Sin will be on vacation from April 22, to May 8th. Longer production times are expected and all outbound shipping will be paused at this time. Sin will be on vacation from April 22, to May 8th. Longer production times are expected and all outbound shipping will be paused at this time.

From the Jeweller's Bench

Is Rhodium Plating Really Worth It?

Is Rhodium Plating Really Worth It?

"I try to make every decision with my impact in mind, understanding that sustainable practices begin with me and I must continue to work towards a more sustainable future."

What is Rhodium Plating?

Rhodium is a white metal that is hypoallergenic and corrosion-resistant. Often functioning as a surface finish, rhodium is too brittle to stand on its own but offers additional durability and a highly reflective shine for white gold or platinum jewellery. It has become a jewellery industry standard. In truth, I never really felt that a white gold or platinum piece of jewellery was complete until it had been dipped. I was told it made a piece of white metal jewellery more beautiful and durable.  It becomes easier to sell and a reason for clients to return annually for upkeep.  Over time, however, this superficial finish does wear away. So, is rhodium plating really worth it?

It’s been roughly 20 years since I was introduced to the jewellery industry and all of the common practices that went along with it. During this time, platinum went from being significantly more expensive than pure gold to costing less. White metals went from being the only cool option, to being one of three choices. Yellow gold has returned to its place of glory and is having a renaissance. Clients are embracing the unusual, the casual, warmer stones, and neutrals. They are becoming more aware, becoming champions at supporting environmental and social responsibilities. For an industry that is not often on the correct side of good, it is nice to see that there are still things that can be done to help alleviate our consciences. 

The Downside to Rhodium Plating

There are a few downsides to rhodium plating. The rhodium plating solution contains sulfuric acid, which is bad for the environment. The fumes created by the electroplating process are incredibly toxic to the health of the goldsmith and the waste is poured into our water systems.                                                                                                                                                                                                         

                                                                                                    Changing My Perspective on Rhodium Plating

As a crusader myself, I advocate the use of old gold, the resetting of old stones, ethical sourcing of materials, and local makers.  It is important to me that my work stays of the highest quality but also avoids being part of the waste-producing world of fast fashion. I try to make every decision with my impact in mind, understanding that sustainable practices begin with me and I must continue to work towards a more sustainable future. This brings me back to the question of rhodium plating. With new 18k and 19k white gold alloys being comparable in colour to platinum, and rhodium being only marginally whiter and brighter, is rhodium plating something I should still be exercising as common practice for my inventory and future work? Or is it a service that I should dissuade, and continue to offer at an added cost?

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Design with Sentiment: Infusing Your Jewellery with Meaning

Design with Sentiment: Infusing Your Jewellery with Meaning

These days,  I find myself looking back, as frequently as I look forward.  I am often thinking of my days of learning, my good ol’ friends, my youth, the excitement of a new business, meeting a potential love.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if, like perfume, we could bottle these memories and pull them out for a spritz when we forget the feeling?  From The Wedding Co, Storey Wilkins Photography, Images Life Media, Vintage 28 Calligraphy and I, Sin Kim of Sin Kim Jewellery, have come together to do just that; We want to help you preserve your memories, to create value out of sentiment.  

Jewellery has always been full of history and lore.  The high value of precious gems and metals, paired with their portability, makes jewellery desirable and a great way to transfer wealth from one generation to the next.   For many couples today, their jewellery journey starts with an engagement ring.  Oftentimes, they will enter a store, select a ring out of the showcase, or have minor adjustments made, such as different metal, or a specific size, or a larger stone.  Customization options offered are sometimes limiting, but what if, like in the past, you were to commission your jewellery, and have it made specifically for you?  If your only limitation is your budget, what details would you request? 

If you thought, “I have no idea,” your answer is the same as almost everyone that I pose this question to.   A lot of people settle for what they have seen before because they have no idea what can be done.  Let’s take a look at a recent project I just completed .  My clients came in knowing only that they wanted an oval centre stone with no additional diamonds.  They settled on a classic 4 claw setting with a thin band in white gold, but her response to the design was lukewarm.  So I did a bit of prodding and her partner eventually asked if I could incorporate a Rose into the design somehow.  Her favourite quote comes from the story of The Little Prince and coincidentally, is a beautiful message for an engagement ring.  “There might be millions of roses in the whole world, but you’re my only one, unique rose.”  I, of course, loved the sentiment.  It was so easy to be inspired by it.  


I took my idea into CAD, and this was the result. 

The CAD design is something that is normally done after the centre stone has been selected and a 50% deposit has been secured, but for some, they are unsure of what they want or are deciding between options, or they know exactly what they want but have never seen it in person.  In this case, seeing the design as a rendering really sealed the deal for her.  It allowed us to play with the stone size and to imagine what it would look like on her finger and to select the diamond accordingly.  

For those of you struggling to decide what it is that you want as your engagement ring and think you might benefit from seeing it rendered,  I am offering a design only package.  This will allow you to work with me on your custom design, either in person or virtually.  Once the design is complete, if you choose to move forward with your jewellery piece, your original, nonrefundable payment will then be credited towards the cost of your custom order. 


For those of you still wondering what else is possible, here is a small image gallery of custom work.  Click on the images below to read about each couple’s story and how it inspired the rings created. 

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Handmade: What does it mean?

Handmade: What does it mean?

Let’s talk about the term “handmade”.  It is a description that you see thrown around a lot, when it comes to jewellery, including mass produced and machined items, such as chains, and cast or stamped pendants.  One could argue that if an item passes through a set of hands and they work on it, that piece can be considered handmade.  In the same way that FDA allows for the label, “made with real fruit,” to be added to packaging as long as there is a tiny bit of fruit, or fruit juice concentrate, on the ingredients list.  It doesn’t even matter if the fruit included matches the flavour.  


For us makers, we have discussed and debated terms like handmade, or handcrafted.  We’ve made wry comments and vented our frustrations over the overuse and misuse of the word and discussed what we believe the “true” meaning to be.  I have always thought that in order for an item to be truly handmade, it must be hand fabricated.  This means that the item is created completely from metal sheet, and wire, without the use of wax, molds or casting.  Oftentimes, even the sheet and wire is created by hand, by pouring metal ingots, then hammering, and rolling it.  This hand fabrication process is done using hand tools and light machinery.


Good hand fabrication has always been viewed as superior to casting, because this hammering and rolling process creates a denser, stronger material, with no air pockets or porosity.   In the past, waxes were exclusively carved by hand and then cast.  For some, this was the preferred method.  It was often faster than hand fabricating, and created less waste, resulting in lower costs.   Today, technology continues to make jewellery making easier.   My waxes are made using 3D printing and 3D CAD.  This allows me to create renderings for my clients to view.  The files are easier to modify, than hand carved waxes and designs can be fully approved before cash investments are needed.   I tend to use the terms, “hand-finished” and “hand set” rather than ‘handmade,” because of the computer component of my custom process.   So if that is my logic then, doesn’t that beg the question, “If the wax is hand carved and hand finished, is it considered handmade?”  By my first response, my answer should be “No”, but I think distinguishing the something has been created completely by hand, without the aid of computers or heavy machine, is important, especially when so much is manufactured in larger companies and resold under the guise of “handmade”


Of course, this entire post and musing is for not, as Jewellers and other artisans, don’t have a governing body to decide what the term “handmade” means, and when it is allowed to be used.  As a result, it is used a lot, and often incorrectly.  This can be a struggle for makers, such as myself.  The Covid Pandemic has us clumsily joining the digital marketing world to find that the words we pridefully use to describe our art form have been carelessly thrown around for the sake of marketing.  So much so, that it has been stretched and diluted enough that it barely has any meaning at all.   For those of you looking for something truly one of a kind,  while still supporting local handmade, ask the right questions.  There are many great marketers out there, but only a handful of true makers. 

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