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Tanzanite & rhodium plating


#1

Hello I thank you in advance for your very helpful reply.

I have been commissioned to make a ring out of 18ct white gold that
will have a rather large Tanzanite and some yellow diamonds set in
it. I would rather make it out Platinum but the customer insists on
W/G (twit). Anyway they will probably also want it rhodium plated
and as the stone is reported as being worth $11,500 I thought I
would find out if rhodium or caustic soda (sodium hydroxide) affects
tanzanites at all . If anyone has any info or if you have plated
tanzanite set jewellery with rhodium before I would appreciate your
advice . Reason I am so concerned is I have seen some tourmalines
and peridots go some awful colours after being rhodium plated .
thank you


#2
  Anyway they will probably also want it rhodium plated  an=

d as

the stone is reported as being worth $11,500 I thought I  w=

ould

find out if rhodium or caustic soda (sodium hydroxide) affects =
tanzanites at all .

Phil, I have on many occasions rhodium plated tanzanite set =
rings
with no ill effect on the stones. They are heat sensitive, however,
so to be on the safe side I always use the lowest heat setting
suggested for the solution ( in the case of the solution I’m
currently using that temp is 90 degrees F.) and preheat the stone and
ring first using denatured alcohol and then a distilled water rinse;
both of which are warmed in my ultrasound tank.

** IMPORTANT** Do not run the ultrasound while the tanzanite is in
there; it will fracture the stone.

 Reason I am so concerned is I have seen some tourmalines and
peridots go some awful colours after being rhodium plated . 

I’m not sure of the reason the tourmalines were affected by =
the
process; peridot, however, is very sensitive to acids and all of the
rhodium plating solutions I have worked with are acid based; either
sulfuric or phosphoric acid in their composition. I don’t believe you
should have any problems with this plating operation as long as you
keep in mind tanzanite’s sensitivity to shock (both mechanical and
thermal).

Good Luck, it’s setting that beastie I’d be most concerned with,
especially in 18k white gold. Paul D. Reilly
Colorado Springs, Colorado


#3

Phil, I am not sure if tanzanite is sensitive to chemicals involved
in plating, though I would definately not place a tanzanite in hot
electrocleaning solution as you would other gems.

I have been getting good results by electrocleaning items in room
temperature solution but vigorously agitating the item and leaving
it in solution a little longer than normal. I don’t recommend this
for items with a large surface area, such as a wide band, or for
items that haven’t been thoroughly cleaned by ultrasonic and steam.

Consider plating the item before setting the tanzanite. The ring
should be polished to a final finish before setting the tanzanite
anyway to ensure that the stone isn’t stressed after setting by
having to clean off all that polishing compound.

What little area of rhodium that is removed by the setting process
will be the price the customer pays for making you set a tanzanite
in white gold. You could use a pen plating system to replate the
prong tips as well, though it doesn’t sound like you have that type
of system. As well, you can surely tell the owner of the stone that
there are just some limitations to setting tanzanite in jewelry.
One limitation is that you can’t risk plating.

Good luck,
Larry


#4

Do mention to her that the expensive tanzanite, when set into a
ring, will chip and loose its value so fast that she will be able to
hear the dollars fluttering past in the wind of time!

Why do people insist that we make chocolate teapots and glass
hammers?

Tony Konrath


#5
 Anyway they will probably also want it rhodium plated and as the
stone is reported as being worth $11,500 I thought I would find out
if rhodium or caustic soda (sodium hydroxide) affects tanzanites at
all . 

We’ve rhodium plated tanzanite in white gold before, any number of
times. Never had a problem. DO remember that Ultrasonics and
Tanzanites shouldn’t mix, and I’m usually shy about the heat shock a
steamer can give them too. but electrocleaner and rhodium never have
given me any untoward surpises with the stuff…

  Reason I am so concerned is I have seen some tourmalines and
peridots go some awful colours after being rhodium plated . thank
you 

Peridot is no surprise, as it is slowly attacked by the sulphuric
acid based rhodium (or in your pickle, too) shouldn’t change colors,
but certainly might etch a bit, though if you’re fast, perhaps not
too noticably(?). but tourmaline? That surprises me… Never seen
any problem with tourmalines in plating…

Peter Rowe


#6
   Why do people insist that we make chocolate teapots and glass
hammers? 

And which of the murphy’s laws dictates that the more fragile and
valuable the stone, the more likely the customer will insist on a
heavy hammer set bezel in 18K superwhite gold (high nickel, and
sometimes as hard as steel, it seems)?

Peter


#7
And which of the murphy's laws dictates that the more fragile and
valuable the stone, the more likely the customer will insist on a
heavy hammer set bezel in 18K superwhite gold (high nickel, and
sometimes as hard as steel, it seems)?

Because there is always someone out there who will figure out a way
to do it and thereby raise the bar for the rest of us. Periodically,
someone presents us with something that is, for all practical
purposes, un-do-able. Learn to say NO! If you don’t, there is a land
mine out there waiting for you to step on it. Perhaps a big
tanzanite to set in 18 nickle white (done that, been there), maybe a
big, heavily included but nonetheless expensive emerald to set in a
heavy channel (got the tee-shirt from that one). . .whatever. . .and
it will cost you big bucks as well as heartache and an adrenaline
hangover. There are also many who have learned to pass on
responsibility for these dangerous jobs to others who’s egos, they
know, will tempt them to pick up the hot potato. Ask yourself, “What
are you trying to prove and to whom?” Is there a Law of JewelryLand
that says that just because a customer wants something stupid done we
have to do it?

David L. Huffman


#8

David, How right you are ! There is no way you can satisfy ALL the
demands of our various customers. This point came to me just day
before yesterday when a very distraught young lady came to me with a
ring that had been absolutely butchered by the jeweler she had
commisioned to make her custom wedding ring. There was no way that
the ring could have been resuscitated short of starting all over.
Furthermore, the wedding was to take place this weekend ! And, as if
that were not enough, the design that she had concocted was
completely impractical. Had I gotten into this situation it would be
tantamount to the proverbial intervention in a domestic
dispute…I might well have been the victim rather than the hero !
The other scenario in which you are treading on thin ice is the one
of the customer bringing in a piece of junk which should never have
been taken out of the Cracker Jacks box. There is no mystery to the
fact that the standards of the jewelry industry have fallen to
abysmal levels in recent years. It isn’t so much the assumption that
low quality has never been available, but, rather, that a lot of
jewelry that is offered as quality merchandise is really poorly
disguised junk. The fact that we now have I 3 diamonds is testimony
to this fact. ( Actually, there are now diamonds used in jewelry
that wouldn’t even qualify as I 3’s…they are totally opaque ! )
In other cases we are dealing with size thirteen rings which have
paper thin shanks…guaranteed to collapse just after purchase. I
have always wished that there were at least some agency such as
consumer reports which would test products and make recommendations
to consumers so that the industry would not incur the bad rap that
has undermined consumer confidence in recent years. This is a very
simple matter; chains could be rated for strength, ring shanks could
be tested for wear and stones could be rated using existing
criteria. It is defintely not rocket science and we would all be
beneficiaries. Ron at Mills Gem, Los Osos, CA.


#9
    The fact that we now have I 3 diamonds is testimony to this
fact. ( Actually, there are now diamonds used in jewelry that
wouldn't even qualify as I 3's....they are totally opaque ! ) 
	Ron Mills, here is what I wrote, 	Letter to the editor, 		In

reference to letters about SI3, It is unavoidable to recognize that
SI3 is only a self-serving nomenclature for those who have a need to
classify a stone to make something about it more attractive than the
way it looks. I recently had a diamond that was EGL certified as a
SI2. It had an easily seen white feather on the crown by myself and
my customer without magnification. I went to G.I.A. in residence in
1977, I was taught that inclusions or fractures seen with the naked
eye face up, the stone was an I clarity. I took the stone to a
gemologist because I could not understand why such a poor clarity
stone was graded the way it was. He said that what I knew from my
training wasn’t current by 20 years. It is really sad to me that
some vendors want to pass off something where the beauty of the
stone was so compromised, and this was acceptable to somebody
somewhere. Not to me. I am here to give good value for the hard
earned money of my customer and give them something that they can
look at and be proud of owning. Changing nomenclature will not make
an ugly stone look better or be more desirable. Are we selling on
price, or beauty, and what do I have to compromise in my education of
my customer to make the sale. Is that the point? Some of the
arguements in my opinion is a devaluation of the system used to
classify, and my personal opinion is that there is not sufficient
benefit from changing the system. The question would be, who does it
benefit? My customers are not served in any way shape or form by
SI3, or by eye visible inclusions face up being called an SI. I can
always find a dealer who has the upper end of SI where the internal
characteristics have the least affect on the beauty of the stones
clarity. When the customers ability to perceive the difference
between clarity and how the beauty of the stone is affected and their
price range lead to that clarity with education and comparison to
higher clarity stones, and my customer feels informed and is happy
with their selection, my training pays off. When someone does not
understand or does not perceive visually the difference of how
clarity affects a stones beauty, whether wholesaler, retailer, or
customer, trying to explain becomes a moot point. There are people
who have different visual acuity. I know the difference when I see a
dealers stones. My customers benefit and I feel great knowing they
had sufficient to not have any remorse.

Richard Hart, G.G. in Residence


#10
I have always wished that there were at least some agency such as
consumer reports which would test products and make recommendations
to consumers so that the industry would not incur the bad rap that
has undermined consumer confidence in recent years. This is a very
simple matter; chains could be rated for strength, ring shanks could
be tested for wear and stones could be rated using existing
criteria. It is defintely not rocket science and we would all be
beneficiaries.

Hi Ron;

Thanks for concurring with my opinion. But you bring up a very
interesting idea, one I’ve certainly never heard before.

Why Not? Why not have a jewelry consumer’s report? I’m buried in
projects now but if nobody else doesn’t do it, I’ll save that one for
my retirement. It could be a book, an e-zine, or just a brochure that
you could use as a pretense to contact your mailing list. Send all
your prospective customers one. It could be a regular column in MJA
magazine. Just for fun, maybe all the Orchid members could write a
brief paragraph on how to recognize bad jewelry, Hanuman could
collect them in an archive, and we could refer people to it, maybe
someday publish it. The Orchid Jewelry Buyer’s Advisory (proceeds
going to support Orchid), only $19.95 U.S. I could write volumes on
all the junk I’ve seen. Thanks Ron.

David L. Huffman