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Replating of silver ring

     

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Hi, my significant other bought me a silver ring for Christmas, and I was not aware until after I wore it to death that I have a problem with silver. I thought that the ring was very tarnished and took it to a jewelry store to be cleaned, and they told me that I wore off the finish and that I needed to get it replated. I wasn't aware that there was a finish on silver rings... How much does it usually cost to get a ring replated, and could I get it replated with white gold so that I could wear it, or would they suggest that I do silver again?

Anjelica W deleted
Student - Islip, New York, United States


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Sorry, Anjelica, I don't understand what you are implying by "I have a problem with silver". Usually silver rings are solid silver rather than plated with silver. But silver tarnishes. You could have the ring rhodium plated to forestall the tarnishing.

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey

Rhodium Plating System


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Hi, I'm not sure what the problem with silver is, but as soon as I put it on it tarnishes. Do you have any idea how expensive getting it replated, as you suggested, is?

Anjelica W deleted
- Islip, New York, United States


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Silver rings are usually rhodium plated to preserve the shine and such. If it is tarnishing very quickly it may be due to less than sterling silver (sterling is 99.9% silver).
Ask whoever gave it to you if they purchased it marked as sterling (or if it is marked sterling).
As for getting it replated it varies from store to store, rhodium plating is common, but it can get expensive depending on the number of stones set in the ring. The plating company or jeweler will have to unmount the stones before the ring is plated.

I'm betting that your ring is not sterling. That seems to be the most likely cause.

Marc Banks
Blacksmith - Shawboro, North Carolina


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It's marked 925 silver, but I was always told that the quality of silver didn't have any effect on the rate of tarnishing. The ring has 3 stones; but I don't understand why it wouldn't have already been plated to prevent tarnish. Is that common?

Anjelica W deleted
- Islip, New York


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Anjelica,
If the ring is marked 925 it is Sterling Silver. What that means is the ring contains 92.5% silver and 7.5% other metals, usually copper. Because of the copper content the ring will tarnish faster than pure silver. Pure silver is rarely used in rings because it is too soft for normal wear, that's why it is alloyed with copper or other metals. It sounds to me your body chemistry is not agreeable with Sterling, probably because of the copper alloy. A friend of mine recently had a ring Rhodium plated and it cost him $125.00, which I thought was reasonable. Keep in mind if you plan to wear the ring every day the rhodium will wear off over time. If you wear it once in awhile it could last 5-7 years, depending on what the ring is subjected to. Rhodium is the way to go however. Good Luck!

Mark Baker
process engineer - Malone, New York


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OK, I understand that they put copper into the ring because otherwise it would be too soft, but when I took it into a jewelry store to buy some kind of cleaner for it which they didn't have, they said that I wore the finish off of the ring. I don't understand why there would be a finish on a sterling silver ring, and why the company wouldn't have just sold it as is. I know many people who tarnish silver, as do I, and it just seems like it would be easier if it came plated in Rhodium. Thank you!

Anjelica W deleted
- Islip, New York


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Anjelica,
I don't have anything against jewelry store employees, but some don't receive extensive training in precious metals. If the ring was sold as sterling silver (which it should have been) there is no finish to wear off. It is sterling through and through. There is an outside shot that an anti-tarnish was applied by the manufacturer, but not likely. Sterling silver tarnishes, what are you going to do? I agree with you that rings should be rhodium plated for people that can't wear sterling, but then again that would make it "rhodium plated sterling". Unfortunately you don't know the adverse reactions until you actually wear the ring for awhile. Good luck to you.

Mark Baker
Process Engineer - Syracuse, New York


April 8, 2008

Hi, Mark. Thanks for your help. I do not believe it is necessary to remove the stones before plating though. If a jeweler who does this replating is reading, please let me know if I'm in error.

Anjelica, people have different tastes, and tastes change as well. Some people like the classic look of tarnished silver, but today more people seem to like the glint of rhodium. It's just a matter that silver tarnishes while rhodium plating keeps it shiny. When the jeweler said the finish wore off, he may have been trying to say that the ring once had or should have had rhodium plating on it but it was tarnishing because the plating had worn off. Good luck.

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey

February 8, 2011

If the ring is stamped inside with 925 or sterling as it should be if it is sterling silver, then there is no finish to be worn off. Tarnish, a dark discoloration, is caused by chemical oxidation of the minor amount of copper in sterling silver. There are new sterling silver alloys that do not tarnish because they have other metals such a germanium instead of copper. Argentium is the name of one increasingly popular for jewelry.

As for regular sterling, the tarnish is easily removed by a variety of products. One such is a treated piece of cloth that simply wipes tarnish away. Easily. One can also use silver polish, the kind for silverware used at table. Products such as these can be found at department stores, hardware stores, supermarkets pharmacies and online. If the ring is sterling, there should be no worry. In my opinion, there is no reason to plate a ring other than to conceal what it is made of. You would be advised to find a polishing cloth and try it before paying to have your ring plated.

Jerry Vaughan
Vaughan Studio - Knoxville Tennessee USA

Silver Polishing Cloth
 

Silver Polish Cloth


February 7, 2011

Hi, Jerry. Thanks for the good info. I don't fully agree with you about plating though; it's a matter of taste. Most engagement rings these days are plated. We live in an age of "bling" and there is no solid metal that has anywhere near the reflectivity of rhodium plating. To many women a diamond ring that lacks rhodium plating is dull and makes her diamonds look small.

That is not to say that rhodium plating is without issues: often neither the buyer nor the clerk even knows it's there; it always eventually wears away, which is not a nice situation for an heirloom, and sometimes wears off way too soon; and it allows jewelers to use white gold alloys in their rings that really aren't white enough, meaning you can't later decide to not re-plate, because the alloy they used is too yellowish or greyish to be left unplated.

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey

October 27, 2011

Hi. I Am A Jeweler and I Never Heard of Taking Stones Out To Rhodium Plate Any Ring. I Do Rhodium Every Day. Luis

Luis Barreiro
- Acworth, Georgia, USA
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