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Dark Rhoduim Plating

Sometimes when I rhodium plate my ring comes out looking smoky,
almost with a burnt look. I am careful with the voltage. Two and
one-half volts are what the instructions say. I electroclean the ring
first, then rinse it in distilled water. I also keep the solutions
covered and clean. Since rhodium is so expensive, I hate to buy more
unless I have to.

Any suggestions?

Dale Pavatte
Diamonds For You
Decherd, TN

Hello Dale,

Last time I had that problem I suspected my rhodium was
contaminated. Other peoples rhodium was whiter. I was plating a lot
of silver models. I also plated some dubious 9k. I asked around and
was told that the silver had leached into the mix, or I might have
used up my rhodium. There was no saving it. I bought some more. I
added some to the bad mix. It is good enough for the dubious stuff. I
keep the other for metals I am more confident with. Later I was
asked why my rhodium isn’t as good as another guys. I went to see
him and he is a cleanliness freak and that is your answer. He uses a
sealed jar to store it and perfectly cleans his beakers. The way he
does it looks like overkill. Air reaches the mix only when he is
plating. I emulated his procedures and my results are much better.
The biggest improvements for me come from how well I clean my stuff.
You also need to electroclean the piece at least twice and move the


At the repair shop I work at we have a three step process. First we
electroclean the piece, rinse in distilled water, dip in acid
activator, rinse again, and then to the rhodium, and a final rinse.
Each step has its own rinse jar of distilled water. Adding the acid
activator step has extended the life of our 5 gram bottle of rhodium
more than fourfold as opposed to only electrocleaning alone. You can
get the acid activator from Gesswein (Item Number: 210-0938 EarthGold
Acid Activator, 1 lb.) or Stuller (Item Number: 45-2040 2LB

Heather Moats

Hello Dale,

I also (as Phillip has mentioned) have had a major improve on
quality due to a freakishly fastigious cleansing and storing regime
being introduced. I am experimenting with different cradles at the
moment to try to get better results. I use copper wire but am trying
some titanium. It just seems to me the titanium consumes alot of the


It just seems to me the titanium consumes alot of the rhodium. 

Does the titanium get rhodium plated? If so, how does it look? I’m
always interested in anything about titanium-- please excuse me if
I’m being dumb.