Silver and Rhodium are both precious metals. They are both silver in color, but each has their own unique look and qualities. Which is better is primarily a matter of aesthetics and personal preference. They each have a special place in the world of jewelry.
Rhodium is a silver-white metallic element that is part of the platinum family of metals. It is highly reflective and resistant to corrosion & tarnish. It is considered the rarest and most valuable precious metal in the world — ranking much higher than both gold and silver. In jewelry, rhodium is primarily used for plating other metals, including silver & brass.
Rhodium adds shine, luster, and durability to jewelry. It gives jewelry a bright, reflective quality and protects against scratches and tarnish. Rhodium is naturally nickel-free so any jewelry that is plated with rhodium is hypoallergenic.
Rhodium plating, like any other plating, can wear off over time depending on how often the piece is worn & how much contact it has with other surfaces. The plating on a ring that is worn every day and brushes many surfaces is likely wear off much faster than a pair of earrings for example.
One of the biggest benefits of rhodium is that it doesn’t tarnish. A rhodium-plated piece of jewelry can keep its shiny luster for years. Silver jewelry, on the other hand, can tarnish when exposed to air.
Sterling silver is 92.5% silver with 7.5% of another metal (typically copper) added. It is the copper in the sterling silver that makes it prone to tarnish, as copper reacts to moisture, sulfur, and other chemicals in the air. While pure silver does not tarnish, it is much too soft withstand jewelry wear. Tarnish can be easily wiped away with a soft polishing cloth. To minimize tarnish, clean your silver jewelry often and store it in sealed air tight bag when you are not wearing it.
Silver has a beautiful white-gray appearance. While not as reflective as rhodium, silver can be polished to a beautiful shine. Sterling silver is considered to be hypoallergenic as there is no nickel in its composition.
Side-by-side, rhodium typically looks shinier and slightly darker than sterling silver. Sterling silver has a whiter appearance and a slightly muted shine. We feature both of these beautiful metals in our Elevate collection.
Below are more examples of rhodium & sterling silver. Click the images to take a closer look.
MORE RHODIUM EXAMPLES
MORE STERLING SILVER EXAMPLES