Rhodium and its use as Plating with Sterling Silver Chains and Bracelets

What Rhodium is

Rhodium is simply a precious metal, just as Gold and Silver. But more specifically is closely related to Platinum – another well-known pricey precious metal.


We all know or at least think the KING of precious metal in terms of monetary value is Gold or Platinum. But start to compare this value of Rhodium versus Gold and you’ll quickly find Rhodium is more expensive than that of Gold in its raw, unaltered state. It’s been this way for a long time. In fact, at the time of writing this Rhodium is approximately 40% higher than Gold.


What makes it so much more valuable and expensive?

Overall, the value is firstly based on the inherent properties of this tangible metal and secondly based upon the ease of sourcing it from the Earth.


The inherent properties of this metal that make it desirable and valuable in such as high boiling points and being a tough, hard and durable precious metal.


Rhodium isn’t as easily extractable from the earth as Gold and Silver is. With Gold or Silver after digging deep into the earth, and washing the dirt, Gold And Silver particles just require some separation. If you’ve ever watched documentaries where you see miners pull out nuggets of Gold, you’ll understand our point.


Rhodium however isn’t as easily extractable, even if it’s spotted during because it is often embedded within rocks along with other elements, otherwise known as ore. Careful extraction of the Rhodium from the ore, which also contains other precious metals alongside the Rhodium, is extremely laborious and much care is required during extraction to ensure the other metals are also retained.


Where does Rhodium come from?

Just like the precious metal Gold and the precious stone Diamond, Rhodium is sourced from South Africa. However, unlike Gold and Diamonds being found all over the world, possibly around 60% of all Rhodium is sourced from South Africa.


What does Rhodium look like?

Rhodium is a bright metallic silver colour and for this reason is a great partner to plate onto Sterling Silver Chains. Albeit very slightly darker in appearance it bears an uncanny appearance to white gold. In fact, many engagement rings or wedding bands in white gold feature a Rhodium plate to protect such jewellery of high sentimental value.


Why is Rhodium used with Sterling Silver?

Whether you’re a regular wearer of Sterling Silver or not, you should be aware that the arch nemesis of Sterling Silver is tarnish. Tarnish is a temporary darkening of Sterling Silver, caused by oxidisation. If you’ve not seen our article on what Sterling Silver is and how to care for your Sterling Silver, including preventing tarnish, you can see our Silver Care guide here


With the inherent properties of Rhodium as a precious metal having a High melting and Boiling Point compared with Silver, it makes it incredibly resistant to tarnish.

Melting Point of Rhodium 1964°C vs  Melting Point of Silver 961°C

Boiling Point of Rhodium 3697°C vs Boiling Point of Silver 2162°C


Another reason is that when we’re looking specifically at its use with Sterling Silver jewellery, Rhodium is a very hard and therefore durable metal. Whilst Sterling Silver is stronger compared with just plain Silver when used in jewellery, a plating on top of Sterling Silver with Rhodium increases the durability of jewellery. Not sure of the difference between Silver and Pure silver? See our blog article by clicking here.


When we’re discussing the Hardness of a metal, we can refer to something in the jewellery industry known as the MOHS Scale, named after Friedrich Mohs who created it 3 centuries ago. Just like any scale there is a lower end, a middle and an upper end and this is a scale often used when talking about gemstones too. So at the lower end of the scale you typically have something very soft such as talc and on the other upper end of the scale you have a diamond – a hard item. It runs from 1 to 10. With 1 being talc and 10 being diamond.


For Pure Silver it’s said to be around 2.5-3 and for Rhodium it’s said to be around 6 on the MOHS Hardness Scale. Platinum is around 4.5, even less than it’s relative Rhodium and Pure Gold is said to be just like Pure Silver 2.5-3. 


Therefore, aside from value, scientifically having Rhodium plated upon Sterling Silver Chains is something of great benefit.


The majority of the leading luxury jewellery brands plate most of their Sterling Silver Jewellery with Rhodium as standard. Our new range Sterling Silver Chains and Sterling Silver Bracelets are plated with Rhodium to enhance longevity of Silver colour further and reduce the effect of tarnish and provide an additional protective barrier because of its hardness.


How is Rhodium plated on Sterling Silver Chains?

Different types of jewellery plated with Rhodium go through different processes depending upon the metal used. Importantly, when we’re talking about Sterling Silver Chains, as you’ll know chains are made up of different sizes of links, shapes, thicknesses and also intricacies.


Our latest additions to our stock this spring include heavy and thick sold Sterling Silver Chains and Sterling Silver Bracelets with this brilliant Metal plated on top to produce a brilliantly luxurious appearance. Our new range include:

  • 3 new Sterling Silver Diamond Curb Chains:  4.3mm, 5.4mm, 7.6mm wide
  • 2 new Sterling Silver Diamond Cut Anchor Mariner Chains: 4.5mm, 6.9mm wide
  • 2 new Sterling Silver Diamond Cut Figaro Chains: 5.4mm, 7.3mm wide
  • A new Sterling Silver classic Spiga Wheat Chain 3.4mm wide
  • A new Sterling Silver Rounded Box Chain Necklace 3.7mm wide
  • A new Sterling Silver Diamond Cut Rope Chain Necklace in 4.7mm width links
  • A new and exclusive Sterling Silver Square Foxtail Chain Necklace in 3.1mm width links


 Our Sterling Silver Bracelets to match the above include:

  • 3 new Sterling Silver Curb Bracelets with 6 sides of the link enhanced by a Diamond Cut finish in: 4.3mm, 5.4mm, 7.6mm link widths
  • 2 new Sterling Silver Figaro Bracelets also with 6 sides of the link enhanced by a Diamond Cut finish in: 5.4mm, and 7.3mm


All of our jewellery is backed by the Assay Assured scheme and articles over 7.78g all feature an official Hallmark stamped to certify strict testing and compliance. To learn more about the Assay Assured scheme by clicking here