Does anyone have any recommendations on the removal of rhodium on
plated rings, short of C-4 plastic explosives. After working on a
plated item, all the rhodium needs to be removed to be bright
polished. Otherwise I end up with a spotty and milky replate.
Gesswein sells a line of platinum polishing compounds they import
from Japan. They are a finely graded series of aluminum oxide
abrasive rather than the usual silica or other gentler abrasives used
in polishing. They'll polish platinum much faster than traditional
agents, and will make short work of polishing off the rhodium you've
got too. Start with the 800 grit "tripoli", and you can then go
straight to the 8000 grit "rouge". If you like, an intermediate 1500
step can be used, but I generally use only those two grades. Use
seperate buffs for each grade of course. Though these compounds cost
a lot more than traditional polishing agents, frankly, I'm hooked on
the stuff. Differences in hardness such as in solder joints or
multiple metal joints, etc, just don't cause problems. Solder seams
don't polish out leaving lines. Even porosity leaves less drag lines
than with other polishes. And the "rouge" has enough cut to it still
to take out fine scratches, so even a contaminated rouge buff can
still give you a good final finish since it pretty much corrects it's
own error. Neutral in color, so it's easy to see color differences
such as incompletely removed underplating or rhodium, or fire stain
on silver, etc.
Last I looked, Gesswein offered a little starter kit of sample sized
bits. That's enough to remove a good deal of rhodium, if you only do
this occasionally, and is a good way to get a feel for these
One caution. Because this is basically aluminum oxide, it's capable
of buffing/cutting even hard materials, like Now with
cabs, opals, etc, this isn't bad, since the rouge just touches up the
shine on the stones too. But be careful with most facetted stones.
You can slightly round over the facet edges of most softer colored
stones if you're too aggressive with these compounds, a result which
is not generally an improvement to the look of the stone...