Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Repairs on imported gold


#1

Hi all,

I have been doing repairs for a store. The owner makes jewelry and
uses a good amount of imported gold chain and components. Some of
these I believe are coming from India, but probably from some other
countries too. Sometimes she wants me to solder on a jumpring,
assemble or modify some of the components. These are usually
presented as being 18K to 22K. I have not taken my tester to these
pieces but they do behave like high karat gold when I heat them and
work with them. I have had some recurring trouble maintaining the
finishes on these items. Any items of course that you flux, solder
and pickle are going to change color. Many of these components have
very rich gold color and by the time I am done they are much
lighter. I have tried depletion gilding which helped a little. But I
suspect these items may have been flash plated or washed with a 23K
or 24K wash. I am not positive but it is my suspicion. I know you
folks that do much repair run into this problem, especially with imp
orted chains, and wondered if you had any advice. Maybe I will have
to invest in a plating pen just to have on hand. It is frustrating
not to be able to return the items with the same rich color that my
client expects.

I appreciate any thoughts or advice you can share.

Thanks-Carrie Nunes
www.carrienunes.com


#2

For some reason a lot of high karat imported gold is plated. I always
warn customers of color changes when the pieces are worked on. I’m
not really sure why this is done as the high karat metals have a
great color without plating, but it is common practice. I refuse to
do plating so the customers are just warned ahead of time and told
there will most likely be a difference in the color.

Daniel R. Spirer, G.G.
Daniel R. Spirer Jewelers, LLC
1780 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02140
www.spirerjewelers.com


#3

Carrie

I have not done the gold chain but I have had the same problem with
silver, and a touching up the plating was in order. I had bought
silver chain from Rio and added my own embellishments, it was Italian
and it said in the catalog that it had been plated with pure silver.
Luckily the fix was easy when I saw the change, sounds like you may
be experiencing the same effect.

Terry


#4

Hi Dan,

I was told that the overseas casters who receive a large casting
order will sometimes farm the job out to two or three shops because
of limited in-house volume capabilities. The satellite shops may not
be using the same COLOR alloy even though the karaatge is the same,
so plating is used to create the appearance of homogeneity. Made
sense to me.

Best,
Wayne


#5
For some reason a lot of high karat imported gold is plated. I
always warn customers of color changes when the pieces are worked
on. I'm not really sure why this is done as the high karat metals
have a great color without plating, but it is common practice. I
refuse to do plating so the customers are just warned ahead of time
and told there will most likely be a difference in the color. 

This seems to be a common practice in Europe, at least, for all
types of jewellery and I understand that it is done to mask solder
seams and different colours of metal where, for example, a ready
made setting is applied to a cast or fabricated base. I think the
practice probably originated with the producers of the kind of cheap
jewellery seen on QVC and in the supermarkets etc. and has spread to
other monufacturers who now feel the need to produce similarly bland
and uniform-looking items. What is really annoying is the trend to
rhodium plate all silver items. As rhodium is an entirely different
metal to silver, it has a different appearance and so, when it
inevitably burns off during a repair, the piece then has a different
appearance which is not usually as flashy and showy as it was when
new - and that’s without showing the firestain that the rhodium was
applied to cover up!

Best wishes,
Ian
Ian W. Wright
Sheffield UK


#6
But I suspect these items may have been flash plated or washed with
a 23K or 24K wash. I am not positive but it is my suspicion. I know
you folks that do much repair run into this problem, especially
with imp orted chains, and wondered if you had any advice

Touching up plated stuff is tricky for sure. The main thing as I see
it is that there are numerous formulations of plating liquids that
its a shot in the dark whether yours will match. Heck, even touching
up your own plating (with the same liquid) can be iffy sometimes.

The telltale(usually but not always) thing is that a plated piece
will often have a hard look. I think that’s the point of gold plating
gold, a more brilliant shine. When I see that hard look I inform the
client the color will likely change and why.

catalog that it had been plated with pure silver. Luckily the fix
was easy when I saw the change 

Fine silver on sterling is not too frustrating to deal with. Its the
silver(or rhodium) over nickel over copper over a sterling base
that’s a superior pain. The copper bubbles up, the nickel polishes at
much different rate…you wind up chasing a nickel ‘edge’ all over the
piece til you get to a design break.

Another thing altogether is 18K yellow alloyed with a high silver
content(my assumption). This stuff will tarnish sometimes within a
few days. I feel it actually looks better tarnished but you can’t
present it that way. Anyway, on something like this, when you get
color change polish the whole piece and let it tarnish evenly. A
liver of sulphur bath sometimes will speed the process, but I hate
that stuff.

The owner makes jewelry and uses a good amount of imported gold
chain and components. 

A frank but diplomatic discussion with the owner about the
consequences of heating plated jewelry would be in order. After all,
it’s not your decision to use these problematic items.