I've had lots of clients come to me asking for a water proof and tarnish free solution to jewelry, which to them I say not happening here. Rhodium-plated jewelry has become a growing popular choice among consumers for its lustrous clear silver-white finish and perceived durability. But while it may seem like a good investment for your collection, the truth is that rhodium plating is not only hazardous to your health but to the environment as well. In this edition of By SCD, we will explore why rhodium plating can cause allergic reactions and what impact it has on the planet.
(Even look at how many chemicals it takes just to make this Frankenstein grossness happen, ick.)
Rhodium plating is a process whereby a thin layer of rhodium, a rare and expensive metal, is electroplated onto base metals such as copper, silver, or vermeil / gold coated brass to enhance their appearance and provide extra protection. While rhodium can create a beautiful clear luster coating, it is a highly reactive and toxic element that can cause harm to both humans and the environment. Common symptoms of rhodium allergies can include rashes, swelling, and blistering of the skin. Moreover, rhodium plating is not only toxic but also unsustainable as it requires a lot of energy to produce and dispose of correctly. So when people tell me " I think my expensive necklace from XYZ brand is fake because my skin is going NUTS" this is probably the culprit.
Rhodium plating is a hazardous process that involves the use of dangerous chemicals and toxins, such as cyanides, acids, and solvents, that can be detrimental to the environment. It's legit the same type of coating they put on expensive cars, and babe we are not meant for these streets. These chemicals can seep into the soil and water, leading to contamination and pollution that harms wildlife and can even affect human health. In addition, the exploitation of natural resources required to mine and extract rhodium from the earth contributes to the depletion and degradation of the environment.
When considering the true impact of using rhodium-plated jewelry, it becomes clear that it is not a sustainable or responsible choice. However, there are plenty of alternative options available that can provide a similar aesthetic without the adverse effects, but currently the majority of them aren't commercially available with most brands. This is why we avoid it all together and always send out our pieces with a tarnish free bag for storage when you're not vibing in your items, and a polishing cloth to clean your pieces to perfection to avoid water stains or tarnish marks until a better option is available. Shopping options like solid gold vis vermeil or fill is also a huge upgrade factor too in limiting your exposure to Rhodium in the jewelry your purchase as well.
The Final Tea:
In conclusion rhodium-plated jewelry may have a shiny appearance, but it is not worth the risk to our health and the environment. The process of rhodium plating involves the use of dangerous chemicals that can contribute to environmental harm and are dangerous to our bodies over time, yuck. Additionally, we do not need to use this unsustainable process, nor do we need to support businesses that continue to do so. There are plenty of sustainable alternatives available that can give us the look we want without endangered our health or environment. In short, when choosing jewelry options, it is best to be mindful and opt for sustainable options that are safer for our health and the planet.