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The use of rhodium plating on base metal, “pot metal” and stainless steel jewelry findings and settings did not come into wide use until after World War II.Advances in technology eventually allowed even thinner layers of rhodium to be bonded with the surface of metals.While no vintage costume jewelry is “made of rhodium” or “set in rhodium”, costume jewelry of good quality was often rhodium plated.
It is, important to be aware that rhodium plating will not last for an eternity. The lifespan will vary and will depend upon a number of factors including the amount of wear the jewellery receives, the original thickness of the plating, individual body chemistry, the quality of the plating and the colour of the underlying gold. The plating on an item that is subjected to a lot of wear or friction, such as a ring, may only last 6-24 months, whereas a necklace, brooch or earrings which comes in less contact with skin or the elements, or is simply worn less, can retain its plating for ten or more years.