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Resize rhodium plated silver ring with accent stones

I understood this topic has already been discussed. But I know someone worked it out, so maybe it worth to discuss it again here.

My understanding is that the rhodium layer is burned to black by soldering work, that’s the key problem.

I tried to either polish the rhodium first or polish the black layer after torch work, only problem is those places under small stones, I can reach there.

Currently I’m doing a silver plating in the last step to cover up the dark spot under these small stones. It kind of work, but I’m wondering if anyone has a better idea.

Many thanks

Hello Syzjewelry,
That rhodium plating is awful. If the piece has rhodium and the work requires using a torch, I just refuse it. No doubt someone has the better solution and it probably involves toxic chemicals and a complex procedure.

Of course there are non-invasive means to size a ring down, like wrapping wire around the shank or clamping on one of those little bands to make the inner diameter smaller. You can try stretching the band to enlarge a ring, but that can force the rhodium to crack. Pretty difficult to repair.

The silver plating might work but what about the future tarnish under the stones. Sigh.

I’ll be interested in what others can say about this.
Judy in Kansas, who is making ‘rholiki’ - a kind of Czech crescent roll. Going to deliver to several friends by hanging the bag on their door and ringing the bell. Kind of like delivering a May basket…if anyone remembers them.:wink:

Hi Judy_in_Kansas,

Thanks so much for the input.

Yes I think it must involve chemicals to make it work. To stretch up, i found it might work for one size up, maybe 2 max, otherwise, the band will be stretched too thin. I usually polish the band after resizing, and remove the cracked rhodium layer.

On a side note, may I know what’s preferred by most of your guys? with or without rhodium plating? If without rhodium plating, would it get tarnish under the stones quicker and hard to clean too?

I’m still relatively new to bench jewelry, apologize if sounds too dumb.

John from Syzjewelry

Hello John,
I believe that rhodium plating is a commercial finish. From what I’ve read, the process involves some toxic chemicals. As an art jeweler, I embrace the patina that naturally occurs. If you’ve seen any of Judy Hoch’s stunning work, note the intentional use of colorful patinas.

My preferred silver alloy is tarnish-resistant like Argenitum, Continuum, etc. That doesn’t mean non-tarnish; it means tarnish occurs slowly and is more easily removed. So far as a stone setting, if it’s a cab that is translucent/transparent, and is set in a bezel on a backing, lining the setting with a piece of shiny mylar cut to fit, eliminates darkening behind the stone. Other settings with open backs or those utilizing a pronged head don’t darken the stone.

Again I say, embrace the patina on silver. It gives contrast and character.

That’s just my opinion and I’m sure others will chime in.

Judy in Kansas

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The problem is not the rhodium. It’s the nickel under the rhodium. It blisters and turns grey from heat. The best thing to do is not work on that type of jewelry unless you warn the customer. If you do run into that problem you could always replate but you need bright nickel plate first then rhodium. Silver will screw up your rhodium solution if not nickel plated first.
Mike

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I see. I thought it’s the rhodium layer. no wonder I see the grey color when tumble these settings.

Isn’t it a lot of people allergic to nickel?

John

Hi Judy,

I think what you did is an artistic work to me. I’m still an newbie and in the starting stage, lot to learn ahead. :slight_smile:

John

Yes some people are allergic to nickel. The rhodium covers the nickel until it wears off. Do you have a lot of pieces?

Mike

Yes, I work primary on these. I’ve been wondering if I should switch to plain sterling silver. But someone told me silver must coated with rhodium :frowning:

Silver does not have to be plated.
The cheapest kind of commercial silver jewelry is rhodium plated because in the sort of stores where these things are sold management is not about to pay their employees to polish hundreds of small rings, pendants, earrings, etc. So rhodium plating is a selling point for the manufacturer. They could tell the store buyers that their jewelry would never tarnish, even if it were to sit in the showcase for several years.
I’m talking about the kind of cheap rings and things one finds in mass market department stores and discount stores.

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What Mike from cf jewelry and Elliot Nesterman both said. Given a choice most professional trade jewelers will refuse to size rhodium plated rings. The silver is first copper plated, then nickel plated and finally rhodium plated. Copper must first be applied to silver to get it t take properly. The silver will contaminate and ruin the very expensive rhodium solution and give off some nasty fumes at the same time. When heated by a torch the copper, nickel, and rhodium blister and peel off unevenly. When one tries to polish off the nasty bits left behind the rhodium that is left is much harder than the silver and you end up with an un even surface. The rhodium and nickel cannot be electro stripped off so you have to manually abrade off what is left of the plating without further removing more of the base silver that is showing then re-polish out your abrasion marks. It takes often more than a good hour to do so. Then you have to re-plate the ring first in copper, then nickel, and then in rhodium. Thus costing waaay more in time spent that you can charge for the sizing. It’s not only a pain in the ass but a money looser as well. I always recommend that the client return the ring to the manufacturer or the place it was purchased to be sized. If they made or sold the piece of junk let them take the hit.
-Jo

wow, that’s much much more complicated than i thought.

Hostly I only push the prongs and set the stones in the past, until recently I started to do the polishing work and help resizing for customers. I found it’s so hard to restore the ring after resizing, so I’ve been doing research on the topic. tumbler, polishing, chemicals, electroplating and etc, still no luck.

I’m selling settings too, and I was really confused sometimes when a client asked for settings without rhodium plating. I guess now I understood. I’ll weigh and decide if were to get ride of rhodium plating in the future.

Thanks so much everyone for enlightening and sharing the experience!

John

I have to do those sorts of rings all the time, as my work sells them. I dislike it,but since I have no choice about it, I bury as much of the ring as I can in heat protecter(either Kool Jewel or gravel) use the lower flowing silver solder and torch it as fast as I can. Then I polish with care,and get it to look as best as I can. Not the best situation,but there you go. We DO refuse to size silver rings with plating that were purchased elsewhere.