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Jewelry, Gems, & Minerals/Black Rhodium Plating


I am very interested in an engagement ring that is 14k white gold and is plated with black rhodium alloy.

The jeweler has disclosed that it will need to be replated every 6 months to a year to keep its blackness.

I do not feel comfortable having my boyfriend spend money on this ring unless I know what it will look like when the rhodium starts to wear off. Can you describe or show photos of what this will look like over time? Do you know how quickly it will wear off? How easily it wears off? Things I could do to make it last longer? I know it's a bad idea, but the ring just looks so makes me not like any of the other metal choices :/
Here is a link to what the ring looks like:

Dear Alecia,

I would first ask your boyfriend to contact the seller and ask about any guarantee on the durability of the black rhodium finish.  You honestly need that assurance.  Why? In my experience, while regular white rhodium is a durable finish, black rhodium wears away much more quickly.  Perhaps the particular electroplate solution used for the ring you like is a rather durable sort. That is what the dealer needs to tell you.

Replating after some time of wear might be an iffy process considering many jewelers simply do not keep this black rhodium solution in stock and the plate they provide may not be as  durable as the original.  

You also need to know something more about the gems. For the price, you need more information on quality of the ruby center stone and if it is a native or manmade ruby.  The one in the photo looks very good and a natural gem like that might be more costly than advertised.

Since I do not know what your hands do every day and what comes in contact with rings you wear, I cannot predict longevity of the black rhodium.  The main thought to keep is this: In time it will wear away.  I yellow gold undereath, when it wears you will start to see the yellow more and more on outside surfaces while protected internal areas will likely stay black a long time. If you should want the black removes, that is done by abrasives, not chemical or reverse plating process as with other eledtroplate. Rhodium must be polished away to remove it.

I am sorry if I seem a bit cynical about black rhodium for an entire ring.  I have seen it used in accents mostly and that does well until the ring is polished, then there goes the black. Buffing the ring to remove and scratches, etc., will essentially be out of the question.

The dealer should be willing to give you more info on the rhodium durability and definitely more information on the gems.

Alecia, the choice is yours but I would recommend against it.   

God Bless and Peace. Thomas.  

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Have a question about jewelry repair or working with precious metal jewelry and gemstones? For many years up to December 31, 2010, I was a working professional bench jeweler, involved everyday with setting stones in mountings, designing and making jewelry, repairing and limited custom manufacture. If you work with jewelry as a hobby or as a profession, I might be able to help. I deal with the retail business, not mass production. Ask privately if you wish. See the box for that: It keeps your question between us. Please DO NOT ask MAKER'S MARKS, but metal quality marks are fine to ask. Please DO NOT ask diamond prices. See a gemologist for that.


I have extensive experience in design, service and making of jewelry. I deal mostly with precious metals and gemstones but work with many materials as needed and usable to create an artistic design. My experience also includes freelance photography and photographer of jewelry and similar items for a former employer and individuals. Design of custom items requires reading the desires of the client and being clear on what can be done within that framework...then fulfilling the transition of idea to reality. Effective communications is essential in a working designer/producer and customer relationship.

Education is English/Physics! Started in human resources, to advertising, to, what a road. I have had formal training in jewelry work and many shared experiences with top grade jewelers. We just never know were we will go or be. Follow your best, your dreams, with some discretion! Don't let the work tear up your body along the way as it has mine.

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