Sterling Silver Vs Rhodium Plated – Which One Is Better

In a world where we are all looking for ways to be better, it’s no surprise we have different metals for jewelry for different markets.

Notice that it’s hard to tell the difference in jewelry just by looking at them.

Sterling Silver jewelry 1

Of course, if you like jewelry, you have heard of sterling silver and the Rhodium-plated type. Today we shed light on the differences and similarities.

The two options come in a silver-ish color, and they will make even the most precious jewels if you like.

Understanding Rhodium plated and sterling silver jewels.

Rhodium metal is one of the most expensive metals on the market. It’s more expensive than even gold and platinum.

The cost is mostly influenced by the fact that it’s a rare metal. In most cases, you will find it as a byproduct of mining for another metal called platinum. This is then to say that its availability depends on the presence of platinum.

What is Rhodium plated sterling silver?

In simple terms, Rhodium plated sterling silver is the sterling silver medal that is coated in a thin layer of Rhodium to form a jewel.

Jewelers use this method because Rhodium is a non-reactive metal, and therefore it reduces the tarnishing that occurs with sterling silver.

Why would people put the Rhodium over sterling silver?

It’s simply that it’s just to give it an edgy look. Of course, sterling silver looks good, but sometimes you just want a difference.

It will also help with the tarnishing issues since the jewels won’t tarnish as they do. Ultimately, this increases the durability.

Rhodium is generally costly, which means that it draws a particular class. If you like classy, then buy the Rhodium-plated sterling silver jewels.

But why dont people use rhodium metal a lot in the jewelry line?

People have understood the fact that their price fluctuates. You will find it being costly today sometimes even ten times the price of gold; then tomorrow it will be cheaper.

So it can be very unreliable, and this is why the jewelers don’t like depending on it. This is especially true when you are looking for authentic Rhodium.

This metal is hypoallergenic, very lustrous to resist corrosion, and it’s further highly durable. Of course, this is the reason why some jewelers like it, especially over their sterling silver.

Sadly, it’s also hard brittle yet not malleable. This is why it only works on the plating part. Besides, it’s very costly that if you used it entirely to make the jewels, it would dramatically affect the price.

The plating will then work on gold, silver, brass, and other metals that make jewels. But don’t be mistaken; Rhodium-plated jewels are not your regular plated jewels. They are protective yet beautiful and valuable looking.

You will enjoy the white gold look on your jewels and the fact that Rhodium never tarnishes.

So Rhodium is just one of the metals in the family of platinum that is slowly gaining fame.

Why the Rhodium is great

We have stated above that rhodium metal is quite costly, but it’s also very brittle to make a jewel. This is all the reason why most people use it for plated jewels, and that’s the common type.

Rhodium Plated jewelry

Whether the material beneath is gold, silver, or brass, and it has imperfections, the Rhodium will hide that making it look all new and good.

The good thing is that the rhodium plating is shiny and will make the jewel you have even brighter and as good as new.

It’s hypoallergenic, so no cases of skin allergies when you are using it.

Besides, these metals are famous for being durable, so the jewels are sustainable. It’s further scratch-resistant, and this is a plus for when you have sterling silver beneath. So it’s a good jewel idea if you want it to last longer.

You no longer have to handle tarnishing cases like you do when you are using sterling silver. Therefore even if you have silver as the metal underneath, you won’t experience tarnishing.

You will enjoy the high luster and the whiteness of the jewel. Some people like the whiteness since it mimics the white gold metal for your jewels. When you use the Rhodium plated silver, then it will make your silver look modern stylish, and new.

Although if you like silver-like polish, then you shouldn’t choose the rhodium options.

What makes it not such a good idea

In this case, we are talking about rhodium plating, which is permanent. On the downside, it’s just plating, and that means one thing it will soon start to flake. It will begin to wear and tear.

After a year or two, you will need to re-plate it if you want it to keep looking perfect. But if you don’t use it frequently and store the jewels right, you can have it last up to ten years.

Is there a time when it doesnt work?

Of course, there are times when it won’t work just like any other metal or gadget. And while you want it to make all the jewelry better, it’s not always the case.

Think of it this way; there’s only a thin layer of Rhodium on your jewels. It will eventually come off, especially when it comes close to your skin.

It may not deliver the dark silver-ish color just because it is brighter. You can’t even use it in high polished silver as it will only spoil the beauty of the pieces.

The good thing is that it will cover you when you need the type to offset diamonds. Still, different jewels go with different plating. Unless you have the right pieces for Rhodium plating, it will not serve right.

Lets talk about sterling silver.

We already handled the sterling silver in length in the previous blogs. We, however, have to highlight a few things compared to this Rhodium-plated silver for you to understand it.

The metal contains 92.5% silver, and then you have 7.5% copper to make it hard and manageable. It maintains the perfect shine and features to make it look perfect. It’s also hypoallergenic, which is why people like it a lot more.

Related article: Sterling Silver Vs Silver

Features of the sterling silver

  • The appearance

This is the one thing that makes sterling silver more common than any other type of metal. It looks lustrous and beautiful with any kind of metal alloy you decide to use. The copper in the sterling silver doesn’t influence its appearance as much. It gives it the right hardness.

The good thing is that it will maintain the same glow and shine as regular silver.

  • The strength and durability

Since sterling silver has additional copper, it’s perceived as one of the strongest options. It further makes it manageable. The good thing though, is that the pieces are durable compared to most other types of jewels.

  • The cost

Generally, silver is one of the budget-friendly yet precious metals. And since this is not even pure silver, then it’s cheaper. So you will get one of the best quality at an amazingly che3apere rate.

  • It’s versatile

You can use the pieces of silver for different reasons. Whether you want them for the necklace bracelet or earrings, they will work. Besides, they will serve you even if you’re going to go on a special occasion.

  • You can easily customize it.

If you wanted to change the outlook, it’s much more manageable. Remember, the silver is easy to mold and change to the perfect look.

The differences between Rhodium plated and sterling silver.

You should know the difference between the two already. The Rhodium plated can have sterling silver beneath it or any other metal. It features a layer of Rhodium used to plate on a different metal. On the other hand, sterling silver is just metal and a whole jewel by itself.

  • The cost

Generally, Rhodium is much more costly than most other metals. This also applies to the Rhodium-plated jewels.

Compared to sterling silver, Rhodium-plated jewels are costly. Of course, this is not an option to go for when you want to choose if you are on a budget. If you are going to use rhodium metal over sterling silver, you can expect it to cost more.

  • Appearance

If you have seen these two types of metal, you will agree that sterling silver has the perfect shine and gloss. Sadly, sterling silver will start to tarnish soon, which then causes it to lose its shine. Rhodium-plated ones don’t tarnish, so they will maintain their look over time.

Remember, Rhodium has a mirror-like finish, and it will maintain the newness until you need to reapply it.

  • Versatility

No one’s better than the other. Both are perfect to use for different jewels, including necklaces, anklets, bracelets, and earrings.

It will give you a perfect look for different occasions you may need to attend. It gives you elegance and a chic style.

You can have silver under the rhodium layer, but you can also have gold and any other metal you would love to. Similarly, you can choose an alloy of silver and other different metals of choice.

  • Durability

There’s one thing so amazing about the rhodium plate, and it’s that it’s scratch resistant. However, it will soon begin to flake off since it’s just a plating. Sterling silver is, in fact, more durable, and this is regardless of it’s your day-to-day wear piece.

The metal is light, but it will serve you longer, especially if you know how to care for and maintain it.

Sterling silver is one of the options that you can use for generations if you especially keep it from tarnishing. Unfortunately, with time the sterling silver will start to tarnish regardless of what you do.

Rhodium plating jewels don’t tarnish, which gives them an edge over other metals.

  • Customizable

You will like sterling silver because you can easily manipulate it. If, for example, you would like to change the size, you can easily do it. These pieces are fun and classy to use with the different clothing styles.

You can use it for various events. You can also make it personal by adding a statement if you would like to.

If you are using a Rhodium-plated one, it will also give you versatility. You can personalize it if you like. You can wear it alongside different clothing, but then it’s hard to resize them to fit you. So although you can customize it, sterling silver is still better in this category.

  • Accessibility

Sterling silver is more accessible than Rhodium plated silver, and this is because rhodium metal in itself is rare. You can get the plated one if you want you can, but it’s just not as accessible as the sterling silver version.

Most jewelers use sterling silver just because it’s more accessible than the other options.

  • Hypoallergenic

The one thing that causes allergies is nickel. It doesn’t matter the metal you are talking about if it has an alloy of nickel within, then remember that it will cause dermatitis or skin reaction.

More reading:
Hypoallergenic Jewelry
Is Sterling Silver Hypoallergenic

Often sterling silver is hypoallergenic because most of the time, it only contains copper in the alloy. As for the Rhodium, we know that it’s hypoallergenic, too, making it the perfect choice for sensitive ones.

Which one is better between the rhodium plating and the sterling silver?

It’s hard for one to cut and say which one is better than the other because they both have their positives and negatives.

Rhodium plating is, however, an edge above the sterling silver. Remember, it won’t tarnish and therefore maintain the gloss and mirror-like finish over a long time.

More reading: Jewelry Metals That Don’T Tarnish

Sterling silver is equally an excellent precious piece, and one of the most loved yet readily accessible. Don’t forget that it’s affordable. The only downside is that it tarnishes. But remember Rhodium is plated, so you will need to re-plate it after two years if you want it to serve you longer.

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