Rhodium and Palladium

RHODIUM (Rh)

Of the 92 naturally occurring elements, 75 are metals, and Rhodium (Rh) is the most expensive of the noble elements. Its cost is twice that of gold. It is in the platinum family of metals. Rhodium (Rh), a noble metal, has been deemed the world’s most expensive precious metal. The element was discovered in 1803 by William Hyde Wollaston of England, who discovered both Rhodium and Palladium when they were extracted from platinum ore. Rhodium has an atomic mass of 102.91 and is number 45 on the periodic table of elements. Unique features of the metal include its white-gold-like exterior and highly reflective surface.

Rhodium plated jewelry

Rhodium is predominantly used for 3-way catalytic converters. It reduces nitrogen oxide to nitrogen and oxygen, and the conversion of methanol to acetic acid. It is also used to coat sterling silver to keep it from tarnishing and coated over gold to give it a white gold appearance. It is rare to find a piece of jewelry made of Rhodium, it has a high melting point and poor malleability. it simply can’t be easily manipulated. In 1979 Paul McCartney was given a rhodium-plated disc in honor of being best selling artist of all time. It is also used in aircraft, electronics, and medicine.

catalytic converter

There are many reasons for Rhodium being so expensive. The first reason is because it is very rare. Annually, only about 20-25 tonnes of Rhodium is extracted from the ground – a very small amount; and 80% of Rhodium is found in Africa. Rhodium is so rare that there are no pure Rhodium mines in existence, and is only found in the ores of other metals, most commonly platinum and nickel. Another reason for Rhodium’s price is because it belongs to the platinum group, which is a group of noble, precious and rare metals. Rhodium is also expensive because of its qualities, such as its high melting and boiling points. These two qualities make Rhodium a vital option for products such as catalytic converters, which convert harmful gases into less harmful gases. Qualities such as its shiny surface make it appealing for expensive jewelry, and in some cases photographs of jewelry because the way Rhodium looks in front of a camera can result in a higher price. This is probably one of the main reasons for the attraction of white gold. With a rhodium finish to the jewelry, the shine is very impressive. It can wear off jewelry worn daily and the item has to be recoated and this can be expensive, depending of course on how large an item is, but in the meantime, it provides for a beautiful piece of jewelry.

rhodium plated ring

As of this writing gold spot price is $1415.60, platinum (Pt) spot is $834.00 , silver spot is $15.30, and Rhodium is $3490.00, and Palladium spot is $1549.00. Obviously, Rhodium is number one on the hit parade of noble metals.

White gold bracelet

PALLADIUM (Pd)

The price of palladium, a precious metal 30 times as rare as gold, has risen by more than 50% since August, surpassing the price of gold for the first time since 2001. This week the price of 1 ounce of palladium topped $1,400, while platinum dipped under $800, and gold hovered just above $1,300.

Palladium is in the platinum family of metals, and jewelry connoisseurs know it as an alternative to gold or platinum. Its catalytic properties also make it hugely valuable to the automotive industry.

Palladium ring

More than 80% of palladium is used for catalytic converters, the New York Times reports. Those devices, installed between the engine and the tailpipe, convert as much as 90% of the hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen dioxide in automobile emissions into less harmful nitrogen, carbon dioxide, and water vapor. Apparently, precious metals have more than just a pretty face.

As China and developing countries enforce stricter auto emission limits and diesel cars are phased out, these properties are also becoming more in-demand than ever.

Another reason for its growing value is the simple fact that palladium deposits are rare, with major mines in Russia, South Africa, Ontario, and Montana. Overall, it’s estimated about 110,000 tons of platinum-group metals are held in reserve around the world, with nearly 70,000 tons held in South Africa. This means that recycling is an important source for the metal, with about 121 tons of platinum, palladium, and rhodium recovered globally from scrap in 2017, USGS reports.

Men’s Palladium bracelet

 Palladium is the newest precious metal. A platinum group metal, palladium is rare, lustrous, and naturally white. Palladium has the purity and white tone of platinum but is less dense, making it more affordable. From the same metal family as platinum, palladium is a naturally bright white metal. Palladium might be a metal to consider when purchasing jewelry. Compare the cost to other metals, meaning gold and/or platinum.

Thank you, Fortune 500

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