Pepetools Digital Pen Plating System on Sterling Question

I just bought the Pepetools digital pen plating system and have not yet used it. I have some sterling silver pieces to which I would like to apply a dark patina with LOS but I want to highlight various raised areas of the pieces by plating them using the referenced system in 18K gold. Does anyone have experience with this system and can recommend whether to apply the patina first and then plate specific areas or do the plating first and then patina? Thanks in advance for your help.

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Plate first patina after. Goodluck



i think LOS does not…adhere(?)…to gold…unless you use a solution made for gold and apply with…steel(?)…

is this correct…?


I plated first and put the patina after and the patina turned the gold blackish. Lesson learned. I’m guessing either I didn’t lay down enough gold or the patina simply soaked through the gold plating to the silver. For anyone else who’s wondering, don’t do what I did! Thank you for your answer.

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here is an interesting older thread…it is actually the opposite of what you are wanting to do, but it has some comprehensive information on the process of blackening gold, which appears to be difficult(?)…so it might help in that sense…ie: to avoid patina on gold…


Silver has to be nickel or platinum( ?) plated specifically because as the silver oxidizes under the gold. For the look you want try gold leaf. The Asian name of the process escapes me at the moment but it’s widely used and YouTube has videos on it. I’m sure someone knows the name - I haven’t had my coffee yet!

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I think you mean Keum-boo.

I’ve been playing around with Aura22 as well. Not sure how well it holds up yet, but it’s an interesting product as an alternative to pen plating. You do have to depletion gild your sterling though for it to adhere, then you can re-oxidize after. (I think I have been trying to find pretty much the same effect you are looking for!)


Wow! That’s a game changer! I had no idea this product existed. I used to thumb through Rio’s catalog and probably would have stumbled upon it but it’s hard to thumb through the online catalog.
Thanks for sharing the info!


Phillip, you can’t get it at Rio. Only at, I believe. BTW, it works very well on fine silver. David at Pepetools says you do not have to nickel plate the sterling before plating with the pen plating system.

I think he was referring to the Aura22 product I mentioned as an alternative. (Rio does sell several pen plating systems, but I have no idea of their quality compared to Pepe’s.)

All due respect to your tech guy at Pepé tools, I find it hard to believe that any process to plate sterling can be successful without an underplaying of nickel or some other non oxidizing metal. Goes against everything I’ve learned in the past 47 or so years. I’d love to hear a technical presentation of how this works ….

Depends on what you mean by successful. The guy at pepe tools may have meant that it would be mechanically successful, that the plating would adhere properly and not flake off.
I suppose that if the gold layer were thick enough it would protect the silver from gas migration, but I’ve no idea how thick that layer would have to be. Certainly much thicker than a pen plater can achieve.


Martha, the same thing happened to me. (Pepe Pen Plating System). After thoroughly cleaning my pieces then prepping with denatured alcohol while wearing gloves, I first plated my Sterling with nickel, a couple of coats, then two coats of 18k gold. I cleaned them with Dawn and my gloved fingers in really hot water between coats and then before patination. When I dipped them in LOS the gold plating turned black like the silver, albeit a little slower. All the plating came off when I gently tried to remove the patina. I then used spider wheels to really clean up the areas I wanted gold, thoroughly cleaned them again and prepped with alcohol, then repeated my plating starting with nickel then 18k gold. It worked pretty well. I’m not so sure about the durability though, still playing around with it all. BUT, lesson learned, gold plating DOES NOT seem to repel the LOS like real gold does.