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Article: Rhodium Plated vs Sterling Silver Jewelry: Which Is Better?

925 sterling silver moissanite gemstone bracelet

Rhodium Plated vs Sterling Silver Jewelry: Which Is Better?

Stuck on whether to get rhodium-plated or sterling silver jewellery? Not sure what the differences are? In this blog, we compare rhodium-plated vs sterling silver jewelry. We cover the pros, cons and differences between the two. At the end of the post, we also offer suggestions on which would be best suited for you.

What Is Rhodium-Plated Jewelry?

925 sterling silver figaro chain clasp

Rhodium metal is obtained as a by-product of mining platinum and palladium. The metal is characterised by its white silvery appearance that reflects up to 80% of light. Jewellery that is plated with rhodium will usually have a sterling silver base, but, the base metal can also be white gold or platinum. Less commonly, rhodium can also be plated over brass and copper base metals.

Plating jewellery in rhodium gives the base metal a more shiny look and increases durability and tarnish resistance.

  • Durability - adding a plating of rhodium over sterling silver creates a more durable and scratch-resistant jewellery piece. Rhodium has a purity of 99.9%, making it an extremely durable metal.
  • Resistant to tarnishing and fading - rhodium is non-reactive, and when plated over sterling silver creates a tarnish-resistant jewellery piece. This will keeps base metal from tarnishing.
  • Shine - Rhodium is a reflective silvery-white metal that adds additional shine to sterling silver. The appearance is almost identical to white gold.
  • Hypoallergenic - plating sterling silver with rhodium helps to create an even more hypoallergenic jewellery piece. This is because rhodium doesn’t have nickel within its composition.
  • Value - jewellery pieces plated with rhodium are much more valuable than pieces without. This is because rhodium is one of the rarest metals on earth.

  • Price - plating sterling silver with rhodium increases its value significantly. This is because rhodium is a precious metal and is rarer and more valuable than gold and platinum.
  • Appearance - when plating rhodium over sterling silver, the jewellery piece will be shinier, however will have a more grey appearance. This is a con for those who love the look white bright look of classic 925 sterling silver jewellery.
  • Tarnishing and fading - although plating sterling silver with rhodium improves tarnish resistance, eventually this plating will wear off. This will expose the base metal underneath.
  • Maintenance requirements - to maintain the rhodium plating on your jewellery pieces, you will need to regularly take care of them. This includes wiping down your pieces after wearing, making sure to take your jewellery pieces off before showering or swimming and so on.

What Is Sterling Silver Jewelry?

person holding 3mm sterling silver rope chain

Jewellery made from sterling silver consists of 92.5% silver and 7.5% other metals. Other metals in sterling silver include copper and nickel. Sterling silver jewellery is known for its bright white lustre.


  • Affordable - sterling silver is one of the more affordable precious metals when you compare it to gold, platinum or rhodium. This is a great option for those on a budget.
  • Appearance - sterling silver jewellery has a bright white lustre to it that is noticeably different to other silvery metals like white gold or platinum.
  • Value - sterling silver jewellery tends to retain and even increase in value over time. This is because silver is a precious metal.
  • Easy to repair - Sterling silver is a softer metal and is easy to fix with basic soldering.

  • Prone to tarnishing and fading - 925 sterling silver contains a small amount of nickel. This makes it more prone to tarnishing and fading when exposed to moisture, oxygen or body oil.
  • Durability - silver is not a very hard metal. On the MOHS hardness scale, the metal’s rating is 2.5 - 3. This means that sterling silver jewellery is very malleable and less durable for everyday wear.
  • Less hypoallergenic - 925 sterling silver contains small amounts of nickel. This can cause skin allergies for those that are allergic to nickel.
  • Maintenance requirements - Sterling silver jewellery needs to be wiped down and cleaned every couple of weeks to prevent tarnishing and fading.

Differences Between Rhodium-plated Jewellery And Sterling Silver Jewellery

  • Appearance - Rhodium-plated jewellery has a more grey look to it, whilst it has a higher shine and lustre. Whilst 925 sterling silver jewellery has a more white look, but is overall less shiny.
  • Purity - rhodium has a purity of 99.9%, whilst silver has a purity of 92.5%. This lower purity makes sterling silver slightly less durable than rhodium.
  • Value - both rhodium and silver are precious metals, but rhodium is much rarer. This gives rhodium a greater value than silver.
  • Price - rhodium is much rarer than silver. This means that rhodium tends to be much more expensive than silver. At the time of writing this, rhodium is priced at £120 per gram, whilst silver is priced at around £0.7 per gram.
  • Durability - rhodium is more durable than silver. This is because rhodium has a greater purity than sterling silver. Rhodium is also a much harder metal than sterling silver.
  • Resistance to tarnishing - rhodium is more resistant to tarnishing than sterling silver. This is because rhodium has a greater purity.
  • Hypoallergenic properties - rhodium is a much more hypoallergenic metal than silver. This is because rhodium has a 99.9% purity, whilst sterling silver has a 92.5% purity.
  • Maintenance requirements - Rhodium will require less maintenance than sterling silver. This is because rhodium has a higher purity and is less reactive when exposed to body oil, moisture or air.

Rhodium-plated Jewellery vs Sterling Silver: Which Is Better?

Whether rhodium-plated or sterling silver jewellery is best for you will depend on your personal preferences, styling needs and budget.

Rhodium plating has a greyer but shiny appearance. Rhodium-plated jewellery is great for those looking for jewellery that is long-lasting and tarnish resistant, that is also extremely hypoallergenic. Whilst sterling silver jewellery has a whiter and brighter lustre and tends to be more affordable and easier to repair.


After comparing rhodium-plated vs sterling silver jewellery, you should better understand the pros and cons of each. The choice between these two types of silver jewellery depends on your preference, budget and styling needs.

Rhodium-plated jewellery has a grey but shiny appearance and is extremely tarnish-resistant and hypoallergenic. Whilst sterling silver has an iconic bright white appearance, a heavier feel but is more susceptible to damage.

Remember, when choosing between these two types of jewellery, choose whichever one compliments your style and how it makes you feel when you wear it.


Is rhodium-plated jewellery good quality?

Yes, rhodium-plated jewellery is good quality. Higher quality, more expensive rhodium-plated jewellery will feature a 925 sterling silver base. Lower-quality, more affordable rhodium-plated jewellery will feature a brass or copper base material.

Plating jewellery with rhodium increases its reflective properties, improves its tarnish resistance and makes the piece more hypoallergenic.

What is the downside of rhodium plating?

The downside of rhodium plating is that over time it will wear off. This is because the plating is extremely thin and only a few microns thick.

How long does rhodium-plated sterling silver last?

Depending on how well you look after your rhodium-plated sterling silver pieces, you can expect it to last anywhere from 1-2 years. After this time, you may want to consider getting your pieces replated by a jeweller.


sterling silver jewellery collection


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