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Plated Thai Silver

I’m sure this question has been addressed here before but I can’t
find it.

What are they plating silver jewelry from Thailand with?? It looks
like silver but acts like chrome; It bubbles and lifts up off the
piece and can then be peeled like a Malaluca tree. And forget about
polishing it afterwards, it’s got some really white metal (nickel?)
underneath it & copper plated under that. Below the copper is the
alleged .925 but by the time you get there and surface embellishments
are history. The distributors say it’s rhodium but I seriously doubt
they’s put that kind of money into this cheap poop.


while I can’t tell you whether the outer layer is actually rhodium or
some substitute, I CAN attest that rhodium plating on silver often
behaves and looks exactly as you describe. Copper first, then
nickle, then rhodium (or a substitute), and all the crappy reactions
to heating if you try and solder it. Sometimes even a more powerful
ultrasonic will mess it up, if the original copper didn’t adhere



I haven’t seen Thai stuff recently but your description sure sounds
like standard plating procedure. Copper flash for bond, bright nickel
build up to make smoother, and a top flash most likely fine silver.
Heat it and the nickel does really bad things.

It is possible to strip all of the plating leaving a frosted silver
surface but the extra work involved I only used for rather expensive
repairs. As I remember 40% H2SO4 with a lead Cathode (bass-ackwards
from plating) and about 6 volts, lots of amps. There is a better
description in an old post of mine in the archives, or I can dig out
my reference book with the exact details.


we think it is chrome plated. it seems to be harder than a file.
don’t take it in under any circumstances. nothing good will come of
trying to repair it. don’t solder it or hammer it. it’s not worth
your time and effort only to have an unhappy customer. it may seem
that i’m being a bit harsh but i’ve had 35 years experience and have
seen these pieces a number of times.