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Nickel plating plus rhodium to simulate silver plating

September 23, 2021

Q. We would like to plate a pewter cross and ultimately have a silver colored finish. Could we plate with nickel then rhodium? This seems the most cost efficient method. Please let me know what you think.

A Dylan
- Denver, Colorado

September 2021

A. Hi A. The thread remains open for second opinions, but my opinion is that this is a poor way to go. Much of the world if not most of it does not permit nickel plating of jewelry because of the well known problem of nickel itch / nickel allergy. Don't be part of the problem.

Silver is sometimes called a "semi-precious metal" rather than a "precious metal", because the price of silver is nowhere near the price of gold. Prices vary for many reasons but a rough rule of thumb is that you can buy several pounds of silver for the price of a single ounce of gold.

Further, to consider rhodium as a 'substitute' for something else when it currently costs more than 17X the price of gold doesn't make much sense.

I'd say copper plate the pewter, then silver strike it, then silver plate it -- then, optionally, rhodium plate it.

Luck & Regards,

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

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