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Rhodium plating without nickel under plate


Hello all,

In my experience rhodium is one of the more difficult solutions to
master. I’m by no means a chemist but I can tell you that rhodium is
very acidic and is contaminated by the copper in sterling which will
leach into the rhodium. Use a high karat gold handling wire or
stainless steel, if using copper be very sure it is also nickel
plated. When trouble shooting with customers I can tell you that
cleaning is the most over looked, taken for granted step(s). A small
particle of rouge will also quickly contaminate rhodium.
Additionally, keep in mind that Elecrocleaner is a Base, so be sure
to always use Acid Dip after the Electrocleaner because it will also
negatively effect your rhodium solution. One last point and I’ll quit
babbling, each solution should have it’s own dedicated distilled
water rinse. “Always have two beakers and beaker covers for each
solution” is what I tell my customers.

Hope this helps,

Thackeray Taylor
Rio Grande Technical Support
505-839-3000 ex 13903

In my experience rhodium is one of the more difficult solutions to

Man, that Otto Frei!! Where would we be without them?? Aren’t they
the best? (True, but kidding, too). Steve Frei and I aren’t exactly
pals, but we’ve known each other over the years, and as it turns out
he’s an Orchid reader (Hi, Steve). Whatever his title is, he’s
pretty much the boss over there. He called me this morning and gave
me the scoop on this topic. He called the chemist at Cohler, who’s
also a partner of the company. Cohler is the company that makes the
plating solutions that Frei carries. The chemist told him “No way is
silver going to contaminate a rhodium plating bath.” My chemistry
background tells me the same thing, but then again I’ve watched
silver items destroy a solution. As we discussed this morning, maybe
it’s not the silver at all, but other things (solder…). Anyway,
that’s pretty much the horse’s mouth. There is a small rhodium
plating guide off of this page:

which is Otto Frei’s tech page, too. They do say that silver should
be preplated for best results, too. But again, according to the guy
who makes it, silver should be fine in a rhodium bath.


This is the address for Cohler plating supplies - very nice plating
guide there, too, under support, among other things:

{Got an email with this just after I sent the orig. message}