhodium into a thin flat long rectangle and bend it into a curve (a ring) and solder it shut with white gold. The only problem is the poor malleability which means it would crack and break as it is being bent because it is too brittle.

That is why I gave up trying to get a solid Rhodium ring made. The guy from London may have a point that if 20% Platinum is used, it may be malleable enough to make a ring. I suspect a jeweler would charge up to $10,000 USD to make one.

Brad Viets
- Boise, Idaho
June 22, 2008

Obama's rhodium ring

thumbs up sign I guess after today's news, everyone has heard of rhodium jewelry. B.Hussein Obama's $30,000 rhodium and diamond ring for his woman.

Ann Jac
- Bixly, Missouri
December 2, 2008

Q. In the same web search that turned up this question, I also turned up a source for rhodium wedding rings direct from American Elements, a materials source.

I guess I can't link to the site here, but I wonder if anyone has any experience with ordering rings through this sort of source, or any other information.

The rhodium rings seem to be available at 99%-99.999% purity. I don't know what the cost is, because I wanted to ask around before I contacted them for more info.

Lisa McLean
- Queens, New York


A. Hi, Lisa. Testimonials on the largely anonymous internet are like asking a stranger to watch your purse while you visit the restroom; many people are honorable and it might work out fine some of the time :-)

But we've received postings where IP addresses proved they were from shills posing as satisfied customers, and in most cases there's no way of knowing. For this reason and several others, sorry, sorry but we don't print testimonials.


Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

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