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topic 30998 p2

Why not solid rhodium ring?



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A discussion started in 2004 but continuing through 2019

June 12, 2011

Q. So how does one KNOW he has a rhodium ring (or other piece of jewelry)? Lacking any hallmarks or other obvious clues, how would one test the jewelry to determine if it's pure (or majority) rhodium? Thanks for any insight, and also for this helpful and interesting blog.

Ward Angles
- Arcata, California, USA


November 8, 2011

thumbsdownIf Rhodium is not malleable, I do not care how nice of the color it is, to me, is the "other Chrome" as far as I am concerned.

Ted Shngerson
Self - Brooklyn, New York, USA



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sidebar
October 20, 2010

Hi, one choice is to buy a tungsten carbide ring, not expensive but extremely hard.... it has a very nice polish and is one of the strongest metals known on earth. 5x harder than steel & 3x than titanium.... :)

manwel spiteri
- MALTA, GOZO


December 26, 2011

! One thing that was brought to my attention about tungsten rings and may apply to rhodium: hardness. The ring is so hard that if there is any chance of catching your finger in some object, there is no way to cut the ring off the finger. One jeweler whom I was just chatting with said his chain realized the potential liability and stopped selling tungsten rings. I am not sure if this applies to Rhodium. Firemen as it turns out have nothing they can use to cut tungsten off a finger, except to take off the finger. I know a lot of young kids are using less expensive metals for their rings but they should be aware of the potential risks, especially if they work in a field like mechanics, etc.

R. Goodrich
- Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, USA


December 28, 2011

Thanks, R., profit motive aside, jewelers prefer precious metal rings because they better suit their sense of art and aesthetics -- but I think your jeweler is probably spreading urban legend. Abrasive diamond disks are much harder than any metal and cut through tungsten or rhodium with no difficulty. Battery operated ring cutters will cut through the hardest alloys in less than 10 seconds.

Titanium carbide, ceramic, and stone rings are brittle and pretty easily broken off with vise grips if necessary.

My son is a fireman for 12 years now, working on the auto accident extraction team, and finds "...except to take off the finger" amusing ... firemen don't amputate fingers, they remove the ring, and it's about the easiest work they do. If you have a published source for your concern, please correct me. Thanks!

Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live Aloha



May 2, 2012

A. I always wondered about bismuth, or alloys of it. It's an odd metal like the above. And I must say, rhodium has the luster of polished cast iron.

I haven't heard you guys mention yttrium or zirconium. Zirconium is stablised by yttrium in jewelry application.

www.hobart.k12.in.us/ksms/PeriodicTable/yttrium.htm

But for god's sake, do your homework before acting on this one! I certainly would advise that you forget about making a ring out of something that is rare and unnatural in earths crust. If it doesn't occur in nature much at all, then you have no tolerance to it as a human. It could cause cancer or worse. Skin is semi permeable.
And as for toxic, silver is. It just doesn't enter the body as it is nearly inert. Though, its compounds that are able to enter the body, are very poisonous, like silver nitrate. So, I'm not sure about worrying about toxic metal compounds from inert metals. Ask yourself why you want to make it, and why someone else hasn't.

Dan Percival
- Derby, UK


June 25, 2012

Q. Most of the rhodium plated items I know I've seen, I haven't liked. They look incredibly shiny and cheap to me. I have several high quality platinum pieces of jewelry and love the way those look. Why am I seeing such a difference? What about ruthenium? I've heard of that but haven't seen it. I grew up around only platinum and 18-24 ct yellow gold. Is there just a slightly visible difference that only some can see? Thanks.

Liz Perkinson
- Elk City, Oklahoma


September 4, 2012

A. Hi Liz. It's a matter of taste, and tastes change. Yes, rhodium is incredibly shiny, the most reflective metal (actually raw silver is more reflective but it tarnishes), and some people like how it makes diamonds look bigger and brighter. Some people don't like it. It's all good.

Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live Aloha


September 4, 2012

Q. Ok so now that the price is down, is there still a reason Rhodium can't become a useful precious metal in jewelry? It looks like the comments go 50-50 as to its suitability. Looks like toxicity has been ruled out. So as a mix even to cut the total cost? Just checked and its spot price is below gold and platinum.

Nate Bayer
- Northglenn, Colorado, USA


September 4, 2012

A. Wow! Either the world economy really is going to crash and everybody is hoarding gold, or this is the opportunity of a lifetime to buy rhodium. It was 12X as expensive as gold just a year or two ago ($12,000/oz.), and today it's 2/3 of the price of gold ($1150/oz.)?!

Actually, Theodore Gray notes in "The Elements" that the price volatility of rhodium is not due just to speculation but because rhodium is not mined for its own sake but becomes available as a trace ingredient in platinum ore. When a lot of platinum is mined and refined, there's enough rhodium to go around, but when platinum mining slows down, rhodium skyrockets because it's just not feasible to mine it for itself.

Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live Aloha


November 19, 2012

Q. About finishing Rhodium rings: The melting point is only a few hundred degrees higher than platinum -- not so bad on a small scale with eye protection.
About malleability: I prefer pure Platinum because it can be bent and bent and bent. Pure gold is pretty good, and pure Silver needs constant annealing. I'm confident I can make Rhodium bands without bending, and if annealing is required for resizing, then ...
Question: How does Rhodium fit in the malleability scale of Platinum through Silver? So far the reference to malleability has been vague.
I make all my jewelry by hand, and I've found that some files are not as equal as other files, and that Rhodium is hard.
Question: Where can I find fine files that can work Rhodium? I'm trying to avoid testing my files on Quartz to see who wins.
Regards,
Luke

Luke Jadamec
- Canaan, Maine


May 26, 2013

A. I have been able to cast Rhodium rings but it is extremely difficult. The most challenging part is melting the metal as the extra 300 °C puts it beyond most Induction Melters. For Jewelers, Rhodium is so hard it takes about 12 new saw blades to cut through the sprue. RH is a beautiful, extreme white hard metal but is much too brittle for prongs. Several small movements of the metal will cause the prongs to break. In refining of PGM group, the usual results are baby powder fine powders or sponge. The melting temp. (2200 °C) is beyond most torches and the pressure involved will skater the expensive powder. Melting fine powders is very difficult for most commercial Induction Melters and continued efforts usually results in a fried Induction Melter as the powder is too fine to absorb the radiation and results with the energy returning back into the machine. From experience, this can be a very expensive experiment.

Also, Rhodium is not a very friendly alloying material. It does not mix well with other metals. Again, another expensive experiment. However, I have had some success but it goes well beyond normal jewelry manufacturing methods. About the only use that I can see is for plain jewelry such as wedding bands. Rethinking my methods and have not given up my experiments.

Dan Dement
Stone Oak Jewelers - San Antonio, Texas


September 3, 2013

thumbs up signIt's a great question, I have sought for Rhodium wedding and engagement rings to no avail and ended up settling for platinum despite not being price sensitive -- just did not seem to be accessible. As I was living in Singapore at the time I had to get the platinum in from Hong Kong and very few Traditional Indians work with that so was a challenge in itself.

What I have learnt through my work and mining engineering background is that Rhodium is very illiquid as a commodity, hence the price spikes in history, it's a byproduct of other rare earth mineral mining and not the driver. The biggest users are of course for car catalytic converters, but its still a minor for them; you try forward hedging Rhodium and see the difficulties mostly for security -- it's a buy now and lease transaction. You can see why commercial jewelers would not want to sit on inventory, or take fixed price orders on future supply, but I can't understand why there is not more of a niche market for the price insensitive. Hats off to the mails I read where people succeeded in getting what they wanted.

Alistair Jones
- Basel, Basel Stadt, Switzerland


September 30, 2013

Q. Out of all metals that have been talked about, which one is the worst toxic for skin?

Liz Otero
- Lutz, Florida, USA



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30998ext
January 16, 2014

Q. First off I would like to thank all those that have added their professional opinion and expertise. I am looking to see if someone can point me in the right direction to make my a highly customized ring.

I have just started my search in finding someone who is skilled in metallurgy in the great state of Maine. Because Rhodium seems to be very specific to a small group of followers it doesn't seem like anybody mainstream would seem to be able to work with this metal. As Metallurgy is such an interesting subject, one that I would love to know a little more about. I would like to know if anyone could direct me in the right direction. I'm hoping to find "mom and pop" shops since Maine is a small community of specialized workers.

After reading most of this tread I definitely feel like I understand the process better, now I would like to talk to someone about the exact process and figure out a way to achieve my end goal, getting my wife a ring made in Rhodium.

Thank you all for your time. :)

Solomon Nethers
- Augusta, Maine USA


simultaneous January 20, 2014

A. Hello Solomon,
As you may know rhodium is very expensive in its pure form. Secondly rhodium is very hard to fabricate because of it's extreme hardness. It is not very malleable. There are rings made of platinum, which today would also be very expensive. Would you consider a white gold ring plated with rhodium? This combination seems to be the norm in fine jewelry. Most reputable jewelers can point you in the right direction as far as design and the rhodium plating.

Mark Baker
Process Engineer - Malone, New York, USA


January 20, 2014

A. Soloman, this is maybe a silly question, but have you tried to see if you could get the rhodium melted down and the mixture of platinum at a good steel works furnace as they are made into bars in the first place

Jimmy Dodger
- Glasgow, Scotland


30998rhodium_price
January 21, 2014

A. Solomon,
I checked the current price for platinum = $1442.00 per troy oz. Rhodium is at $1050.00 per troy. Source = Johnson Matthey platinum group daily metal pricing.

Mark Baker
Process Engineer - Malone, New York USA


thumbs up signThanks Mark. There ya go, folks, if you paid $10,000 per ounce for rhodium 7 years ago and it's worth $1050 now, you're not very happy.

Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live Aloha


January 27, 2015

!! I recently found a mint in Canada that produces Rhodium bullion and Rhodium coinage as well. I believe the markup is 20% whereas gold is less then 10% markup. I've seen their stock and it's beautiful! As well, this is the only mint in the world at this time that deals with this metal in a solid 9999.0 fine. They are supplied by Africa. As low as prices are now, I can't think of a more exciting investment? With China and North South Korea making their mark in the automotive industry at this time with great success! Surely there will be a need for millions of catalytic convertors in our near future! I can't see this metal selling much cheaper in the future. And I'll take it as a indicator when the US President spends $30,000.00 for his wife's wedding ring during its peak? I'm willing to bet he's not so stupid to make such an investment and take such a loss with all his advisors? I've read Rhodium could go as high as 20,000.00 an OZ in our near future. Good luck with your investing. ;)

Chet Creslaw
American Gypsy Fabricator - Southfield Michigan USA


January 26, 2015

Hi Everyone

A few years ago I posted on this site. I made 2 pure wedding rings and they were the first in the UK. I also posted I would not do them again as it was very difficult to cast due to high melting point. I had the 2 rings hall marked and the customer is still very happy with their rings. I have been working with Rhodium for a while now and have come up with a great way to cast the metal, I use Platinum as a alloy and this now gives me a perfect cast and finish. The platinum also gives the Rhodium a luxurious weight as it more dense.

30998-2

Here is a picture of my latest cast and will send you all a finished pic in the next week or so.

Neil Garnett [returning]
- London, UK



Want a pure rhodium engagement ring made

August 12, 2016

Q. I am looking for a pure rhodium engagement ring to be made. I saw Neil's post about casting as a Platinum alloy and I am interested to hear back from anyone working with pure Rhodium or Rhodium alloys.

Thanks

Rebecca Lowe
- Hertfordshire, UK


30998-3
February 2, 2017

We produce pure .999 rhodium rings. They are strong, hard, durable and beautiful. Best,

Paul Kiesow
Custom Solid Rhodium Wedding Bands - Carlisle, Pennsylvania, USA


May 8, 2018

Q. Rhodium is used mainly as a commercial catalyzer, in fact most buyers want to buy it in its powdered (sponge form). Once reduced to metal bars it has little value other than the bragging rights of saying "I own a bar." Rhodium also has a melting point almost twice that of platinum and the the finished metal is very brittle unless alloyed with another metal. Most jewelers hate working with platinum because alone it is much harder than gold or silver. The really exotic metals in the platinum metals group like iridium, osmium, palladium, ruthenium (maybe least on the list) and rhodium a giant "B" word to work with. Most goldsmiths hate working with silver because one needs a hotter torch (and it's more work). By the time one gets to rhodium, temps are needed that require an oxy-acetylene torch. Most jewelers consider that level of heat of heat out of their comfort level. Forget the price of the rhodium metal. Labor to fool with will cost twice the metal's price to produce a ring that could crack or break apart the first time you bang it against something. Do not let arrogance and the need to prove your wealth disprove good taste.

Also as electric cars become more efficient and affordable, 100 years from now when catalytic converters are no longer needed, Rhodium will probably be of less value than aluminum. There are rarer metals than rhodium. Californium is 27 million dollars a gram, Why not make a ring from it? Just store it for three years in a lead safe first, lol.

TERRY WHITTAKER
- Fort Branch, Indiana United States



Want to make 80-20 alloy of gold and rhodium

November 23, 2018

I would like to know what would happen with a 80% gold mixture with 20% rhodium?

I was thinking of making a gold chain between 18k and 22k, but I don't want to use silver or platinum. I was looking on the internet for an answer if anyone has done this before, or if it was even a good idea. That is how I found this site.

What would be the benefits and drawbacks of using rhodium in the melting process while making gold jewelry?

Sam Zachuth
- Staten Island, New York, United States


November 2018

A. Hi Sam. I'm no metallurgist and it's been 50 years since I took my only metallurgy course -- but the thing is, you can't make alloys by mixing molten metals in any arbitrary percentage you desire. Those two metals are only miscible in each other up to a very low percentage (much like you can dissolve a teaspoon of salt in a quart of water, but you can't dissolve 5 pounds).

You can use scholar.google.com to look for abstracts of insightful articles on the subject of gold-rhodium alloys, but you'll probably have to pay to view the articles. Good luck.

Regards,

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


December 8, 2018

Q. Thanks a lot Ted, I will try to find something more on this topic by searching academic papers then. However, I guess that would also prompt me to ask. Has anyone here ever had experience in creating gold jewelry by mixing it with rhodium? And if so, could they speak about their experience?

Sam Zachuth [returning]
- Staten Island, New York, United States


December 2018

A. Hi Sam. Your thread is still here and we welcome responses from someone who knows more about the topic than me ... but what I was implying is that from my limited knowledge you cannot melt rhodium and gold together because, except to a very tiny degree, they won't mix. So, assuming I'm not wrong, you are asking people to relate their practical experiences in doing what can't be done :-)

Regards,

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


December 9, 2018

Hi Sam

Gold/rhodium has been used in jewellery.

You can find some reports of its properties here:

https://www.technology.matthey.com/pdf/pmr-v6-i3-106-111.pdf

geoff smith
Geoff Smith
Hampshire, England

----
Ed. note: See also
https://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19870007312.pdf



September 12, 2019

Q. Rhodium-Gold alloys exist in natural form as Rhodite, so they alloy quite fine I guess.

I have not seen a follow up post on Neil Garnett's progress on the Rhodium rings.
Is he still in here?

I have been working to see if I can make a Rhodium ring as pure as can be made in practical terms.
I have resigned to not finding anyone to do it, and am now trying to find information on how to build my lost wax mold to withstand the temperatures needed.
I have acquired the metal and the stone to be used.
Maybe I even have to invest in an induction system?

Is there anyone here that can point me to where I can find suitable information on HT mold making?

Per Ove Arntsen
- Bergen, Norway

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