Yep - there's an easy way to do it. Place the items that are plated
into a bath of 50% pickle and 50% Hydrogen Peroxide (the regular
drug-store strength). Doesn't need to be heated. It will react with
the copper plating and turn it a brownish color that easily
brass-brushes off without messing up surface textures.
Any acid bath will plate. The key is to understanding WHY and
avoiding it. What's happening is that in the presence of a ferrous
metal (steel, iron), the free copper ions in the used pickle bond
with the copper in the sterling or brass alloy. The more "blue" your
pickle appears, the more copper is in it.
Keeping your pickle fresh will help reduce plating. Being rigorous
about using ONLY copper tongs and plastic utensils in or near the
pickle will also help. But it seems that every once in a while, some
little something (a hinge pin in a purchased clasp, for example) will
sneak in. In those cases, no matter how clean and fresh your pickle
is, some plating may occur (from copper leached from old piping in
your plumbing, from surface areas of the piece, your copper tongs,
If your bracelet blanks were the only "contaminant" in the pickle
(i.e., you didn't use steel tweezers to put them in and nothing else
was in there), then I'd be a bit suspect as to what the blanks are
actually made of. Do you know that they are really sterling? Do they
have findings that could be problematic?
Of course, there is also the case when you WANT to plate something.
For example, when you've used silver solder to construct a copper
piece and want to copper plate the silver solder seams. In this case,
you can deliberately control this reaction, use well-saturated old
pickle and a pair of old cross-lock steel tweezers, and leave it in
the solution for quite a while. You'll get a nice plating action from
Hope this helps!
No Limitations Designs