Gold-plating - Can I do this?

I have a production line of sterling silver. I’d like to add gold,
but if I do, I’ll lose all my customers. I priced 10k and 14k gold
and the cost will still put me out of the market as far as my
customers are concerned. I need to be able to sell the two lines
side by side.

My question is this: Is setting up the equipment to plate gold over
sterling silver reasonable? A $500-$600 investment would be ok,
anymore and I would have to reconsider. I know there are safety
issues and would follow the guidelines, but my main concern right now
is setup cost and just how difficult a procedure this is to learn.
I’m interested in a heavy gold plating - possibly vermeil. I’ve
priced different plating companies and found them to be pretty steep
for the amount of materials I would have to plate.

I’ve checked Rio’s catalog and see they have several different
products to chose from. I don’t even know where to begin.

I would urge you not to do your own plating. The reason is that to
do it right requires a lot more than buying a rectifier and some
plating baths from Rio. To really do a proper job plating requires
tight control of bath chemistry and you don’t have the equipment or
training to do that. In the 70s I worked in a plating shop, we had
a full time chemist and two techs to run analysis on our baths. If
you don’t have the ability to measure the baths and the plating
thickness you will have no idea how much gold you are putting on a
piece and will either put more gold on than you need to or less. One
will hurt your pocket book the other your reputation and neither is
good for business.

If your customers will not buy your work at a price point that

allows you to have it commercially plated then you need to look at
your line and see if you can re-design it to move it up the price

Jim Binnion

James Binnion Metal Arts
Phone (360) 756-6550
Toll Free (877) 408 7287
Fax (360) 756-2160

Member of the Better Business Bureau

I would add the gold line to run along side of the silver. Give them
the choice. I think you will find a market developing for the gold
products. It does have the “value” appeal. I do not do anything
thing in 10K. I use the 58.5% gold content to push the “value” of
the item over the 41.8% gold content of 10K. I am no longer
interested in having “cheap” products to sell at the lower end of
the market. This puts you to competing with imports. You have no
chance there. Rather look at what you can do to bring added "value"
to your products. You might want to consider developing new markets
that will pay for the higher value.

The plating companies prices are “steep” for a reason. This is a lot
of work and potentially a regulation headache. It comes down to cost
effectiveness. What is you time worth and how is it best used?

I do my own silver plating for the parts I cast in pewter to replace
missing parts for hollowware. It is time consuming and requires care
and cleanliness. All in all plating is easy to do but is it worth it
in the time spent on your product?


I find that gold plating is a fun thing but the customers can be
very hard on the plated pc. You will need ventilation in the room.
People have different ideas on how to gold plate. If you need any
reading Please e-mail me I will be glad to send you
stuff to review

Andy “The Tool Guy” Kroungold
Sales/ Tools and Technical
Stuller Inc.
337-262-7700 ext. 4194
337-262-7791 fax