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Removing plated silver

Have a customer with a sterling ring that was plated when it was
made. The plating is flaking off, and I offered to take it all off.
This is proving to be a challenge. Does anyone have a good

Mark Chapman


I have had very good results reverse plating with a chunk of lead in
a 30+% H2So4 bath around 6+ amps. Peals off most any plating (copper
and nickle too) but does leave the silver slightly frosted. Watch
like a hawk, when the current really drops you are done.

Any questions and I’ll dig out the formal instructions but normally I
just pretend.

Demand Designs
Analog/Digital Modelling & Goldsmithing

Don’t make the offer again? Risk and liability are inversely
proportional to any chance of success or financial benefit.

Richard Hart G.G.
Denver, Co.

Hi Mark you should heat the ring to a point to become red meaning
annealing process make sure there is no stone on the ring and
quenched in the pickling solution do this process repeatedly 2 to 3
times until the plating goes away good luck Raffi

The simplest way I have found to get it off is to burn it off.
(Torch) (As long as the metal underneath has a higher MP, of course.)



In the rare cases I get a ring to resize, and after I take it out of
the pickle to discover the ring is all coppery, I know it is
rhodium-plated. I have no choice but remove the entire rhodium
plating, and then repolish the exposed silver to make it looks like
new. So much of sterling jewelry, stamped.925 or Sterling is
rhodium-plated for tarnish resistance. I don’t have rhodium-plating
equipment, so I do the old tried and true method of emerying, mini
grinding wheels and polishing. That’s what you can do with the ring
that is flaking.



In good economic times it is a sad waste of time having to refinish
a sterling ring with damaged plating. In this current environment it
makes sense to be so much more careful to not waste time.

Two issues with Rhodium plating, bubbling of the plating, and
plating when pickled. Have you tried what has been mentioned on
Orchid for removing copper plating from pickling,

small amount of fresh mixed sodium bisulphate pickle and hydrogen
peroxide, 1/2 of each by volume?

Particularly butt saving when you pickle a charm bracelet that has a
rhodium plated charm that you did not notice.

When I am in doubt about whether a piece is plated, I use ascorbic
acid. Usually it it fairly easy to notice plating unless the ring is
really scuffed up, but the top of the ring will usually have areas
resistant to wear that reveal the plating. A simple test prior to
working on the piece is to use silver black on the shank. Rhodium
does not react.

Depending on what you are doing, the plating can turn black and in
recessed areas there is no way to remove the damage.

If I have a customer that wants a rhodium plated ring sized, I warn
them that the plating on the shank will crack, I will have to remove
the plating from the area and it will look different and I cannot
re-plate it. If the ring has a gem to protect, I protect the rest of
the ring by submersing it in water, it takes a really big torch and
about 3 seconds to melt the solder, one second to much and the shank
is damaged.

After several experiences with Rhodium plated sterling, I am much
more careful about working on sterling. The difference between the
look of plated and not plated sterling is enough that I can only
make the mistake if I am not paying enough attention to what I am
doing, and I have not copper plated or damaged plating for years.

Richard Hart G.G.
Denver, Co.

Richard, the last time I sized a rhodium-plated ring, it was for an
old friend, which I was doing it as a favor to her, and that was oh,
probably a good decade ago. After that, I was extremely wary of any
silver ring that came for sizing. Back then, I was just becoming
aware of rhodium plated silver jewelry and didn’t know what would
happened. Sometimes I will refuse to size a sterling ring if it shows
the cold chrome color that rhodium-plating gives and tell the
customer, I’m sorry, but if I size your ring, it’s going to ruin the
rhodium-plating. Gold/platinum rings, I’ll size anytime, but unless
it is a sterling ring I made and sold, I’m very wary of any modern
silver rings. In fact, rather than try to resize a sterling wedding
set for a client, I simply grinded away the inside of the rings, and
it was more comfortable and less thick. Sometimes, rings are too
thick and are uncomfortable.