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What Is Black Rhodium Jewelry?

Black rhodium jewelry, such as this Arabesque Star Pendant and matching Arabesque Star Earrings, gives jewelry a radiant luster.Arabesque Star Pendant and matching Arabesque Star Earrings in black rhodium plated white gold with black pave diamonds

“What is that metal?” This is a question we often receive from customers who come into our New Orleans jewelry gallery and lay eyes on black rhodium plated jewelry for the first time. Uniquely dark and shiny, black rhodium jewelry is quite striking, and we carry a black rhodium plated version of nearly every piece of Marion Cage jewelry. Given the bounty of curiosity surrounding one of our favorite finishes, we’re here to share information about this material’s properties, benefits, and care.

Black Rhodium Jewelry: The Basics

Our black rhodium plated sterling silver Peak Stacking Ring comes in a dark and rich gunmetal gray, compared here to the lighter colored sterling silver Peak Stacking Ring.Peak Stacking Rings in matte and black rhodium plated sterling silver

Rhodium is a type of platinum that is rare, very hard, and corrosion resistant. Given this metal’s higher melting point and durability, jewelers typically use rhodium as a plating, rather than a solid metal, to make gold or silver jewelry extra bright and shiny. Black rhodium is, in fact, just one of many colors of rhodium. In its natural state, rhodium is silver-white and is typically plated onto white gold to give it a brighter, more luminous finish. By binding ink to rhodium, however, dark colors can be created that vary from light gray to black. At Marion Cage, our black rhodium jewelry is typically a very dark and rich gunmetal gray.

Why We Love Black Rhodium

The dark gunmetal gray of black rhodium plating in these Arabesque Dangle Earrings feels cool and edgy, while the sparkle of the black pave diamonds becomes more subtle.Arabesque Dangle Earrings in 14-karat white gold, black rhodium plated with black pave diamonds

Why do we love black rhodium jewelry so much?

  • The Look: Black rhodium gives jewelry a dark, radiant luster and has a cool, edgy feel. We love how the sparkle of our pave diamond pieces becomes more subtle and understated when plated in black rhodium.
  • The Durability: Black rhodium is also extremely tough and able to resist scratches and corrosion. Plus, it doesn’t tarnish!
  • The Cost: While black rhodium is a precious metal and a member of the platinum family, it is less expensive than platinum.

Maintaining Black Rhodium Jewelry

These Ankole Studs in black rhodium plated sterling silver and any other black rhodium jewelry from Marion Cage can be replated at our gallery free of charge.Ankole Studs in black rhodium plated sterling silver

It is important to note that, like any plated finish, rhodium plating will fade over time and with wear—particularly if the piece comes into direct and frequent contact with your skin. We recommend removing your plated jewelry prior to bathing, swimming, or washing your hands, as exposure to salt and other chemicals can cause damage to the plating. For more information on cleaning and caring for your jewelry, read our short guide.

When plated with a thick, high-quality rhodium plating, most black rhodium jewelry will maintain its finish for up to a year. If necessary, you can always bring your black rhodium jewelry to a professional jeweler for polishing and replating. At Marion Cage, we frequently replate pieces purchased from our gallery free of charge as a service to our customers.

Marion Cage Black Rhodium Jewelry in New Orleans or Online

At Marion Cage, we offer only the best in beautiful, handmade jewelry. If you’re looking for black rhodium jewelry, then you’ve come to the right place. We’re proud of our extensive collection of black rhodium plated jewelry. It’s just the right look when you need something deliciously dark! Shop online, visit our New Orleans jewelry gallery, or contact us today.

How to Clean Jewelry

Learn how to clean jewelry without damaging or compromising it with these tips from Marion Cage, including storing jewelry in the protective pouch it came in, such as the protective pouch from Marion Cage pictured here.

Jewelry is an investment you want to last a lifetime. Without proper care, jewelry can become dull, discolored, or even damaged. There are plenty of tips and tricks for cleaning all kinds of jewelry, from silver, gold, and vermeil to precious gems and other metals. But before you get started, you should learn how to clean jewelry without damaging or compromising it. At Marion Cage, we follow a number of best practices for cleaning jewelry that we are happy to share.

How to Clean Jewelry at Home

Between professional cleanings, you can clean your jewelry at home to keep it sparkling and sanitary. For jewelry you wear often, we recommend cleaning every other week. For jewelry that is more fragile or worn less often, we recommend a gentle cleaning as needed. If you have a piece that goes long periods without being used, be sure to clean it before putting it away, preferably in the protective pouch it came in when purchased.

To restore the matte finish on silver or gold jewelry or the oiled finish on wood jewelry, we recommend gently buffing with a fine-grade steel wool, such as #0000, which is available at most hardware stores. Avoid using chemicals, commercial cleaners, and polishing cloths on jewelry with a matte or textured finish, because they can compromise the finish on your jewelry. For more tips on how to clean jewelry, take a look at our material-specific recommendations below.

Gold Jewelry

Gold jewelry, such as this Offset Circle Ring in 14k yellow gold from Marion Cage, can be cleaned simply by using warm, soapy water and a soft cloth.Offset Circle Ring in 14k yellow gold

Gold jewelry does not tarnish and can be cleaned using warm, soapy water and a soft cloth. With rings and other gold jewelry that fit tightly against your skin, wait until each piece is dry before putting it back on.

Silver Jewelry

Silver jewelry, such as these "O" Drop Earrings in sterling silver from Marion Cage, can tarnish, which is why we do not recommend cleaning with water.“O” Drop Earrings in sterling silver

To clean silver jewelry, generously sprinkle dry baking powder onto a soft cloth and gently rub it against your silver. Afterward, shake off the powder and rinse or wipe jewelry clean with a soft cloth. Sterling silver will tarnish over time as it is increasingly exposed to the oxygen in the air. For especially tarnished pieces, we recommend using a silver cleaner that’s free of abrasives, such as Tarn-X.

Jewelry with a satin or textured finish will burnish, or become shinier, with wear. We recommend rubbing it with a 3M scrubby pad (available at most hardware stores) to restore its matte finish. If you purchased your silver jewelry from our store or website and need to restore its finish, contact Marion Cage and we can professionally restore it for a small fee.

Oxidized Silver Jewelry

Oxidized silver jewelry, such as this Small Point Scatter Necklace in sterling silver and oxidized silver from Marion Cage, should be cleaned using warm, soapy water or a soft cloth.Small Point Scatter Necklace in sterling silver and oxidized silver

Oxidized silver, or blackened silver, loses its finish over time and begins to show highlights of the true silver color underneath. To avoid removing the finish when you clean, use warm, soapy water or a soft cloth to remove fingerprints from oxidized silver pieces. If you purchased a piece of oxidized silver jewelry from Marion Cage, we offer professional reoxidizing for a small fee. Contact us today to learn more.

When to Get a Professional Cleaning

While these at-home cleaning methods are adequate for maintaining your jewelry between professional cleanings, they’re no substitution for regular inspections and cleanings from a jeweler. We recommend taking jewelry to a professional once or twice per year, depending on how frequently you wear it. Many professionals use ultrasonic cleaning, which can clean your jewelry more thoroughly than traditional methods by using ultrasonic vibrations to remove dirt from areas that cannot be reached by hand. There are a few kinds of jewelry that should not be exposed to ultrasonic cleaners, such as jewelry that contains soft gemstones, but the rest of your jewelry can be cleaned ultrasonically as often as you need without damaging it. When you bring your jewelry to a professional, it will not only be thoroughly cleaned, but inspected for any defects, such as broken or bent prongs, loose stones, or any other damaged parts. There may be pieces in your collection that aren’t worth the effort, but for any jewelry you’d like to last, it’s much better to clean and care for it regularly than to wait until there’s a problem.

Contact Marion Cage Today for Cleanings

Quality begins with fine craftsmanship. At Marion Cage, we stand by every piece that comes out of our New Orleans studio. We are always happy to answer any questions you may have about how to clean jewelry from Marion Cage. In addition to providing cleanings, we offer repairs and refurbishment on jewelry purchased in our store or from our website—sometimes free of charge. Contact us online, call us at 504-891-8848, or visit us at 3807 Magazine Street in New Orleans, LA.

Best Earrings for New Piercings

The best earrings for new piercings are small and hypoallergenic, such as these gorgeous gold earrings from Marion Cage.

Whether you have just had your ears pierced for the very first time or you are adding more piercings to your ears, proper post-piercing ear care and the right choice in starter earrings are essential for healing comfortably. At Marion Cage, we frequently host piercing events with a licensed ear piercer, and we also offer a variety of beautiful earrings perfect for new piercings. Sign up for our newsletter to find out about upcoming piercing events, and make sure you follow these important guidelines for caring for your ears and choosing the best earrings for new piercings.

How to Care for Your Ears

Proper ear care starts with a safe, professional piercing. That’s why we always book a licensed ear piercer for our piercing events. We also employ the safest, least painful method of ear piercing: surgical steel needle piercing. By using a sterile, hypoallergenic needle, our piercer can make a smaller, safer, more precise hole in your ear, adding the starter stud after the hole is made. By contrast, piercing guns make larger, more painful holes by forcing the stud into your ear. In addition, while piercing guns can be disinfected, they cannot be sterilized. This is why the Association of Professional Piercers always recommends needles over guns.

After your ears have been safely pierced, use these guidelines from the American Academy of Dermatology to help prevent infection and care for any new ear piercings:

  • Wash your hands before touching your ears. Lather with soap for 20 seconds and be sure to clean every part of your hands.
  • Clean your ears at least once per day using soap and water. You should also apply the cleaning solution provided by the piercing shop or rubbing alcohol using a cotton pad or ball twice daily. Clean both the front and back of your ears around the piercings.
  • Leave earrings in for at least six weeks, day and night. Do not change out your starter earrings for any other earrings before then, or your piercings may close up.
  • Twist your earrings back and forth in a clockwise and counterclockwise motion several times each day.
  • Avoid swimming in pools, lakes, or other bodies of water that may be prone to harboring harmful bacteria.

Best Earrings for New Piercings

At Marion Cage, our best earrings for new piercings include these beautiful stud earrings, which are hypoallergenic and fashionable for everyday wear.

Starter earrings can be made from any number of different hypoallergenic metals. Surgical stainless steel and titanium are the least expensive hypoallergenic earrings. But because you’ll need to leave your starter earrings in your ears all day and night for at least six weeks, you may want to invest in a pair you really like. Genuine gold, sterling silver, and vermeil gold earrings are great hypoallergenic options for starter earrings that look beautiful on any occasion.

Earrings from Marion Cage: Perfect for Newly Pierced Ears

Once your ears have healed and you can begin transitioning to regular earrings, you should first wear small earrings, preferably studs, that are made from sterling silver or gold for at least the next three months. Inexpensive earrings can be colorful, trendy, and fun to wear, but you risk getting an infection if you try to wear cheap earrings too soon. You can, however, transition to wearing many of the small sterling silver and gold earrings from Marion Cage after your starter earring phase has completed. Marion Cage offers a selection of beautiful, fashion-forward, and stylish earrings to frame your face and complement your favorite outfits.

Pod Studs

For a modern, sculptural take on the classic teardrop stud, take a look at our Pod Studs, which make great earrings for new piercings.

Simple with a soft, organic feel, Marion Cage's Pod Studs offer a modern, sculptural take on the classic teardrop stud. They are available in matte sterling silver and 14k yellow gold, and they look great worn as a pair or as a single earring (if you have a single piercing) alongside another pair.

Ankole Studs

Once you start transitioning to regular earrings, you want something timeless that you can wear day and night. Enter the Ankole Studs from Marion Cage, one of our best earrings for new piercings.

Sophisticated and with just the right edge, Marion Cage’s Ankole Studs are available in three sizes as well as with white pave diamonds. Timeless in both size and style, the smallest option is ideal for transitioning from the starter earring phase, and it’s the perfect stud earring for everyday wear.

Geo Spinel Studs

For earrings just as unique as you, Marion Cage's Geo Spinel Studs feature two unique and slightly irregular spinel stones.

Looking for a one of a kind? The Geo Spinel Studs by Marion Cage feature two unique and slightly irregular spinel stones, making these earrings distinct and architectural. The rosy pink stones and 18k yellow gold earrings complement every complexion.

Shop Earrings and Jewelry from Marion Cage

Marion Cage earrings are each crafted by hand in our New Orleans studio. Made from high-quality, hypoallergenic metals, our small sterling silver and gold earrings are the perfect earrings for new piercings. Shop for your earrings and an abundance of other stunning jewelry today. If you’re interested in attending one of our piercing events, don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter to stay informed about upcoming events.

Contact Marion Cage online or call us at 504-891-8848 if you have any questions or would like to know more about our best earrings for new piercings.