Sterling silver is the highest commonly found grade of silver used in cutlery, decorative silver and jewelry. Silver-plated objects are made of another metal, such as nickel or copper, and coated with silver. Sterling silver is worth a lot more than silver plate, so it is important to be able to tell the difference between sterling silver and silver-plated goods, whether you are buying or selling.
Look for a mark. All American sterling and much of the sterling from foreign countries is marked with the number 925, or 925/1000, or the word sterling. If the piece is American and doesn’t have this mark, it is not sterling. Be wary of pieces of any origin without this mark. Examine the piece, especially the edges, where the wear is greatest. Silver plate, especially low quality, eventually rubs off. The base metal will shine through on worn plated items.
Rhodium Plating On A Sterling Silver Ring
Rhodium plating is used over sterling silver to toughen it up and add resistance against daily wear and tear. Rhodium is harder than silver and has a high level of light reflectivity, creating a smooth, shiny surface that’s highly resistant to corrosive acids. Rhodium isn’t invincible. However, the best way to protect it is to keep it away from the acids and chemicals you encounter in your daily life.
Take off your rhodium plated rings when you sleep. Constant contact with body oils can eventually lead to discoloration. Apply lotions and perfume before you put on your ring. The chemicals in these products can help erode the rhodium plating over time. Make sure the products have dried on your skin before you put your ring back on.