Restoring old silverplate
Does anyone know a do-i-t-yourself way to repair worn spots on old silverplate?Faith Brynie
- Bigfork, Montana
Real silver plating is done by electroplating, and almost always from a cyanide electrolyte. Cyanide is one of the most potent and fastest acting poisons ever discovered,
Mr. Mooney is correct in the sense that the best and real way to silverplate is with an electroplating process but he may have overlooked a cheaper way to do it without cyanide. I found a supplier of Jax Silver Plating Solution which is brushed on, allowed to dry, rinsed off and gives a reasonable silver plated finish without the need of electricity. It's an easy and inexpensive way to touch up parts.
- Fairlawn, New Jersey
I find that you are correct, Mr. Fisher. Thanks.
In fact, I've since discovered there there are a number of commercial immersion silver plating kits. They rely on the fact that silver will come out of solution in preference to exposed metal like copper and brass that is lower in nobility. Immersion plating gives a really thin coating because as soon as the surface is covered with even one atom thickness the reaction will cease. But if the item will see little wear, and you are willing to repeat it fairly frequently, you and a number of other readers are reporting that it can work. There are a number of brands recommended on these pages and we've added an FAQ, "Silver Plating at Home", that sources the Jax as well as Medallion Liquid Silver Plating Solution, Miracle Silver, Nu Silver, Quickshine, Silveron, Silver Plating Formula, Silver Secret, and The Silver Solution.
August 17, 2009
Perhaps because I am a chemist, I understand the risks and the way to safely handle toxic materials that I can state the following about silver cyanide plating solutions:
- Santa Barbara, California
December 1, 2010
[A hobby plating company] sells a non-cyanide based silver plating system, including a home brush-on plug-in system for approximately $50. Has anyone used it?Peter Hoppner
- Princeton, New Jersey
December 2, 2010
Hi, Peter. We don't compare one brand of stuff to another on this technically oriented forum. But the site's supporting advertisers Zinex and EPI offer non-cyanide silver plating processes. They recommend them only for electronics applications rather than jewelry and decorative applications because the color is slightly off. But what is slightly off for Tiffany may meet the standards of a hobbyist. Good luck.
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Brick, New Jersey