Rhodium Plating a Tanzanite Ring
by Carrie M.
Years ago my husband had my engagement/wedding ring made for me. I love it however I would like to add the tanzanite stones that are perfectly sized and matched to the band part of the set. I also am thinking about changing it from yellow to white gold. The questions I have are:
1. Can a ring containing tanzanite stone be plated in rhodium?
2. Will the stones have to be removed each time the ring needs to be re-plated?
Either way I am having my pretty little tanzanite stones added to my ring. I just want to know if the white gold change is an option here.
Thank you for your time.
A ring made with tanzanite gemstones can be plated with rhodium – but there are some considerations which need to be taken into account before tanzanite gemstones undergo the rhodium plate process.
The process of rhodium plating, while often referred to as a 'dip' is accomplished through electroplating. During this process, the rhodium can only bond with a metal that has an electrical charge. Because gemstones do not carry electrical charges, the rhodium will not bond to them.
Most professional jewelers always set their jewelry pieces first with gemstones or diamonds before rhodium plating them. The rhodium plating and final polish are usually the last steps of the creation process.
Removing the tanzanite gemstones before each re-plating process could eventually be hard on the stones and the settings, and would add to the cost of the rhodium plate because it would take time to reset each of the stones. Plus, most stones in jewelery are set before rhodium plate is applied because the setting process can remove and affect any rhodium plate on the ring. (So, setting the gemstones after the rhodium plate has been applied is usually not possible).
Rings too must be thoroughly cleaned before they are rhodium plated – and so many rings are placed in an ultrasonic cleaner before they are placed in the rhodium bath. But, tanzanite gemstones should not be placed in an ultrasonic cleaner – nor should they be steamed cleaned either.
Additionally, gemstones of any kind that have received treatments, or which have stability issues due to small cracks or fissures, may be affected negatively by the rhodium plate application process as well.
For these reasons, before you do decide to change the ring to white gold it is best to have the tanzanite gemstones assessed by a jeweler who has experience with tanzanite. If the tanzanite gemstones are in excellent condition, then they should be able to go through the rhodium plate process – as long as they are not exposed to ultrasonic or steam cleaning procedures before the rhodium plate is applied.
And, due to the unique considerations which must be taken into account when preparing a tanzanite ring for rhodium plating (i.e. no ultrasonic or steam cleaning) it is best to find a jeweler who specializes in rhodium plating gemstone rings.
Finally, because of the extra time it will take to clean and prep a white gold tanzanite ring for rhodium plating – the cost for rhodium plating this type of ring will be higher than plating, for example, a white gold diamond ring.
Because of the added time and expense it will take to maintain the white gold appearance on a tanzanite gemstone ring, it might be best in this case to stick with the yellow gold, or if you like the look of white gold to go with palladium, platinum or silver.
I hope this info is helpful, and do write again if you have any further questions!
Suzanne GardnerEverything Wedding Rings