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Welding rhodium plated metals?


#1

What is the best way to weld gold and sterling silver that has a
rhodium plating?


#2
What is the best way to weld gold and sterling silver that has a
rhodium plating?

Rhodiumed white gold is not such a problem, simply solder and
re-rhodium. I like to polish off the old rhodium up to a visual
break, I’ve had problems with trying to feather it in.

Sterling is another matter. It will have an underplate of copper
and/or nickel, since rhodium doesn’t stick to sterling. What you may
find after you solder is a blobby, blistery mess. You’ll start to
polish only to reveal the differing underplates. And nickel will
often polish out with a decidedly raised edge (because its much
harder then the silver and copper), you may have to totally refinish
the whole piece.

Personally I don’t see the point of rhodium on sterling, its not the
same color or luster as silver.

Some alternate ways of completing your rhodiumed sterling job…

silver charms…replace the rhodiumed jump ring with a fresh
sterling ring. Oh, and don’t pickle very long, you may find it
copperplated. adding bails etc…use or make an eye tab, soft solder
in place sizing rings…file off all the plating before hand up to an
appropriate place on the design, tell your customer to expect a
change in appearance. OR be prepared to replate the item, a pain and
a lot to go through for a small fee

In the old days I would take on all comers, I thought that would
build my reputation for being able to fix anything. Finally I
realized that policy is a loser as far as running a business is
concerned. Sucks up time and all you really get is a load of headache
jobs. Its far more profitable to present yourself as an expert on
valuable items. I will occasionally accept such low end work as an
accommodation to a regular or potential customer, but I charge for
it.

Good Luck Billy


#3

You should find that welding over rhodium is very difficult, if not
impossible, with the standard tools available to a bench jeweler. The
underlying silver should be exposed and your ‘normal’ soldering
methods should work. If you can’t expose the silver, you might
experiment with TIG welding. You should just burn through the plating
with the arc. Technique will be critical due to the very substantial
difference in melting temps between Au/Ah/Rh. Careful - the plating
could just peel off!!! Have fun and let us know how you make out.

Paul Finelt


#4

Hello Neithe,

I find it strange that copper and nickel are also used to complicate
our lives as well.One company I buy from rhodium plates all there
silver.They have very nice jewelry but its hell to work on. Thanks
for the tip…

Billy


#5

I already remove the rhodium and then weld but on some pieces its
hard to get in the small areas to remove it. Whats the best way to
see if a piece has rhodium? that do you look for? all new jewelry
looks good at first. or is supposed to any way.


#6
I find it strange that copper and nickel are also used to
complicate our lives as well.One company I buy from rhodium plates
all there silver.They have very nice jewelry but its hell to work
on.

Hey Billy, its not just silver that has that problem. Recently I had
this experience. Guy gives me his wife’s Platinum Engagement Ring to
tighten a baguette. When I tried to burnish the prong the solder
joint between cast shank and cast head just gives way. Turns out the
jeweler who sold the ring used low carat gold solder and made a cold
joint to boot and then covered his butchery with rhodium. I informed
the customer of the impropriety of gold soldering platinum. So the
guy takes it back to the jeweler on 47th St who alleges that “there
is only one kind of solder”. Repairing someone else’s work can be a
nightmare. If you are selling that company’s production you at least
can take solace in making money off the original sales.


#7

Repairing someone else’s work can be a
nightmare. If you are selling that company’s production you at least
can take solace in making money off the original sales.

That does not surprise me but it is aggravating that some jewelers
do crap like that. I do mostly repairs on gold and silver and have
seen so really bad repairs and the customer had no idea of what they
had done. If there’s something I am not sure of I go ask my teacher
with 45 years of experience what’s the best way to do a job instead
of doing a b/s job and ruining someone’s jewelry


#8

Hello Billy,

One idea behind the rhodium plating is to prevent tarnish. If you
expose the surface to Liver of Sulfer and it doesn’t tarnish, expect
plating of some kind. I detest rhodium plating and refuse to work on
pieces that have been plated.

Judy in Kansas


#9

Hello Judy,

There’s so much silver jewelry now that has rhodium plating I just
assume all of it has it and I lightly take off the top of the area
I’m welding and do the repair…

Billy in Ft Worth Texas