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
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.