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Replating of silver rings

Current postings:

May 7, 2022

Q. Hi,
I recently cleaned a lot of my sterling silver jewelry in a gentle cleaner, all came out awesome until I dipped my mom's cubic zirconia Jewish Star which appeared silver, unfortunately when I pulled it out the 'silver' around the marcasite and cubic was all copper as well as the back. Obviously this was not silver, so how do I get it re-dipped and what's the best way to prevent tarnishing, which it wasn't before, I just thought to clean and brighten it all up? Also, can I do it myself or is it best to bring it to a Jeweler? Thanks much Lisa

Lisa [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- new york
^


Silver Tarnish Strips


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May 8, 2022

A. To prevent tarnish try anti-tarnish strips. Professional quality replating can be done by jeweller. Hope it helps and good luck!

Goran Budija
- Cerovski vrh Croatia
^


May 9, 2022

Q. Hi thank you for your answer, it's not tarnished actually, it was silver (I believed 925 sterling silver) I used silver cleaner liquid for jewelry (one that is ok for stones in jewelry) and when I took it out, the silver on it came off all around the marcasite, the bail and the frame front and back are now copper.

41124-1b   41124-1a  

My friend told me that's how you know it wasn't real silver, which makes sense since none of my other sterling silver brightened up magnificently and didn't turn into copper. Does this have to be done by a professional, I did see online a silver replating kit that can be done at home? Thanks again.

Lisa [returning]
- New York
^


May 2022

A. Hi. It's marked "925" (Sterling), so I'd presume that's what it is. Try polishing it with toothpaste and a cloth; if that doesn't fix it, take it to a jeweler who can try abrasive sticks.

Although I don't know where the copper color came from, it's not uncommon for one metal to form a very thin immersion deposit on another.

Luck & Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
^


simultaneous May 10, 2022

Thank you, I didn't even notice the 925 until you brought it to my attention, it was all silver until I put it into the cleaner. Any idea why the front and back would turn to a copper tone if it's 925? In the meantime I'll try what you suggested, thank you very much.
Lisa

Lisa [returning]
- New York
^


May 10, 2022

A. Sterling silver _= 925 parts silver + 75 parts copper. Probably copper comes from dissolved corrosion products (tarnish). Hope it helps and good luck!

Goran Budija
- Cerovski vrh
^


May 10, 2022

A. Hi Lisa, I agree that this pendant is likely real sterling silver but the marcasite set in it is largely iron (iron sulfide) and is the culprit here. Jewelers working with silver are familiar with this reaction that iron has with silver in solution. The pink color will polish off.

Neil Bell
Red Sky Plating
supporting advertiser
Albuquerque, New Mexico
redsky
^


May 10, 2022

thumbs up sign OMG THANK YOU!! I TOOK YOUR ADVICE,TOOTHBRUSH & TOOTHPASTE! I scrubbed it and it's restored back to it's beautiful silver!
My mother passed away 4 years ago next month and I thought I ruined it, I was devastated. I don't know why it did that however, I'm so happy I posted the question and you came up with this amazing simple solution and she is shining bright! Thank you again!

41124-2b   41124-2a  

Lisa [returning]
- New York
^




Closely related Q&A's, oldest first:

2006

Q. 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 [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
Student - Islip, New York, United States
^


2006

A. 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.

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
^


2006

Q. 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 [returning]
- Islip, New York, United States
^


Rhodium Plating Solution


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2006

A. Silver rings are often 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%^92.5% 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
^

----
Ed. note: We think you had a mind-slip on this one, Marc. Sterling is 92.5% silver.


2006

Q. 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 [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Islip, New York
^


2006

A. 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
^


2006

Q. 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 [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Islip, New York
^


2006

A. 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

A. Hi, Mark. Thanks for your help. I am quite sure it is not necessary to remove the stones before plating (warning to readers extrapolating from this answer: pearls are not 'stones'). 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,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
^


Silver Polish Cloth


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February 8, 2011

A. 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
^


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 and lifeless.

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,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
^


October 27, 2011

A. 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
^


May 20, 2015

A. Stones almost never need to be removed for plating. They do not conduct electricity. Silicate materials can't be plated without first being coated in a conducting agent. If you wear lotion often or the ring gets wet the tarnishing will accelerate. .925 silver is less likely to be finished with an exterior metal plating, it's just not valuable enough; and if the ring is silver plated then it will not patina, it will simply start to turn yellow, turn your finger progressively more green and eventually corrode. Precious metals are so called for their resilience to corrosion. Platinum doesn't even fade, Gold doesn't tarnish, silver only needs to be cleaned occasionally and won't corrode, and even copper if kept polished will not aggressively deteriorate. For anybody who was curious.

Mr. Green.
- Atlanta, Georgia, America
^



December 4, 2015

My fiancé purchased a gorgeous sterling (supposedly platinum plated) ring until we can afford something else. It's already lost one of the smaller stones lining the sides of the ring after only a month of wear. The company he got it from states that because the silver is soft, that will happen and have offered an exchange. In looking at a totally different set that's not plated, I'm wondering if I have it plated, will that strengthen it? Thanks for your help! Much appreciated.

Gianna Perry
- Colorado Springs, Colorado USA
^


December 2015

Hi Gianna. Plating is very thin and it is not structural; it won't strengthen or weaken the ring.

Sterling silver is 92.5% silver, rather than 99.9% pure, and the reason for not using pure silver is that the 7.5% of copper or other alloying metal is supposed to make it stiffer and harder so you don't experience the kind of problem you had. Sorry for your troubles, and maybe the silver is too pure and consequently too soft; so if an exchange was offered, you might take it.

But please forever continue to find your ring "gorgeous" and don't ever "afford something else" -- a recent study offered quite conclusive statistics that the more expensive the engagement ring, the shorter the marriage, perhaps because it revealed an immature focus on the wrong things :-)

Best wishes,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
^



February 1, 2016

Q. Simple question have some sterling jewelry bracelet w/diamonds that is gold plated. Question is can I have that dipped in rhodium or does gold plating have to be removed first?

karen garrett
- green cove Florida usa
^


March 2016

A. Hi Karen. There is no problem in plating the rhodium on top of the gold per se. The issue is that the rhodium will wear, and if there is silver under it, it will continue to look okay, whereas if you will see the yellow discoloration you won't like it.

If it was a broach, I'd say do it as they get little wear. If it was a ring, I'd say don't do it, it will wear through much too fast. For a bracelet, you now understand the situation and will have to make a judgement based on cost of removing the gold, how often you wear it, whether it experiences very little wear or whether it jingle jangles against itself and various surfaces. Good luck.

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
^



October 24, 2016

Q. Ted I love your response of "always think your ring is gorgeous"; my ring is all out fancy, but 100% CZ and sterling silver, and I couldn't love it any more.
I do have a question, can I gold plate my ring to protect it or should I just leave it as such? I've only been wearing it 3 days and its getting pretty dinged up.

Thanks.

RaeAnn Barbosa
- Sacramento California
^


October 2016

A. Hi RaeAnn. I'm not a jeweler and not understanding why it's getting noticeably dinged up in three days, but you can have it rhodium plated (which will retain a bright silvery color) or gold plated (which will turn it yellow gold colored). But if you change the color to yellow you will need to either have a pretty heavy plating or gold, or have it frequently redone, or have a clearcoat on top of the plating because rings -- unlike earrings and broaches and stuff -- experience a great deal of wear. Good luck.

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
^



February 2, 2017

Q. I just bought a sterling silver engagement ring, I wanted white gold, but I love this ring, would I be able to take it in to plate it with white gold over the sterling silver?

Anthony nichols
- San Diego, california
^


February 2017

A. Hi Anthony. Today's "white gold" look actually involves rhodium plating over the white gold, so think a jeweler should be able to rhodium plate the sterling silver and make it look the same as white gold.

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
^


February 2, 2017

Q. Awesome thank you, would that help with the tarnish? My biggest fear is the tarnish really quick with the sterling silver, which is why I want to plate over it.

Anthony nichols [returning]
- San Diego California
^


February 2017

A. Hi again. Rhodium is a precious metal and will not tarnish. Rhodium plating is often used on silver jewelry to deter tarnish. Good luck.

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
^



February 26, 2017

Q. I have a ring that is 925 silver with 14kt gold over it, the gold is fading on the sides but not on the top. What if anything can be done to restore it.

Mark Thomas
- Atlanta,Georgia, USA
^


February 2017

A. Hi. It can be gold plated again. There are probably jewelers near you to do it. When a silver ring is gold plated, the plating needs to be pretty thick because rings are very high-wear things.

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
^



June 2, 2017

Q. Hi, I have a silver wedding band but I wanted to know if I can make it thinner and dip it in white gold. And how much would that cost? When I say thinner, I mean the width that you see when it's on your finger. I noticed that the diamond on my engagement ring stands out so much more and looks bigger when I don't have my wedding band on (obviously). Since I need to wear my wedding band with it, I thought if it can be made thinner it'll sort of disappear into/blend in with the engagement ring. My mom said it won't be possible since it's silver. Any advice is welcome. Except getting a new ring as this one is sentimental to me. Thanks!

Vivian Blanco
- Miami Beach, Florida, USA
^


June 2017

A. Hi Vivian. A jeweler can certainly grind (polish) the ring to a thinner style if you wish. Both rings should probably be rhodium plated at the same time so they match. Your diamond will look bigger, not smaller, with the rhodium plating, because people tend to see the glint not the diamond.

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
^


June 3, 2017

thumbs up sign Thank you so much for the quick reply. That's exactly what I needed to know!

Vivian Blanco
- Miami Beach, Florida, USA
^



July 17, 2017

Q. I have an expensive golden bear ring that is sterling diver and the bear on it is 14 KT gold. I made a huge mistake and left in in cheap jewelry cleaner overnight. The sterling is now completely oxided. What can I do? Can I take it to a jeweler's? How can they fix it? How much will it cost? I am heartbroken. Does anyone have any ideas?
Thank you very much!
Alissa

Alissa Ivascu
- Colorado, USA
^


July 2017

A. Hi Alissa. The oxidation is almost surely superficial. I am confident that a jeweler can polish it off at low cost if you can't remove it with toothpaste and a cloth.

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
^


November 3, 2017

A. When the rhodium plating on a sterling silver ring wears off can I simply polish the silver? Will the ring simply look like an unplated silver ring? Thanks

Sarah Royce
- NY, New York USA
^


November 2017

Yes.

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
^


February 17, 2018

Q. If you have a Rhodium plated sterling ring to make it more shiny, if the rhodium wears off due to wear and tear is the ring still silver underneath the rhodium and will just not be as shiny as before?

Robert E Beaver
- Overland Park, Kansas
^


February 2018

A. Hi Robert. Silver is very highly reflective, but what happens with sterling silver is that it tarnishes pretty quickly. If you stay up with using tarnish removers it can stay bright. The reason rhodium is used is that it doesn't tarnish.

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
^



March 21, 2018

Q. Hello everybody I have a question. My husband had a got me a platinum plated Sterling silver moissanite As my wedding set I noticed that it already started to get scratches but there is a stamped "S925" On the inside of the ring I just want to know how I can prevent it from happening and can I get it replated later on and what kind of plating would it need?

Michelle Magdaleno
- Henderson, Nevada
^


March 2018

A. Hi Michelle. The ring can be replated whenever you wish with any of the white colored precious metals including platinum or rhodium. Rings are very high wear items and there is no easy way to avoid scratches, but removing it when doing things that involve your hands rubbing on hard surfaces will help.

I think, but am not sure, that "S925" has no standard meaning, so I would guess that the S means to the maker that the ring is silver and that they use a moissanite of hardness 9.25 on it. I spent just a few minutes googling, but found brilliantearth.com/news/moissanite-vs-diamond/ and the other brilliantearth.com/news/ pages very interesting.

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
^



Silver plating is flaking off of silver ring

July 14, 2018

Q. My husband bought me a ring from Walmart that was to get engaged. After about a year I noticed that it looked like the silver was flaking off so I took it to a nearby jeweler and they told me it was silver plated silver. I didn't know that was even possible. My question is what can I do to fix it?

Tracy Bradley
- Burleson, Texas, us
^


July 2018

A. Hi Tracy. Although not every jeweler can do replating or have it done, a lot of them can, and it's not terribly expensive. The jeweler who told you what is was but didn't say that he could fix it probably did not have plating capability :-)

It's also possible that you felt that you understood what he said, but didn't quite. For example, if a jeweler says something is 'German silver' or 'Nickel silver', it has no silver in it :-)

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
^



Can you plate sterling silver with sterling silver?

July 15, 2018

Q. A piece of sterling silver jewelry I consider purchasing says 'sterling silver plated over sterling silver.' This was probably done to hide fire scale on the sterling piece. I've heard about plating sterling silver with fine silver for this purpose.

My questions are:
(1) is it possible to plate sterling silver with sterling silver?
(2) Does this require base plating (i.e., a layer of different metal between the sterling object and sterling plating in order to make the plating stick)? I would not like to see a layer of for example copper when the sterling plating wears out.
(3) Does plating sterling with fine silver require base plating?

Thank you very much!

Takako Egi
- Louisville, Kentucky, USA
^


November 12, 2018

A. Answers to some questions:
(1) is it possible to plate sterling silver with sterling silver?
Yes, but it doesn't necessarily have a nice finish because of oxides that emit from the base metals that are alloyed with pure silver to give sterling its strength.

(2) Does this require base plating (i.e., a layer of different metal between the sterling object and sterling plating in order to make the plating stick)? I would not like to see a layer of for example copper when the sterling plating wears out.
Successful plating depends largely in correct preparation of the surface. It must be supremely clean without oxidation. Some metals are best plated with copper or nickel prior to silver plating.

(3) Does plating sterling with fine silver require base plating?
No. Silver will stick to silver as long as the surface is ultra clean.

C Fox
- San Francisco California USA
^

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