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Denver Coins --> Gold & Silver Coins --> Precious Metals --> Bullion Metals

May 11, 2009 - Eitan Cohen, owner of Cohen Mint, the first ever to produce investment rhodium bullion coins.

 

Rhodium is a chemical element that is a rare, silvery-white, hard, and chemically inert transition metal and a member of the platinum group.

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It has the chemical symbol Rh and atomic number 45. It is composed of only one isotope, 103Rh. Naturally occurring rhodium is found as the free metal, alloyed with similar metals, and never as a chemical compound. It is one of the rarest precious metals and the most costly (recently took over gold's and platinum's top spots of cost per ounce).

Rhodium is a so-called noble metal, resistant to corrosion, found in platinum- or nickel ores together with the other members of the platinum group metals. It was discovered in 1803 by William Hyde Wollaston in one such ore, and named for the rose color of one of its chlorine compounds, produced after it reacted with the powerful acid mixture aqua regia.

The element's major use (about 81% of world rhodium production) is as one of the catalysts in the three-way catalytic converters of automobiles. Because rhodium metal is inert against corrosion and most aggressive chemicals, and because of its rarity, rhodium is usually alloyed with platinum or palladium and applied in high-temperature and corrosion-resistive coatings. White gold is often plated with a thin rhodium layer to improve its optical impression while sterling silver is often rhodium plated for tarnish resistance.

Rhodium detectors are used in nuclear reactors to measure the neutron flux level.

Rhodium finds use in jewelry and for decorations. It is electroplated on white gold and platinum to give it a reflective white surface. This is known as rhodium flashing in the jewelry business. It may also be used in coating sterling silver to protect against tarnish, which is silver sulfide (Ag2S) produced from the atmospheric hydrogen sulfide (H2S). Solid (pure) rhodium jewelry is very rare, because the metal has both high melting point and poor malleability (making such jewelry very hard to fabricate) rather than due to its high price.[37] Additionally, its high cost assures that most of its jewelry usage is in the form of tiny amounts of powder (commonly called rhodium sponge) dissolved into electroplating solutions.

Rhodium has also been used for honors or to symbolize wealth, when more commonly used metals such as silver, gold, or platinum are deemed insufficient. In 1979, the Guinness Book of World Records gave Paul McCartney a rhodium-plated disc for being history's all-time best-selling songwriter and recording artist.

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