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Best process for plating rhodium over sterling


#1

When plating rhodium over sterling silver what is the best process?
We have been using a mini plating system from Gesswien. At the JCK
show we were told that to plate sterling silver properly it needs to
plated with a coating of palladium.

Can anyone share any experience with this.

Thank you
j


#2

Yes, you need an intermediate plate for rhod on silver. Most common
I believe is copper and nickel, hence the problem in repair of
rhodiumized silver. I haven’t tried the palladium.

Copper wire, to answer your other question. Its cheap, disposable and
does the job. Sometimes with complex pieces (bracelets for ex) you
might need to make the wire snake thru several locations to get a
good electrical contact, so something expensive might not be so
desirable, since you might have to chop the wire to shreds to get it
off.


#3

While I didn’t see the original post, I can further comment on this
subject: Using a “barrier layer” between Sterling and any other base
metal is highly recommended.

Rhodium, for all its hardness, is normally applied in only a very
thin layer, can be porous if improperly applied, AND is subject to
micro-cracking due to the stresses present because of the difference
in the very different hardness of the base metal, especially Silver.

Micro Cracking can allow tarnishing to appear, as if the Rhodium
itself was oxidizing, but what is happening is that caustic oxides
from the “exposed” silver underneath the Rhodium are climbing up
through the Rhodium. Hence the myth in the industry that Rhodium
plating will always need “re-plating” in the near term to maintain
its brilliant white appearance. This is mostly due to improper
plating procedure and methods. This can easily and cheaply be
avoided, part of that methodology being the “Barrier Layer” being
mentioned.

Both copper and nickel will work as a barrier layer if applied
appropriately, Nickel being preferred due to its Brightness and
Whiteness (which will enhance the Rhodium final appearance). Nickel
also does a great job at “leveling” and when properly applied, can
give your finished work a slightly more “liquid” and polished
appearance.

Where Nickel cannot be used, we recommend Palladium. While Palladium
does not level like Nickel, it is easy to use, it makes an excellent
barrier layer, as it is virtually non porous. We are a Rhodium
Plating Solution manufacturer for Jewelers: For on how
to use professional grade Rhodiums and Palladiums properly in YOUR
application, feel free to contact me offline

Regards,

Glenn Thompson
Davis K Products Inc.
http://www.davis-k.com