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Sterling fork in pickle pot

Years ago, I used a sterling silver fork to retrieve items in my pickle pot when I couldn’t find my copper tongs. I discovered that if forgotten, the combo removed all kinds of stains on sterling silver parts after soldering. I recently did a diamond necklace in sterling silver, and overheated everything, leaving that copper blush behind. So I tried the sterling silver fork thing again and the copper vanished. For the life of me, despite repeated soldering steps on the same pieces, I couldn’t find any fire scale either.

Has anyone tried this and can they explain what is happening?

You want the expert answer answer?
I have no idea. :slight_smile:
I’m guessing that perhaps you depletion gilded it.
Have fun and make lots of jewelry.
-Jo Haemer

I would say the same thing. You are chemically plating silver over the top. I bet of you polish through the plating the fire scale is still there.

In order to plate the copper, you need free silver atoms in the solution.
Silver does noet disolve in a pickling solution and therefor it can’t plate the copper stain.

If you leave silver objects for a longer period of time in a pickling solution, they become white.
Forget the idea about silver disolving in a pickle, it will not happen.
Pickle takes care of copperoxide (not cupricoxide called firestain!) and fluxes but leaves silver unaffected.

Best regards.

Could be the sterling silver fork was plated and maybe (this is wild a** guess) had a bit of aluminum in it under the plating. Many use aluminum foil in hot water to clean up tarnished silver. They also do it with and sometimes without adding baking soda. NOW this is a wild a** guess before anyone gets their panties wadded up.

Clearly, you don’t understand how depletion gilding works; that’s what is under discussion here.

Depletion gilding works best when you burnish the surface between picklings. You can build up a substantial surface of silver. Not a bad trick when you can’t get into an area to polish the stain off.

Bob Claborne, Aloped was responding to a Agnes’s post suggesting that the fork got plated with silver and very accurately explained how silver plating could not happen from pickling.

Thank you Richard for your support which is very kind of you.

I’m sorry to disappoint you rc2 but I do know for sure what deplition gilding is.
I use it on a regular basis working with shibuichi to produce a fine silver layer on top of the pinky alloy and with other alloy’s aswell.

One can polish firestain of but this is not a good idea for several reasons.

I did not say the fork got plated with silver. not by the pickle pot any way. I’m talking about when it was made. The metal The base substructure of the fork, the silver plate was over could contain aluminum. JUST a guess. Aluminum and baking soda in a pan of hot water is a way to clean silver back to a nice untarnished silver. OLD wives way from long ago. I understand depletion gilding very well.