Jewelry, Gems, & Minerals/Remove rhodium plating from Sterling Silver
I contacting you in order to get any professional assistant / any Help you can provide me, I hope you will understand me.
I'm really desperate, I have a 925 Sterling Silver CZ links bracelet that I ordered from local jeweler, that's made especially for me (I asked it with my design's requests), it's really cost me high price.
Before a couple of weeks I asked from my local jeweler to plate the bracelet with rhodium plating, now, after I saw the gray shadow effect of the rhodium, I changed my mind and asked from my jeweler to remove the plating.
He agreed and told me that in order to remove the rhodium plating, it is necessary to rub the links with sandpaper (I understood something like that..), he said that it won't damage the bracelet and it's just remove the plating.
I agree and when I took the bracelet after his job, it seems like he done some faults and the rhodium plating is smeared over the stones and not removed at all, it has effect like the stones has buried under the rhodium, it seems like the stones didn't get any light reflect because the rhodium has "choked" the CZ stones, I can't see the settings prongs (before his job I was able saw them) and it seems like all the rhodium just "smeared" all over the CZ stones.
(The best way to understand me is looking in the photos that I attached to this message, the links for the photos located in the end of the message).
I tried to show him that problem but he is Shrugged off responsibility, saying that I made it before I bring it to him (I really think that he is cheating me).
My question is if there is any option to really remove all the rhodium plating ? is there any chemical that I can dip the bracelet inside and get the rhodium off ? What can I do to remove the plating ? what I need to request form the local jeweler ? (I will go to other jeweler), does the Rhodium can really "smear" on the CZ stones ? (I see it good ?)
I will very appreciate if you will assist me and help me, this is really annoying problem and I'm really afraid that me expensive bracelet is damaged and destroyed not by my mistake.
This is the links for the images (click on Zoom and you will see what i mean) :
(Sorry for my bad english)
Your early reply will highly appreciated,
I do understand and very much appreciate the photographs. Before I write directly to your situation, I provide basic facts of rhodium plated surfaces:
1. Rhodium plate is normally a very bright finish with almost the appearance of chrome. The surface does not reflect as much light as freshly polished silver but it appears brighter to the eye within a day when very slight tarnish will affect the silver. A rhodium finish should not appear gray or shadow-like.
2. Rhodium may be plated directly onto silver if the rhodium solution is formulated to allow direct plating. Generally, rhodium is not directly plated onto silver. The silver is plated first with nickel or palladium. The rhodium plate is then applied over the base plate of nickel or palladium. (Both nickel and palladium may appear slightly gray but this should be covered with the bright rhodium layer.)
3. Rhodium is not like other metals used in electroplating. If for instance gold is plated onto another metal, the gold may be removed with chemical and "reverse" electroplating processes. Rhodium cannot be removed with the same process and must be removed by abrasive action (sanding and buffing).
4. Rhodium does not smear or adhere to gemstones.
Your photographs are very helpful. Unfortunately, I cannot see metal residue on the surfaces of the gemstones. If there is metal on the CZ stones, gently buffing with a clean or new buffing wheel should remove any metal residue. A thorough cleaning at this point is needed to remove any buffing material from the bracelet. Bar, are you able to see the back or bottom sides of the stones? If the bracelet links are open on the bottom side, look at the stones and see if any dark residue is on the stones. This would normally be caused by polishing the metal and is normally cleaned. Such residue should not be on the stones or around the settings of the stones. The dark residue will easily make the stone appear dark and with no sparkle.
If cleaning is needed, a jeweler should do this. Jewelry with many gems set into the metal may loose gems during cleaning and a jeweler can do cleaning in an ultrasonic device. Any stones which come out will be contained in the cleaner tray and are easily recovered to be reset in the bracelet.
The metal used to form the prongs on the stones is called a "bead", formed from the metal of the bracelet then formed over the edge of the stone. The photos show metal on the edges of the CS stones. However, this metal is now quite flat against the stones. The flat form of the metal on the stones is typical of too much or too aggressive polishing. The stones are most likely secure and the metal is enough to hold the stone in the bracelet, from what I see in the photographs. To know in truth how secure the stones are, a jeweler will need to check the stones.
I recommend you see another jeweler for an opinion. This jeweler may actually hold and closely examine the bracelet. I am not able to truly examine the bracelet except with photographs and even with good photos as you provided some parts of the bracelet are hidden from my view.
Bar, if another jeweler will rhodium plate the bracelet so the surface is bright and not gray or shadow-like, the better approach might be to have that part of the work redone. You will need assurance that the rhodium plate will be shiny, white and bright.
I wish I could offer more advice.
Best wishes, God Bless and peace to all. Thomas.