Servicing a couple of rings
23rd August 2019
This article is written for my exisiting customers to explain that do not already know what goes into the checking and cleaning of their rings, especially white gold rings. I recently became aware that more customers than I thought had no idea what is involved. Hopefully this explains the process.
The Champagne diamond ring I made back in 2015 and the Blue diamond ring in 2017. The photos above were taken just after I made them and it has been 2 years and 2 months since they were last serviced.
A note for those reading this that are not existing customers
If you are not an existing customer then I should point out that quite a few years ago I stopped servicing and repairing jewellery made and sold by others.
Article: 2013 announcement on repairs
I still do full restorations and remodels on jewellery purchased elsewhere but I do not service or repair any jewellery I did not make.
I had to adopt this policy due to a lack of time. I hope you understand. I always recommend that you have the person who made or sold the jewellery service it where possible for a great number of reasons.
Some normal wear and tear
Both these rings had scratches and dints that you would expect from quite normal wear. We are going to look at the removal of some of those marks from the shoulder of the Champagne diamond ring. You can see a more drastic example of dint removal in a link I will provide later.
The quick and easy way to remove those marks is to file, emery and polish them out. Here are the main reasons why I do not use that method to remove them:
thins the ring down
exposes soft metal
I will explain more about “exposes soft metal” in the next section.
Those dints and light scratches burnished out very well as you can see in the photo above. To finish a light polish was all that was required.
The only downside of burnishing is that it takes time but the benefits are well worth it if you want your ring to last as long as possible. Here are the major benefits:
removes minimal metal
hardens the metal surface making it more durable
Over time as you wear your ring and it hits up against things you are in a way hardening the surface. You are usually doing it in an uneven way but you are hardening it. Filing and emerying out marks removes that wear hardened surface and exposes softer underlying metal.
You can read more about burnishing and why it should be the preferred method of removing scratches and dints from a ring where possible in this article.
I also explain why it is not used very much and show you the removal of some more extreme marks on a ring so that you can see to what extent burnishing can be used to restore/improve a surface.
Rhodium plating white gold and masking
Most white gold alloys are an off white colour and in the main a naturally grey colour. It is standard practise to enhance the colour of white gold jewellery by plating it with Rhodium.
With rings that are not all white gold, the areas not to be plated need to be masked to avoid turning them white. In the case of the Champagne diamond ring this would be the rose gold head of the ring.
A bright colour nail polish is used to make it easier to see those areas already covered. Depending on the design this can take quite a bit of time and add cost to the process.
Some use rhodium pens to apply the rhodium instead of masking. Personally I do not feel the plating is as hardy and evenly applied as when applied with full immersion into the rhodium plating solution.
Once the plating has been applied to the white gold area, the ring is soaked in acetone to remove the nail polish . The ring is given a very light final clean.
Other tasks need to be performed during a check up but I hope that brief explanation gives you some idea of why servicing your rings properly, especially white gold rings, is not a two minute task.