What Is Rhodium?

February 16, 2009 | By | 4 Replies More
  • Rhodium is a hard, silvery and durable metal in the Platinum group.
  • The chemical symbol for rhodium is Rh.
  • Rhodium is highly reflective and is often used to give white gold an extra shine
  • It has a higher melting point than platinum and is resistant to corrosion.
  • Like platinum it is a hard, ductile, malleable and is a good electrical conductor.
  • Rhodium resists attack by acids and can only be dissolved in aqua regia, a highly volatile mix of concentrated nitric and sulphuric acids that is also one of the few substances that can dissolve gold and platinum.
  • It is the most expensive of all precious metals.

How Rhodium was Discovered

Over the last 30 years rhodium has averaged circa $1000 a troy ounce and in 2006 has reached $6200.00 an ounce. Rhodium, named after rhodon, the Greek for rose, was discovered by William Hyde Wollaston in 1804 shortly after he had discovered platinum and palladium.

Wollaston was born in 1766 in Norfolk, England. He became renowned as a physiologist before giving  up his medical practice in 1800 to devote his time to scientific research.

He continued to contribute to medical research, became a celebrated chemist, developed optical measuring instruments, lenses and even an optical aid to artists, known as the Camera Lucida, made important scientific discoveries and developments in electricity and electric batteries and cells, and published 56 papers on his research in chemistry, mineralogy, crystallography, physics, astronomy, botany, physiology and pathology.

Wollastons efforts to produce platinum led to his discovery of palladium (1803) and rhodium (1804) through his experiments with crude platinum ore probably obtained from South America.

Crude platinum ores also contain other metals in the platinum group. In 1805 Wollaston developed the process to produce malleable platinum which made him financially independent until his death in 1828.

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Comments (4)

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  1. kerry says:

    I have a solid rhodium choker and braclet with real crystals in it if i wanted to sell it were would i go and how much would i ask for it

  2. John says:

    So how do you invest in Rhodium, ETFs? Futures? Solid Rhodium?

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