Why do some stones gray and get spotty and some do not?

Posted by: Stefanie Brawner, Pretty Snazzy Vintage Jewelry & Supplies

18 May 2013

Why do some stones get spotty and/or gray and others do not? For a long time the commonly accepted answer was that water had gotten under the stones. Not always so said Frank Delizza several years ago. He told us that many times it was actually the from how well the plating process had been done.

Foiled rhinestones have a reflective coating on them. When that foil starts to separate from the stone in some areas it will look spotty. If the foil is separating from the stone overall, it will cause the stone to look gray. Once the foil comes off of a stone there is no easy way to replace it. 

According to Mr. Delizza, the raw metal setting were set with the stones and all necessary pieces were soldered together. Only after the piece was assembled did it go to be plated. This was not only to cover up all of the solder spots but to also add strength to the overall structure.

If the chemicals used in plating seeped under the stones during the plating process, it accelerated the decay of the foil.  If it is a closed back setting, the chemicals can get underneath the stone in the setting and it's kind of stuck there. If you have an open back setting and the foil isn't "sticking" as well, it's going to rub off over time, especially on the bottom points of the pointed back stones. The bigger stones are harder hit by this just because they have a larger area to be affected and are more likely to rub against something than the smaller ones. 

The photos show you what intact foil vs flaking foil look like. You can see how bad the spots are in the stones with the flaking foil.

So can it be fixed? That will be in the next blog entry. ☺