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Article: Rhodium Plated Sterling Silver vs White Gold Jewellery: Which Is Better?

Rhodium Plated Sterling Silver vs White Gold Jewellery: Which Is Better?

Rhodium Plated Sterling Silver vs White Gold Jewellery: Which Is Better?

When it comes to choosing between rhodium-plated sterling silver and white gold jewellery, many factors come into play including aesthetics, durability, and cost. Understanding these differences can help you make a more informed purchasing decision that better aligns with your personal style, budget, and maintenance preferences.

In this blog, we compare rhodium-plated sterling silver vs white gold. We cover their pros, and cons and find out each one’s differences.

 

What Is Rhodium-Plated Sterling Silver Jewellery?

3mm sterling silver figaro bracelet

Rhodium-plated sterling silver jewellery features a thin layer of rhodium, which is usually plated over a 925 sterling silver base. Adding this layer of rhodium gives rhodium-plated sterling silver a shinier look. It also adds to the durability of the jewellery piece, reducing the rate of tarnishing when exposed to body oils and moisture.

Rhodium itself is characterized by its white and lustrous appearance. It is an extremely rare material, even rarer than gold, platinum, and silver. The metal is usually produced as a byproduct of mining platinum.

Pros

  • Hypoallergenic - Rhodium-plated sterling silver is extremely hypoallergenic. This is because rhodium doesn’t have any nickel.
  • Resistant to tarnishing and fading - Plating sterling silver jewellery with rhodium creates a more tarnish and fade-resistant jewellery piece. Rhodium itself is a non-reactive metal, creating a protective layer over sterling silver.
  • Durability - Rhodium plating over sterling silver creates a more durable and scratch-resistant piece.
  • Shine - When rhodium is plated on sterling silver, it adds to the jewellery piece's shine and creates a mirror-like appearance.
  • Value - Plating sterling silver jewellery with rhodium adds additional value to the piece. This is because rhodium is an extremely rare metal.


Cons

  • Price - The cost of rhodium-plated sterling silver tends to be higher than regular sterling silver pieces. This is because rhodium is an extremely rare and valuable metal.
  • Appearance - Although rhodium improves the shine of sterling silver base metals, it does create a greyer appearance.
  • Tarnishing and fading - Over time with exposure to body oils and moisture, the rhodium plating can fade. This will expose the sterling silver base metal underneath.
  • Maintenance requirements - Rhodium-plated sterling silver jewellery requires regular maintenance. You will need to regularly wipe down and take care of your pieces to maintain their appearance.

What Is White Gold Jewellery?

white gold jewellery

Jewellery made of white gold is composed of 75% gold and 25% nickel and zinc. The most common purities of white gold are 14K and 18K gold. Other alloys that are present in white gold jewellery include palladium and silver, which give the metal its white-silver appearance. Gold is often alloyed with other metals to improve its durability, as naturally, it is a softer metal.

White gold by itself is not entirely white and silvery. Naturally, the metal alloy has a more yellowish appearance. This is why it is often plated with rhodium, to give it a more white and reflective surface.

Pros

  • Appearance - White gold has an iconic white, bright, and shiny appearance.
  • Durability - White gold is an alloy of gold and other metals such as nickel and zinc. Being alloyed with other metals, white gold jewellery is extremely durable and scratch-resistant.
  • Resistance to tarnishing and fading - White gold jewellery is extremely resistant to tarnishing and fading. This is because white gold itself is a very non-reactive metal. In addition to this, white gold usually features rhodium plating which acts as a protective layer against tarnishing.
  • Value - White gold has a similar value to yellow gold. This makes white gold jewellery extremely valuable.

Cons

  • Less hypoallergenic - White gold may contain higher nickel content than other types of materials used for jewellery. Nickel is the main cause of skin allergies with jewellery.
  • Maintenance requirements - Rhodium plating over white gold needs to be maintained properly. This means regularly wiping and cleaning your jewellery to prevent the rhodium layer from tarnishing and fading.
  • Tarnishing and fading - Over time, rhodium which is commonly plated over white gold fades off. This can reveal a more yellowish tint of the white gold alloy underneath. This will need to be replaced to restore its appearances

Differences Between Rhodium-Plated Sterling Silver And White Gold Jewellery

  • Composition - Rhodium-plated sterling silver features a thin layer of rhodium, usually over a 925 sterling silver base. White gold jewellery is an alloy of gold mixed with white metals like palladium, nickel, or silver.
  • Colour - Rhodium-plated sterling silver jewellery has a greyer, shinier appearance. White gold jewellery has a more off-white pale yellow appearance.
  • Durability - Rhodium-plated sterling silver jewellery is less durable than white gold jewellery. Rhodium plating on top of sterling silver jewellery will eventually wear off, exposing the sterling silver base metal. Whereas white gold jewellery doesn’t tarnish, even if the rhodium layer fades.
  • Maintenance - Rhodium-plated sterling silver jewellery requires much more maintenance than white gold jewellery. Rhodium plating fades easily when exposed to moisture and body oil. In contrast, white gold doesn’t fade or tarnish.
  • Cost - Rhodium-plated sterling silver jewellery costs less than white gold jewellery. Silver is a less expensive and rare metal than gold.

Rhodium-Plated Sterling Silver Vs White Gold Jewellery: Which Is Better?

Whether rhodium-plated sterling silver or white gold jewellery is better for you depends on your personal preferences, budget, and needs.

Sterling silver is a great choice for someone who is looking for affordable silver jewellery that is extremely shiny and resistant to tarnishing. On the other hand, white gold jewellery is perfect for someone looking for jewellery that has a more off-white pale yellow appearance, is highly resistant to tarnishing, and requires less maintenance.

Conclusion

After comparing rhodium-plated sterling silver jewellery vs white gold jewellery, you should be aware of the pros and cons of each. At the end of the day, choosing between the two comes down to your personal preferences, budget, and styling needs.

Rhodium sterling silver jewellery is a much more affordable option and has a unique mirror-like silver appearance and great tarnish resistance. White gold jewellery is a more expensive option, has a more off-white pale yellow appearance, and requires much less maintenance.

Remember, when choosing between rhodium-plated sterling silver and white gold jewellery, choose whichever one best suits your budget, lifestyle, style, and needs, and whichever one makes you feel most confident when you wear it.

FAQs

How long does rhodium-plated sterling silver last?

How long rhodium-plated sterling silver will last will depend on how well you look after it. Generally, the rhodium plating on top of sterling silver will last a year or two. However, this is dependent on how often it is worn, exposed to friction, and exposed to moisture and body oil.

Does rhodium plating turn green?

No, rhodium plating itself doesn’t turn green. This is especially true when plated over sterling silver or stainless steel. However, if rhodium is plated over brass, then it can develop a greenish tint as the plating wears off.

Is rhodium-plated jewellery worth it?

Yes, rhodium-plated jewellery is worth it, especially when plated over high tarnish-resistant metals like sterling silver, stainless steel, or white gold. Plating jewellery with rhodium increases its shine, scratch resistance, and tarnish resistance.

 

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