Flaking of rhodium off silver

I have two rings I made from sterling silver flat stock from Stuller. I took them through a cycle of plating (electroclean at 5 volts, acid activator, clean earth nickel free preplate at 2.5 volts, rhodium at 5 volts, distilled rinse every step, soak time 60 seconds). After just a couple weeks of wear, the plating started to flake off on both the inside and outside of the rings. Any ideas what could cause this and what I can do to prevent it from happening again so quickly? I’ve advised against rhodium plating silver and leaving the metal natural, but I can’t persuade the guest otherwise.

What is nickel free preplate? What is the preplate compound made of?

Neil A

It’s this: Clean Earth Nickel Free, Quart, Item No. 45.222 - Grobet USA

I tried finding information on what it is made of, no luck. Does it say on the container? What I did see said it was best used over copper mirror, presumably another of their products. Did you do that?

I have limited experience with plating. The times I had plating flake off, I way overdid the thickness of the plating. Otherwise, it was just cook-book - follow directions, get results.

Neil A

I don’t have any good advice either. Sorry! I’ve only ever done rhodium plating over white gold. A different process.

One thing that I almost always recommend is to go back to where you bought the product and ask them for advice. Most jewelry tool companies have a technical support division for customer issues.

Again, sorry that I can’t be more helpful!


The only thing I get out of it is that it is as the name says, Nickel free and if you zoom in it is also Cyanide free.

The MSDS sheet will have the ingredients listed. Contact Grobet technical customer service.

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