Electroplating 101 - How to Plate Black Ruthenium

Plating with black ruthenium leaves an even, smooth pure black coat on the plated object. Ruthenium is a rare and beautiful metal that deposits a sleek subtle shine. Black ruthenium's dark hue enhances any piece by contrasting the normal silvery golden finishes found on jewelry. If you haven't already, be sure to check out our blog post on how to set up your plating station to follow the process described below.

Plating Setup for Black Ruthenium

Bath for Plating

Let's set up the precious metal bath for plating! Pour 1 liter of TWL Black Ruthenium solution into a 1 liter glass beaker and drop the magnetic pellet for stirring inside. Put the beaker on the magnetic mixer hotplate and heat to 160°F, letting it mix on a medium-slow setting for 15 mins. Install a candy cane-esque platinized titanium bent anode so that the long end is in the beaker. Connect the positive lead of the rectifier to the anode and set the rectifier voltage to 2-3. (recommended 2.5 volts) and the plating time to 1-3 minutes. And just like that, you're ready to plate!

Bath Plating Settings for Black Ruthenium

Plating

Now, if you're plating a brand new item you can skip to step 5, but if you're plating an older piece or performing a repair you should complete all 13 steps. Note: when we say to used distilled water it is because distilled water is containment free and will ensure spot free drying.

  1. Polish the item. Be sure to remove the polish from the item as soon as possible after application. If you have an ultrasonic cleaner we recommend using it with a jewelry solution to make sure the polish does not harden on the ring. This will help the plating solution stick stronger for it eliminates all contaminates.
  2. Cut a 4" piece of copper wire. Make a loop to hold the item and connect it to the negative wire lead from the rectifier.
  3. Rinse in distilled water.
  4. Electro-clean for 1 minute at 125°F, 5 volts.
  5. Rinse in distilled water. Visually inspect for polish oil. Electro-clean again if necessary.
  6. Place in acid activation beaker for 10 seconds.
  7. Rinse in distilled water.
  8. Electroplate in Black Ruthenium for 1-3 minutes at 160°F, 2.5 volts.
  9. Rinse in distilled water.
  10. Soak in acid activator for 1 minute.
  11. Rinse in distilled water. Pro tip: hot distilled water dries faster.
  12. Dry item with a small hair dryer or soft tissue without lotion.
  13. Dispose of all chemicals properly! Check your local laws and regulations.

Pro tip: you can reuse your electroplating and acid activation solutions but you should replace them weekly. All distilled water rinses should be replaced daily.

If you want a video to reference check this out!

Got any questions? Let us know below 🙂 Also, check out our plating library if you want to learn how to plate more colors.

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