Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Gold plating


#1

I’m interested in gold plating some of my silver pieces and
wonder if anyone can share their experiences. I currently do not
have any of the standard equipment, but I do have a Staco L221 3
amp (isolated) anodizer that has a rectified output of 0 to 200
volts dc, with a current limiter and voltmeter. Could it be used
to do plating? Also, does sterling always have to be nickel
plated first before gold plating? Thanks for your assistance!

Emily


#2

Hi - If I remember correctly - we used to copper plate our
silver before we did the gold plating.

Jerry


#3
 Also, does sterling always have to be nickel plated first
before gold plating? 

I got to play with gold plating in the lab once at school and we
gold plated a bunch of sterling. It didn’t seem like a very
difficult set up as such things go… I wish I’d paid better
attention, but I wasn’t interested in more than playing with it.
The plating wore off pretty quickly as I recall, so maybe
nickel plating is an integral part of an effective plating…

I’m anxious to hear from the experts.

Susan E.


#4
    Also, does sterling always have to be nickel plated first
before gold plating? 

Some time ago, while I was gold plating a chalice, I became
distracted and turned off the current, leaving the work in the
bath. When I returned, I noticed that The work was looking a
little dull. It seems that silver is soluble in gold plating
solution. I needed to repolish my work and the solution produced
a paler color than I had anticipated. Another problem with gold
plating directly on silver is that it can tarnish right thru the
plating.

Bruce D. Holmgrain
Maryland’s first JA Certified Senior Bench Jeweler
@Bruce_Holmgrain


1-703-627-8580
703-593-4652


#5
   I got to play with gold plating in the lab once at school
and we gold plated a bunch of sterling.  It didn't seem like a
very difficult set up as such things go... I wish I'd paid
better attention, but I wasn't interested in more than playing
with it. The plating wore off pretty quickly as I recall, so
maybe nickel plating is an integral part of an effective
plating.. 

The problem is that when gold is plated directly over silver
(which is easy enough to do, and looks great at first), over
time, the silver and gold migrate into each other, so the color
fades. It isn’t the gold wearing off. It’s just dissipating
into the silver as the silver migrates simultaneously up through
the gold layer. If your gold plate is really thick enough, this
will take a long time, but normal plating deposits will look
pretty pale and washed out within a year or so. Plus, once
significant silver has migrated through to the surface, it then
can tarnish. Back in graduate school, I did a silver chalice
that I wished to be gold plated on the inside of the cup. I did
that by filling the cup with gold plating solution and dangling a
gold anode inside. Neglected the nickel underplate since I
didn’t happen to have any nickel solution handy and a deadline
was looming. Got a wonderful bright 24K gold color. Looked
great. Six months later, it looked about like 10K gold. A year
later it was very pale washed out yellow. Within a couple years
you couldn’t tell it was ever plated at all. The cup recieved no
wear at all, and had been for the most part, packed away. The
loss of color is totally due to diffusion of the gold into the
silver and the silver into the gold.

A copper preplate will prevent some of this, but not all.
Copper, too, can migrate through the gold, though at a much
slower rate. Nickel forms an impervious layer, and it does not
migrate through the gold at all. The usual sequence for gold
plating silver is first a copper flash plate, and then bright
nickel, and then gold. Rhodium on silver is the same, though
for a different reason. Rhodium solutions are sulphuric acid
based, and the acid will attack the silver, just a little, if
silver (or copper based metals) are put directly into the rhodium
solution. The effect isn’t enough to bother the look of the
silver surface, but it IS enough to cause contamination of the
rhodium solution, so in this case, the nickel underplate is there
to protect the rhodium solution from contamination.


#6

I gold plate frequently and never have had to pre-plate
sterling. Just make sure it is very clean…then steam blast
it to make sure all oils are off it and start plating!


#7

I’m study in Material Science & Gemological technology at
Burapha University,Thailand.I use to study about to cover coat
all alloy or tree or else with gold.We call this technique is
"Gold-electroplating".If you want some more detail please tell
me,i will give you about the composition of gold and the
equipment that you must to have or else…
Nakarin Thongla


#8

Hi I have a customer who wants to have an ring replated. The ring is
base metal with a crystal in it. I was wondering anyone knows of
some one in Vancouver, or elsewhere in BC ( Canada) who might do this
kind of work . Any contacts would be greatly appreciated.

thanks a million
Brigid Ryder


#9

Hi Brigid, may I suggest you contact the Canadian Jewellery
Association at #416-368-7616,they may have a listing of plating shops
in BC that you may contact

Regards
Jeff Spillman
Quality Manager
A&A Jewellers Ltd.


#10

Hi Rachel or Briget; here is one address in Hull, Quebec, near Ottawa.
They do this kind of work and are very nice to deal with. Ask for
Helene or Lise. Evenchick Jewellery Inc. 180 Montcalm Street Hull, Oue.
J8Y 3B5 tel: (819) 771-4229 fax: (819) 777-9447

Good luck.
Michaela Wolfert


#11

Hi Brigid, if you’re near Vancouver, BC (I missed the original
message, forgive me), try Brian at Spent Casting 604-662-3337.

Barrie
Windermere Designs
www.itsmystore.com/windermere


#12

Hi all, I need a source for gold plating. I have a silver necklace and
my customer is just adamant that it be plated gold, despite my
warnings that it will wear off. Does anyone know of a good plater?
Thanks, Ed Dawson Maine Master Models


#13

hi ed, i’ve heard only good things about red sky plating in
albuquerque. i’ve just used them for the first time & am perfectly
satisfied. good luck, @alphagirl


#14

There is a company in Albuquerque, NM by the name of Red Sky Plating
that handles small loads. There is a minimum though. When you let
your customer know how much it will cost she’ll probably change her
mind. Their phone number is 505-243-6600. I am not affiliated in any
with them. Best, Victoria


#15

Hello all, I don’t know exactly where to turn so I’m going to ask for
advice. I’ve got a customer who has two sterling figures that had
gold plating done on a small section of them (Christ figures with
gold on the loincloth and around the crown).

The plating wore off after a few years and I’ve had it masked and
flash plated for her since. I didn’t do it myself but took it to be
done. The plating has worn off in a matter of months and she’s
asking to have it done again. My “real” plater has told me he cannot
micron plate it without using a specific masking substance that I
have to apply myself and he only knows of one place in Michigan or
something like that to get it. This is a tiny, albeit persnickety,
job that I would like to have done, done properly and over with. Can
someone either recommend a plater to me in the NY city area who can
mask and plate these two small pieces or give me another suggestion?
I’ve been told nail polish or lacquer will not work for a heavier
plating. Please inform!

Leda


#16
Hello all, I don't know exactly where to turn so I'm going to ask
for advice. I've got a customer who has two sterling figures that
had gold plating done on a small section of them (Christ figures
with gold on the loincloth and around the crown). 

Hi Leda, Often, old statuary that had sections of gold on it was done
by applying gold leaf directly to the area and burnishing it in…
Gold Leaf is thicker than plated and lasts a long time . I don’t know
where you could get some, but There are deffinitely a few people on
orchid who may be able to help if you are interested in trying this.
Daniel Grandi We do casting/finishing model work /cnc for people in
the trade sales@racecarjewelry.com


#17

Unfortunately older pieces are often mercury gilded. It’s not now
considered a safe operation - you are too liable to breathe in the
fumes. Just rubbing the gold leaf will not be sufficient to attach it
to the base metal.

I’d recommend sending the items to a professional later with
instructions to give it a really heavy plating - the sort used for
the insides of chalices and communion cups.

Tony Konrath
Gold and Stone
www.goldandstone.com


#18

Mr. Grandi suggested gold leafing the area and I must say that I
tried that first thinking it was the easiest way around the problem.
It came off in no time at all which then prompted me to flash plate
it. I was told the figures were bought at a street fair so I’m
assuming they were flash plated. The customer also has a tendency to
rub the figure quite often as it hangs about her neck which I have no
doubt contributes to the plating wearing off. She claims the original
plating lasted at least a couple of years; could it have been
something other than gold plating? And then what are my options?

Leda


#19
Mr. Grandi suggested gold leafing the area and I must say that I
tried that first thinking it was the easiest way around the
problem. It came off in no time at all which then prompted me to
flash plate it. I was told the figures were bought at a street fair
so I'm assuming they were flash plated. The customer also has a
tendency to rub the figure quite often as it hangs about her neck
which I have no doubt contributes to the plating wearing off 

Hi Leda, Sorry, I did not know the item was always being worn. In
this case, you need find a plater that does heavy gold deposit
plating … What is normally called “Vermeil”. I believe it is in
the vicinity of 100 micron plating for it to really last. Not many
platers do this properly. Might I suggest you call Peter at General
Plating 401-421-0219 He is the owner and has done a lot of plating
for our military /police badges

in the past and has done a very good job. If he cannot do it, he
would be able to recommend someone who can. Also ask him how the item
needs to be prepared as he only does plating and has no other
finishing equipment.He may also be able to plate the gold with
something that will retard the wear on the piece allowing the
plating to last longer. Heavy gold plate “vermeil” is what you are
looking for. Hopefully, This will help. Daniel Grandi

We do casting/finishing in gold,silver, bronze/brass and some cnc
modelwork as well as hand made models for people in the trade


#20

Ideally, there shpuld be a barrier layer beteen gold and silver to
prevent migration of silver to gold. Palladium is a good barrier.

Your work can be done in India very well, however, for two pieces,
the transport will be much more than the plating work.

Regards,
Shishir Nevatia