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What is Rhodite?

While gold is in and of itself considered precious, it can usually be alloyed to other substances either naturally, or artificially, to produce a metal that is far more precious (in terms of rarity, and thus monetary value) than gold alone. The discovery of the platinum group of metals introduced a new line of precious metals to fawn over and admire, and while platinum is now known to be far more precious than gold, combining gold and any metal from the platinum group (which includes rhodium, iridium, palladium, and many other metals) makes for an item that is doubly precious. While it is common for metallurgists and artisan jewelers to either alloy or meld platinum metals and gold for aesthetic purposes, there is a naturally alloy of gold and a platinum metal – a rare and prized metal known as rhodite.[1]

Rhodite is a native or naturally occurring alloy of the platinum metal rhodium, and gold. It is usually found in gold ores, and when used to create artisanal jewelry, takes on the appearance of a shiny, heavy, silvery-white metal that resembles white gold. Rhodite, on its own, is usually employed as an automotive three-way catalytic converter due to its inability to corrode. It is also usually employed to plate white gold alloys to help improve its general appearance.[2] When alloyed with gold (usually naturally, sometimes through artificial means) it creates an alloy known as rhodite, which, due to the rarity of rhodium is worth twice as much as gold and platinum combined. Natural rhodite alloys may contain as much as some 40% of rhodium intermixed with gold,[3] but artificially alloyed rhodite (usually referred to as rhodian gold) only contains trace amounts of the chemical element due to its rarity.

While jewelries created from rhodite do exist, these tend to be very expensive, if not altogether rare and are usually produced by commission, making any examples of rhodite jewelry priceless artisan works. In trace amounts, rhodite can be used industrially, although it is usually refined in order to obtain rhodium, a far more purposeful noble metal that, despite its relative rarity and expensive nature, is used in a number of industrial applications.[4] Due to the scarce nature of this noble metal, many individuals and companies wish to invest in the procurement of the natural alloy, as it would make for great investment in much the same vein as investing in gold, silver, and platinum bullion. Because rhodite is an alloy of two rare and highly precious metals, it makes for great investments as the price of these two metals continue to appreciate with each passing year. While there are many mining industries which sell what they claim as samples of rhodite, so far, no types of bullion coin or ingots of the alloy have been issued that have been made with pure rhodite alloy, although some examples of bullion made from other platinum metals have been alloyed with the base metal rhodium to add to its aesthetic (as well as monetary) value.

Rhodite - References:

[1] http://www.mindat.org/min-6717.html
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhodium
[3] http://encyclopedia2.thefreedictionary.com/rhodite
[4] http://www.webelements.com/rhodium/uses.html

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