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Pink color on gold after pickling

Am pretty new ;forgive me if this has been discussed todeath. Put
pins w. 18K overlay in pickle and they came out w. copper on the
gold. Is there a low tech way to remove it without abraiding the


Yes you have contaminated pickle. You must have put steel in there
and that is what causes the reaction on the other pieces. Change to a
new pickle vat. If your pieces have steel in them don’t put them in
the pickle or you will get same result. If not, let them sit in there
for awhile and then rinse and clean with baking soda…lightly. You
might not have to polish it off. This happens most often with chains
because of the steel springs in the clasps or someone retrieving
their items with tongs that are not copper.

The Jewelry CAD

Heat up the gold a little bit and cool it in methylated spirit, it

Yes you have contaminated pickle. You must have put steel in there
and that is what causes the reaction on the other pieces. Change to
a new pickle vat. 

So many people do not understand, this is an electrolytic reaction
not contamination. For the reaction to take place you need used
pickle (copper ions in the pickle) and two sufficiently different
metals in the pickle and touching each other. Then in effect you
have set up a battery and the copper plates onto the more cathodic
metal in the pair. It is not limited to iron (steel) but it is
sufficiently anodic to most jewelry metals and the most common metal
humans use so it is a likely culprit. There is no need to change the
pickle as long as the iron has been removed from the pickle.

James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts

You can give this formula a try. We sometimes use it to remove the
copper coating from silver that has been accidently pickled in an
iron contaminated bath by a student (So where did the iron come

1/2 Cup Hydrogen peroxide (3%) (same stuff they sell in the drug
store) 1 Tablespoon FRESH Sparex solution pickle or sulferic acid
pickle (5-10%)

Warm the peroxide up to 190 to 200 degrees, a small crock pot works
fine. Now add the tablespoon of FRESH pickle. Do not add more pickle,
this is only a catalyst. Place the items to be pickled in the warm
peroxide solution and agitate with a feather or plastic spoon. The
peroxide will bubble and this lets you know it is working. Check the
progress of your items after a minute, it won’t take long.

Afterwards let the peroxide solution cool and store it in a dark
brown bottle. The solution is still good as long as it bubbles when
used. No bubbles, the solution is spent. Neutralize it with baking
soda to dispose of the solution.

Good Luck
Joe B.

Bruce, try a solution of 50% hydrogen peroxide and 50% water. Let
your piece soak for half a day or so and it should do the trick.
Incidentally, my guess is that your pickle is contaminated, I use
that 18k overlay material and don’t have that problem.

Hi Bruce

I will mix up a little bit of “Super Pickle” in a small butter tub to
remove any copper coatings that result from contaminated pickle. Mix
the dry acid with full strength hydrogen peroxide rather than water.
It works fast and it works great to get the Copper off of Gold,
Sterling, Brass, NuGold, Bronze or whatever. The shelf life of the
Super Pickle mixture is not nearly as long as regular pickle, so I
will normally just throw the little bit I mixed up right into the
main pickle pot after I’m done with it.

I may be a little anal, but I don’t pickle my gold pieces in the main
pickle pot where I put my copper & sterling work. But I don’t work in
Gold nearly as much as many others here on the forums do. At this
point Gold is an enhancement on a piece, for a commissioned work or
used for special art pieces. Hoping to actually change that in the
near future.

What is happening is, the pickle solution gets “super saturated” with
copper ions from the copper tongs and /or alloys in the metals and
when steel gets introduced to the pickle solution, an electrical
current gets produced and the copper plates to the metal surfaces.
The solutions mentioned previously are exactly what it takes to
remove this film. Make sure you DO NOT use ANY steel items in the
pickle pot. That includes clasps because of the steel spring in
them. There is a pickle that I use that one CAN use steel in it and I
use it only for chains, etc. with steel in them, it’s called “Black
Magic Pickle” and its made just for that. You can get it thru
armstrong tool and supply in Lavonia, Mich.