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topic 45832

Does rhodium plated silver tarnish?


I would like to know if rhodium plated silver jewelry tarnishes? how about rhodium-plated copper jewelry?

Vivianne Herrera-Mendoza
jewelry sales person - Davie, Florida, USA

3M Silver Protector Strips


Rhodium is a precious metal like gold (actually 10x as expensive). As such it does not tarnish, ever. However, remember that this is a very thin, somewhat porous, coating on top of silver (which tarnishes quickly). So, depending on the quality of the plating, and the wear conditions, it will deter the silver from tarnishing, but not forever.

Ted Mooney, Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey

July 14, 2010

I recently observed a 750 (palladium alloyed)white gold rhodium plated ring tarnish even tho' it was unworn and was just kept in a resealable clear plastic sachet for one month. The tarnishing was in the form of large & small grayish patches all over the ring.The finisher who did the plating commented that rhodium plating items cannot be kept in resealable clear plastic sachets for long periods because the residual fumes that plastic give off react with the rhodium. Is this true? If not what caused the tarnish?

Rich Ong
- Singapore

July 19, 2010

Although I haven't experienced this spotting personally, Rhodium is a very porous type of plating. Any porosity in the silver casting (very small air bubbles) would not allow the Rhodium plating to attach itself, because Rhodium attaches mainly to high polished areas. This would account for the spotting you are talking about because the tiny holes in the silver would tarnish just like unplated silver. in the 35 years I have been a jeweler I've never had plastics affect anything that was Rhodium plated, no matter how many years we stored it in plastic bags.

Bob Hess
- Green Bay, Wisconsin, US

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