Rhodium Plated vs. Sterling Silver?

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Original Post

atlantisak says

First off, Happy New Years!

Now, a question. I've been seeing and hearing that -Rhodium plated- items are better than silver...would that mean better than -sterling- silver?

Has anyone worked with this, and what are the results?


Posted at 6:49pm Jan 1, 2010 EST


They are two different things.

Sterling silver is 92.5% silver with 7.5% copper added. It is a really nive metal, and I love the glowy patina it can get with use. Also it tarnishes.

Rhodium plated silver is fine or sterling silver that is polished and dipped in rhodium. It has a bright finish, similar to white gold items, and it doesn't tarnish. You can't have a ring sized and if you get it fixed, you ruin the plating.

I personally prefer straight silver. It doesn't mean one is better than the other, but you can size and work with silver. Fine silver is pure silver BTW. It is usually stamped .999

Posted at 7:16pm Jan 1, 2010 EST

I meant to say sterling silver is really a nice metal!

And it is really a matter of preference, but I do like sterling silver better.

Posted at 7:17pm Jan 1, 2010 EST

Personally I like rhodium better. You can get it sized if it's rhodium. I did it, but I assume they take the rhodium off and then re-dip the ring after it is sized. I like shiny sparkley as opposed to the more vintage look which is what I think sterling silver looks like. But like VeronicaRStudio says, it's a matter of preference.

Posted at 7:22pm Jan 1, 2010 EST

Agreed...I certainly wouldn't call rhodium "better", but it has it's place.

I use some rhodium chain if I want a heavier chain that isn't going to tarnish/dull. For anything else, sterling and fine silver are lots easier to work with, especially if you're soldering, stamping, forming, etc. The rhodium finish scratches easily also.

Posted at 7:24pm Jan 1, 2010 EST

Rhodium finish will wear off with time and use and needs to be redone. Sterling silver is durable but tarnishes. I think the price has a lot to do with what is used to keep an item affordable.

Posted at 7:44pm Jan 1, 2010 EST

Rhodium is a platinum group metal that is much used industrially and is very expensive.
No such thing as a solid rhodium item.
well possibly, but at an average of over 4100.00 an ounce it isnt likely.
Due to that fact it is plated extremely thin.
Its use in jewelry was originally to hide the ugly gray color of nickel white golds.
Its use as a silver anti tarnish was ushered to high popularity by the Paloma Picasso silver line, since then its use has broadened considerably.
It has a different luster than silver, and is not as white as fine silver, nor as yellowish as sterling.
While attractive, it can be a real pita to maintain. and once worn through needs to be stripped and re plated. Not a cheap process.
Like may things trying to be something they are not it is fraught with shortfalls. Many jewelers wont repair the items, the items wear unevenly, not all jewelers have electroplating equipment. It cannot be polished as it will wear away, scratches easily and is not very durable.
But other than that it is an attractive metal.

Posted at 7:48pm Jan 1, 2010 EST

oh, it is not used to plate palladium white golds. they are very pretty all by themselves.

Posted at 7:49pm Jan 1, 2010 EST

Yes, rhodium is used to plate white metals. Jewelers use it to make the diamonds "look" whiter because the metal is whiter with rhodium plating. On sterling, it does keep it from tarnishing near as fast. Eventually the rhodium will wear off and you will get the original metal. Soooo don't wear your rings when you are using chemicals, ie dishwashing, washing the car, animals, scrubbing the floors, washing windows..

Posted at 7:58pm Jan 1, 2010 EST

Um, while I wont argue the point, that is a marketing ploy. The diamond gets its light from the front its color is not affected by the metal it is set in. Your eye sees a diamond and yellow gold side by side and compensates the contrast. With a white metal the colors compliment and there is less compensation.
White gold made with nickel which is cheap has a strong gray cast to it. Platinum is NOT plated, Palladium white gold is NOT plated. If silver tarnishes at all with rhodium on it it is a poor plating job.

Posted at 8:03pm Jan 1, 2010 EST

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