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"Why not solid rhodium ring?"

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A discussion started in 2004 but continuing through 2020

July 15, 2009

Q. Hi Everyone,

I'm in a fairly well paid job and my girlfriend and I have discussed the group of platinum metals as she has a reaction to nearly everything. I've started my research and looked at Rhodium but this way looks massively expensive and not possible to look at anything here in the South West of England. What is Iridium like? Its properties look very inert and is it available out in the UK For general purchase as a ring (Engagement, Wedding bands)?

Geoff Hacker
- England

Rolex Rhodium Dial

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December 3, 2009

A. Re: Rhodium and Palladium jewelry, HSN not too long ago sold palladium jewelry, unfortunately I guess when those in the 'jewelry-know' found out about it, it sold out rather quickly.
I'd also like to purchase some rhodium and palladium pieces myself (price aside), and believe that if there is a 'large enough push' for these 'metals', that eventually they just might become available on a more readily available scale (with perhaps even a drop in the prices).

Jeanne Myers
- Brooklyn, New York

August 14, 2010

A. Yes Obama did get his wife a rhodium ring- this was well publicized at the time he was elected, Amy. I have a rhodium rolex watch and it is the most beautiful, stunning watch I have ever seen. When I bought it I didn't even know quite the value of rhodium but I liked the look. btw just the face is rhodium. The band is stainless steel.

lin leon
- austin, Texas

September 2, 2010

A. I read that pure iridium jewelry is the latest trend. One of the hardest metals known (doesn't scratch), doesn't oxidize (tarnish) and common acids do not affect it all. Denser (heavier) than platinum but about one third the cost per troy ounce. However the cost of a platinum ring and an identical iridium ring are about the same due to the difficulty in working with iridium. A company called American Elements sells iridium rings.

Kim Kercso
- Vancouver, BC Canada

September 18, 2010

A. Hi, I have succeeded in making beautiful rings out of solid rhodium. We will shortly begin marketing gorgeous wedding bands, engagement rings, and other styles made from 90% rhodium, 10% platinum.

I have made rings out of .999 fine rhodium, but I found that alloying it with 10% platinum results in a better, more durable product.

Eitan Cohen
- Brooklyn, New York, United States

October 5, 2010

Q. Hi guys

Have been looking for a pair of wedding bands too, and while we had nearly frozen upon Rhodium-plated white gold, we got to know that the plating wears easily and would require loads of maintenance...Now we are looking for a ring that is very durable, without being as expensive as solid Platinum + Palladium...and we don't want yellow gold :( do we have a way out!

Zumi Bhadri
- Bombay, India

November 18, 2010

A. One of the above posts made a very good point. From what I've also researched about rhodium, it is too brittle to use as a ring. VERY poor malleability, and would almost certainly crack if it were sized up or down. Even mounting a stone would probably crack the mounting itself, and hitting the ring on something that would otherwise bend gold, would probably crack your rhodium ring. I think the properties of the metal more than the price dictates why making a ring out of solid rhodium isn't common practice. I'm sure there are people out there who wouldn't bat an eye about the price if they really wanted one.

Michael Rodriguez
- Blythe, California USA

December 21, 2010

A. Rhodium is ideal for jewelry. It is highly reflective (which is why it is used to plate platinum jewelry and accent gold jewelry), it is inert, it is stronger than any of the other precious metal, and it is terribly rare and therefore desirable for value reasons. It's just taking the public a long time to come along.

john volker
- watertown, New York, usa

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


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

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

Ring Cutter

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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!


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

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.


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.


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

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.


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

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.

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

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