Heavy silver bracelets

Since the popularity of the heavy silver jewelery I have also had the
problem of trying to refinish them after the rhodium plating (which I
hate and think should be banned by the industry) is half worn off and
the rest scratched and oxidized. Has anyone had any luck with a
procedure that works and is not too time comsuming. Customers don’t
seem to be willing to pay very much for what they think is easy,
(like gold refinishing). Thanks, Barb in Canada

Possibly off-topic but ‘Customers don’t seem to be willing to pay
very much for what they think is easy’ is a case of ‘never a truer
word was spoken’ - and it doesn’t just apply to jewellery. I write
websites as my day job, and a change recently requested by a customer
looks, on the face of it, to be easy and straightforward. So far I
have worked on it for two solid days, and it is likely to take at
least another two. I am extremely fortunate in that this customer
knows that ‘simple change’ doesn’t necessarily mean quick, easy or
not much work. I have achieved this understanding by providing him
with a detailed breakdown of the work involved in each and every
change to his website, web page by web page, so he can see exactly
what is involved, and as a result he never quibbles about the cost.

I wonder if an approach like this would work for refinishing and

By the way, I detest rhodium plating as well and agree it should be


Hello Barb, Why not wear off the rest of the plating by tumbling?
Judy Hoch, what say you? Is this possible? Judy in Kansas

Judy M. Willingham, R.S.
B.A.E. 237 Seaton Hall
Kansas State University
Manhatttan KS 66506
(785) 532-2936 FAX (785) 532-6944


I’ve removed old rhodium and nickel plating from silver by reverse
plating in around a 30% sulphuric acid bath with a lead cathode. A
25 amp rectifier is preferable for large bracelets, initial current
levels are high, drops when almost done. Keep an eye on it or it will
eat solder. Pieces come out with a frosted surface which responds
well to tumbling with steel. Nasty chemicals and electricity involved
but it is the least labour intensive (and safest for the piece)
method I’ve found for a miserable and needless problem job.


Demand Designs
Analog/Digital Modelling & Goldsmithing

We have been having numerous problems with silver jewelry that we
have been stocking our store with. Namely silver jewelry from
Quality Gold Company, who have been going through since we have just
opened our store and it currently fits uor budget.

The pieces that we have received from them are heavily rhodium and
nickle plated. This had led to us having to tell our customers that
no repairs will be able to be done by our jeweler on these certain
pieces. We have however replaced a few rings that we sized and found
the nickle plating cracked and worn away. We have had to take the
loss in money due to this process. Why would they plate these pieces
knowing that it would be so difficult to refinish these pieces after
any repairs that involve heat? It is absolutely ridiculous.

I would too like to know if anyone has found a technique that can be
used to refinish these pieces, or even a company that is proven not
to use this plating on their pieces. We would love to get rid of
this inventory that is in most aspects trash.

Richard Jones
RJ Manufacturing
Cottonwood Jewelers
PO Box 668
Cottonwood, CA 96022
TEL (530) 347-9681
FAX (530) 347-9683


Can the “reverse plating” method you describe be done with a
titanium anodizer? My understanding of practical electricity is very
basic. I know I can regulate the voltage on the rectifier, and I
know that I have a choice about the “speed” with which it works at a
given voltage. So that would be…? Not a clue. I’d like to remove
rhodium from a few things, but not enough to invest in new
equipment. But I would love to be able to use my anodizer for
plating and/or electroforming, if that can be done. Anyone? Thanks!


Noel, Ouch !!! A titanium anodizer is designed to output 0 - 150
Volts DC at a fairly low current with an emphasis on voltage control.
Plating rectifiers have an output usually of only up to 12 volts DC
with the current being controlled between 0 and 10 (or 25) amps. Just
thinking about using an anodizer for stripping or plating SCARES me
enough that I don’t want to think about it. A much better option
would be a car battery charger. No real control but then none is
really required for stripping plating. With some anodizer designs it
is possible to use its variac to control a battery charger and end up
with the equivalent of a commercial plating rectifier. Not rocket
science but given the lethal voltages coming out of the wall socket
and proximity to conductive liquids probably not an ideal first
electronics project.

Demand Designs
Analog/Digital Modelling & Goldsmithing

Another thing they won’t pay for is time and material intensive
repairs to cheap stuff. Oh, they want it done, but if they only
paid $100 for a piece, they don’t want to pay more than $10-15 to get
it fixed, no matter what the problem. And, by the way, it better be
better than it was new, too, thank you just the same. Theory also
applies to nice estate pieces that they come by for little money, in
need of repairs or restoration. They base what they are willing to
pay for repairs on what they paid for the piece, not on its value.

My rant for the morning, thank you.


I guess they probably do the plating because most of their customers
want pieces that stay shiny with little or no maintenance, like the
gold will. Perhaps a light steaming once in a while to get off any
dust or fingerprints, but not any tarnish. Too labor intensive to
remove it from pieces that are not high end to start with. At least
that is the mentality I have run into too often with wholesale
customers. Many main stream jewelers, it seems, don’t really
appreciate silver and only sell it as a side line to accomodate
customer requests. With little or no appreciation, they tend to sell
the cheapest junk they can, most of which is plated to keep it
bright. Those with proper respect for the metal realize its beauty,
including the aging process, and will care for it properly either in
their showcases or their home, depending on whether we are talking
about retailers or consumers.

I love silver for what it is, and I can make some pretty nice pieces
in it. I also love to combine it with gold for special effects.
Sadly, the store I work from (NOT FOR, THANK GOODNESS) seems to look
down on silver and will have almost nothing to do with it. Without
the ability to display my silver work, I have not been doing as much
of it. Fortunately, I like gold and platinum, too, so I can always
find some outlet. For that matter, I have a hard time welling any of
my own pieces through the store because I price it for what it is,
original designs created and/or finished on the premises. I do use a
subcontractor for casting, but I am not trying to start the
‘handcrafted’ fight all over again. I am still marking the pieces
too low, but I am up against a mentality that things like charms and
small pendants, rings, etc, should be sold by the gram, not for what
they are. Some of the charms I create in limited numbers cost me
more than comparable size pieces sell for retail. Yes, the
difference is obvious, at least to me, but the customers would rather
buy a poorly made piece for $10 or less than a quality one for $20 or
more. In the right market, the pieces do sell. I have wholesale
customers who can get full triple key markup on the specialty charms
they buy from me, so I know the stuff will go in the right market.
I also know that where I work is NOT the right market for my stuff,
but the repair work keeps the rent paid, at least for the time being.
Well, that’s my 2nd rant in the same morning, I guess that is my


I often wonder just whom “they” are. They certainly seem to get
blamed for everything and anything.

Why rant online? I know a smile and a simple response regarding the
repair cost is far more customer service oriented than a rant about
costs and a toothache. Teresa

Jim, you’re right, I’ve been asked to repair stuff that has now been
stashed in a drawer (waiting for the owner to pickup) for several
years because they bough the piece, inexpensively on E-Bay or have
had it in the family for years, and don’t want to spend the $30.00
that I charge for repair (and that’s cheap!!!)