Electroplating setup advice

After 40+ years of making jewellery (and avoiding electroplating) I have an order for a bunch of silver pins that require a gold border and script.
I am not a fan of electroplated pieces at all but this is a requirement.

The piece is a bit complicated in that the centre must remain silver and there is an enamel inlay with gold plated lettering and border. (dimensions are 1 inch x 3/4 inch of cast sterling)

Couple questions to you who may be willing to make a suggestion.

1 Would a pen plating setup create a decent thickness of gold for a pin like this?

2 For a full bath setup (I have been researching) do you have any recommendations ?

Thanks in advance for any guidance.



I would look into someplace like Red Sky in Albuquerque. I’m sure they can give you a quote for masking and plating. A professional plating job will keep your customers happy and save you money and headaches!

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Thank you … Appreciate your suggestion … I am actually looking into a local company to get a quote. I am in Canada and the border/customs is nightmarish now. Even ordering from Stuller has become dreadful. Packages hit customs in Montreal…sit often for a month, then without even looking at the invoice that I have paid taxes, access maximum and when I finally get the package have to pay through the nose … Thank you very much for your reply! I realize that plating is not something most of us go to. Personally I love the look of natural metal , not covering it up and hiding it. (But jobs are very scarce these days so one does what one must) cheers… TerryV

If you decide to try it yourself, it’s my understanding that gold plating over silver,
without first plating it with a nickel plating, will allow the silver to oxidize fairly rapidly. The gold plating is too porous to prevent the oxidation. Plating first with the nickel seals the silver and puts a hard layer on, so it won’t oxidize when you use the gold plating. I found this out many years ago when I was putting together a sample line of CZ and silver rings that I needed to be gold color. I end up having to nickel plate them all before using gold plating.

I just looked at them, and they look ok, all things considered, for being close to 30 years old. As Jo Haemer mentioned in another thread, “Electro plating is only molecules thick and will wear away.”

On the areas that will remain silver, you’d have to mask them, to protect them form being plated. For this, I used a bright red finger nail polish.

I’ve only used a pen plating set on rare occasions, and it might work for the lettering. Not sure what effect the oxidation would be without the nickel under the gold.

My experience was a long time ago and there might be newer, better ways to accomplish what you are trying to achieve. But, what ever approach you try, it probably will be labor intensive, so take that into account when you estimate your costs, just saying.


Some of you work over the years


Do your best to avoid setting up to plate yourself. There must be a Canaadain plater, no?
The comment, elsewhere on this thread re: gold/sterling oxidation is the headache that will haunt your years to come. A quality and experienced plater should be able to lessen the potential for this occurrence with a less steep learning curve for you.
Keep in mind that castings have micro porosity that can become quite evident post plating. So inspect carefully prior to plating. Planish, as needed. Nickel application does not fill these micro pores as much as build around them, emphasizing the imperfection.


Yes on the outsourcing of plating … I currently have some feelers out … And boy do I ever appreciate everyone’s replies!!! So helpful as making jewellery has more ups and downs that the coastal mountain ranges! One never can learn all the techniques in a single lifetime!
Great point on the microporosity in castings … Holy smokes, I have fought with that for decades!

Thanks again for these tips and ideas

Have a lovely day … TerryV


agree with everyone on this… unless you are going to do a lot of it on a commercial scale, electroplating equipment, regents, and learning the techniques are too costly and time consuming to make it worthwhile… good luck on finding someone locally who can do it for you professionally.

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Yes indeed … There is likely a reason I have avoided using this process in any of my work since beginning in the late 1970’s.
I have never been a fan of the commercial trickery stuff … or bringing cyanide into my studio.
I can certainly see now that my quest is to job this stage out to someone who knows the techniques and is willing to take it on.
Now I am waiting for some vintage dies (I haven’t seen them yet) that I believe are steel to make pins in a hydraulic press. Another road I have not travelled … Years ago I would have been excited to take out a loan to buy new equipment but in today’s shaky marketplace //// Maybe not! :slight_smile:
Thanks again to everyone


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Terry what is the name of your shop? West Coast BC?..might have an idea. I can dm you.



Many Thanks