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Steel plating onto 18k gold ring


#1

Here’s a good one to get the old brain cells working. A customer of
mine came in with a request for two bands. One a fashionable
Stainless steel ring; the other, her Grandmas 18k gold ring, over
which she would like a matching stainless steel look, similar to the
other band. My searches have come up blank so far - any suggestions
please?

Kind regards,
Nick Grant Barnes


#2

According to the Law for us Manufacturers, the law states that a
manufacturer or producer of a jewelry object CANNOT plate any object
with a product of lesser value than the object being plated. It must
be plated with a product that is more valueable that itself, i.e. 18k
gold plated with Rhodium, which is more valuable than 18k gold. I
would plate the 18k band you have with Rhodium to give it the white
look of Steel.


#3
According to the Law for us Manufacturers, the law states that a
manufacturer or producer of a jewelry object CANNOT plate any
object with a product of lesser value than the object being plated.
It must be plated with a product that is more valueable that itself,
i.e. 18k gold plated with Rhodium, which is more valuable than 18k
gold. I would plate the 18k band you have with Rhodium to give it
the white look of Steel. 

Please point out in the FTC Jewelry Guides where you find this
statement of “Law”. I cannot find such a directive.

James Binnion
@James_Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


360-756-6550


#4

I have just reread Part 23 – Guides for the Jewelry, Precious Metals
and Pewter Industries published by the Federal Trade Commission and
find no reference that states you can’t put a base metal over a
precious metal. That would have to be disclosed in detail. However,
as an aside, why would one want to do this? In the FTC Guides there
are multiple definitions of what you call various precious metals
covering another metal, based on Karatage and thickness, but not the
other way around.

John


#5
According to the Law for us Manufacturers, the law states that a
manufacturer or producer of a jewelry object CANNOT plate any
object with a product of lesser value than the object being plated.
It must be plated with a product that is more valueable that
itself, i.e. 18k gold plated with Rhodium, which is more valuable
than 18k gold. I would plate the 18k band you have with Rhodium to
give it the white look of Steel. 

I seriously doubt that this is true. Perhaps in response to the high
cost of rhodium, I know that I can now buy plating solutions that are
intended to give a nice white look, but at lower cost than rhodium.
These are not based on high cost metals. And, if this is true, then
all the sterling silver out there with a rhodium plate would be
illegal, since the first metals plated on the silver are first
copper, and then nickle, and only then, rhodium. You’re saying the
copper and nickle underplates would be not allowed, and I doubt that
this is the case.

And there are a number of increasingly popular electroplated or
vapor deposition coatings used on gold to give it exotic colors or
durable patinas. These coatings are generally not high cost metals…

So far as I know, U.S. stamping laws in general refer to the gold or
precious metal content of the entire piece. Most electroplated or
vapor deposition coatings are so thin as to add virtually nothing to
the actual weight of the piece, or to the assay of the whole piece.

Peter


#6

I’ve been in the industry for 25 yrs. I can’t remember where I read
that laws, I’m still looking, but it has always been my guideline!
Why would you want to plate something with a lesser value than the
object being plated? Who wants their 14 or 18k ring plated with
silver or nickle???!!! Good luck selling that!


#7

Could you please direct me to the statute that requires U.S. jewelry
manufacturers to only plate products with a higher value metal. A
few months ago the formulation of palladium/ruthenium had the
palladium as the higher value metal. At the present the ruthenium is
the higher value metal. I would be interested to see how the "law"
takes that possibility into consideration.

Thanks for your help,
Cliff Durlacher


#8

As I stated previously, I agree. Can you say " Smells Unethical"? Are
you really going to reveal that the item you made and are selling to
someone is plated with cheap under coatings or overlays?? I HIGHLY
doubt it!! I sure wouldn’t buy it! Remember the problem trying to
sell “Created” gem stones? Once people get into their heads its not
"genuine" or “plated”, forget the sale, unless that’s what they want.


#9
According to the Law for us Manufacturers, the law states that a
manufacturer or producer of a jewelry object CANNOT plate any
object with a product of lesser value than the object being
plated. 

It makes little sense, since the intent is to protect the consumer.
No one is going to complain if you sell them gold at steel prices.
Plating with higher value material must be disclosed.

Al Balmer
Sun City, AZ


#10

I am curious about this whole subject. Did anyone actually plated
gold with steel ? Is it actually possible ? I am not an expert on
plating, but what little I know tells me it cannot be done. Am I
wrong?

Leonid Surpin
www.studioarete.com


#11

Well, I did seem to open a can of worms - Still, always good to stir
the pot every now & again. Those who were kind enough to reply to my
posting; I thank you.

I feel I need to re-explain my original question. A customer of mine
has her Grandmas 18k ring - a family treasure - The customer & her
fiancee wish to have matching Stainless steel rings as their wedding
bands.

For personal reasons, she wishes to have at the core of her band,
her Grandmas ring. Therefore, my question was posted.

I appreciate the discussion on legal, moral & economic concerns, but
they miss the point of my question. As it appears that I cannot
plate with stainless steel, I now have the interesting job of milling
the core out of an existing stainless band, & inserting the afore
said ring. I know this will still raise the hackles of some purists,
but after all, it is a one-off custom job; & oh yes, it’s what the
customer wants!

Kind regards,
Nick Grant Barnes


#12

Nick,

You might want to talk to someone who does intaglio printing on a
large scale. They plate stainless steel onto copper plates
regularly, then etch them for making prints. The steel coating is
thin not bulky.

Two places that come to mind are Crown Point Press in San Francisco
and the Graphicstudio in Tampa at the U of South Florida. There are
platers all over the country that could probably help you as well.
The good news is that they can unplate the steel.

Personally, I would try to sell the client on some type of ring
guard, or something that can be worn a couple of different ways.
Since I use my hands a lot, I sometimes want to only wear a plain
band, sometimes only the half-eternity, other times the whole nine
yards. But then I’m not the client.

Best of luck,
Nel


#13

Mr. Binnion,

Please point out in the FTC Jewelry Guides where you find this
statement of "Law". I cannot find such a directive. 

While on the Internet, go to www.ftc.gov. On the main page scroll
down until the phrase “Other Documents” can be seen in the left
column then left click. On the page that opens type “jewelry”
(without the quote marks) in the search area. The page that then
opens will list the titles to different documents that relate to the
jewelry trade at whatever level you might be.

16 CFR Part 23

Guides for the Jewelry, Precious Metals, and Pewter Industries

This is one of the documents that probably governs the retail
jewelry industry more than some of the others listed on the site.

Enjoy and good luck.
James Good


#14
Please point out in the FTC Jewelry Guides where you find this
statement of "Law". I cannot find such a directive. [snip]
16 CFR Part 23 

Please cite the specific section and paragraph. I find nothing in
Part 23 that is applicable. Most of it deals with misrepresentation
of precious metals (plus pewter) and stones. I don’t see anything
about misrepresenting gold as steel.

Al Balmer
Sun City, AZ