How to Clean Rhodium-Plated Sterling Silver Jewelry
Rhodium-plated sterling silver jewelry requires special care and maintenance. Therefore, it is worth knowing what your jewelry is made of so you can give it the proper care to maintain its beauty for a long time.
What Does "Rhodium-Plated" Mean?
First, sterling silver is an alloy (or mixture) of silver consisting of 92.5% silver and 7.5% other metals. Silver sterling is identified by the number 925 (often stamped onto jewelry items). Silver, which is 99.9% pure silver or fine silver, is too soft and unsuitable for manufacturing jewelry. It is therefore alloyed with other metals to give it strength.
Rhodium is a hard durable precious metal of the platinum family. Rhodium plating (electroplating) is usually done to prevent scratching or tarnishing, protect the underlying metal, give the jewelry a white and shiny appearance and make it durable.
Rhodium-plated sterling silver is therefore jewelry (earrings, rings, necklaces, chains, etc.) made from sterling silver plated with a small outer layer of rhodium that also gives that shining and sparkling appearance.
Learning how to clean your rhodium-plated sterling silver will prolong its sparkling appearance.
1. Never use any chemicals on your rhodium-plated jewelry.
2. Do not use a toothbrush or toothpaste.
3. Do not use abrasives of any kind.
4. Don't use polishing cloths intended for use on uncoated silver and gold jewelry products.
5. Don't use ammonia-based products.
6. Don't place in an ultra-sonic cleaner.
7. Don't use silver dips.
8. Always consult a jewelry professional if you aren't sure.
You need the following things to clean rhodium-plated sterling silver jewelry:
- Warm water
- Mild liquid detergent
- Bowls—one for washing and one for rinsing
- Soft towel, 100% organic cotton
- Treatment-free microfiber cloth
- Tissue paper
- Soft polishing cloth (optional)
I do not recommend using a toothbrush. But if you want, you can use the very soft bristle brush type, like a baby's toothbrush.
Step 1: Prepare the Detergent Solution
Prepare the washing solution by combining 1/3 cup of a mild liquid detergent with 1 cup warm water in one of the bowls.
Step 2: Soak and Wash the Jewelry
- Soak the rhodium-plated sterling silver jewelry in the solution for 10 minutes.
- Then, using your fingers, gently rub your jewelry pieces to clean them. Do not rub hard or use a hard toothbrush. Avoid scratching.
- Ensure that the items do not stay in the detergent solution for more than 15 minutes.
Step 3: Rinse the Jewelry
- Fill the other bowl with distilled or bottled room temperature water.
- Rinse off the jewelry to remove all soapy water.
- If you need to repeat the rinsing with new water to remove all detergent residue, do that. Again, rinse gently with care.
Step 4: Dry the Jewelry
Dry the washed jewelry pieces by placing them on soft towels like 100% soft cotton—or, better still, on treatment-free microfiber cloth specially made for rhodium-plated silver—and gently pat them dry. You can leave the jewelry to dry overnight if you wish.
Step 5: Store the Jewelry Properly
- Place the rhodium-plated sterling silver jewelry pieces on tissue paper and wrap them gently. Each piece should be wrapped in a separate paper.
- Store the jewelry in an airtight jewelry storage box.
Recommended Microfiber Cloth
Can I Use a Sunshine Polishing Cloth for Silver Sterling?
Sunshine Polishing Cloth for silver sterling is a highly recommended cleaning and polishing cloth for silver sterling jewelry. Some people use and recommend this for cleaning their rhodium-plated silver sterling. However, note that this cloth polishing cloth works best on sterling silver, gold, brass and copper jewelry. It is too harsh for your rhodium-plated silver.
It is recommended that you check the manufacturer's label to first ensure that the cloth does not contain harsh chemicals or abrasives. Then, polish your rhodium-plated silver sterling jewelry very gently with it.
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