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Metal finishing Q&As since 1989


Silver Plating & Brighteners Q&A

Q. Hello
Are you aware of any Silver plating system/brightener where we can obtain bright deposits even at 500 Microns?

deepak whorra
Deepak Whorra
silver craftwork - New Delhi, India
April 14, 2024

How to check silver brightener current density

Q. Hello
How can we check what is the current density in silver brightener and what to do in the beginning prayer to increase the current density.

Vivek sharma
- Agra /uttar Pradesh, India
May 12, 2024

A. Hi Vivek,
Your question is quite short, and somewhat vague to me. Can't you run a Hull Cell panel to determine the bright range of your silver plating solution? What is it that you are plating jewelry, electronic components? What is the material of the substrate, or the layer of plating below the silver, and how thick is the silver plating? Thanks.
Luck & Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

⇩ Related postings, oldest first ⇩

Q. Hello.

I have a bright watts nickel plating bath. And I want to put above the bright nickel a bright layer of silver. I have a normal opaque silver plating bath. (40 gr/L of silver chloride AND 42 gr/L of potassium cyanide) My problem is that this silver bath doesn't electroplate over the nickel and the second problem is that the silver deposit is opaque. I need a bright silver plating bath formula. What is used like silver brightener? Which chemicals are silver brighteners? And what silver plating bath do I need?

Please All help is welcome. (I am a owner of a electro plating shop in my country. Uruguay.)

Chrisitian Ceratonio
plating shop owner - Montevideo, URUGUAY

simultaneous replies

A. Dear Ceratonio,

First of all why do you want to make your own plating chemicals? I advise you to buy from USA, Germany and in India reputable companies -- they will give you better support and you will feel easier using the baths. There are companies listed in chemicals directory on

How much thickness do you want to plate of silver and on which metal do you want to apply it?

As for myself, I was doing like this, making plating chemicals, but when it starts becoming a problem it is very hard to solve and takes time.

Good luck,

Dipen Pattni
Dipen Pattni
jeweler/goldsmith - Dar-Es-Salaam, Tanzania

A. I have never used Silver Chloride to make up a Cyanide Silver plating bath. Common sense tell me that if anything other than Silver Cyanide is used, we could generate Poisonous Hydrogen Cyanide. I would avoid using Silver Cyanide, and check to see if your bath formula has accidentally put the incorrect nomenclature into the bath makeup.

Regarding the brightening of the deposits, I can suggest that you search out a reputable manufacturer of Silver plating brighteners. They have invested much time and money developing better systems than most platers would ever make on their own. Also, you have the factor that they would help you technically, if there was a plating problem. We all know that this happens in even the best managed plating shops.

ed budman eb sig
Ed Budman [deceased]
- Pennsylvania
With deep sadness we advise that our good friend Ed passed away Nov. 24, 2018

A. Dear friend:

Your problem is due to lack of cyanide content in your silver bath, also you can use silver potassium cyanide (double salt); it is better , you can use any Ni activator before silver plating to have good adhesion; afterwards you can use sodium dichromate 75g/l DI H2O and plate for 1-2 min, you will get good silver colour.


A. I've had the same problem with my silver bath. My problem began when the silver brightener (Arguna 1 and 2) I was using is suddenly not available. I've had trouble finding a suitable replacement for this product.
My advice to you is find if there is any of this deGussa product in your country and use it. Very good quality product.
Maybe we can help each other and I welcome advice and tips from others.

Gits Malou Diaz
- Bulacan, Phillipines

Ed. note: This posting is from the days before spambots. Sorry, but we no longer post brand or sourcing suggestions ( huh? why?). Apologies.

Multiple threads merged: please forgive chronology errors :-)

Q. Sir,
I have aluminum piece which I want to make mirror shining polishing for which I use to go for surface cleaning by acid pickling , nickel plating with sulfamate process and finally silver plating . First this three step I have completed now my requirement to give mirror shining to the piece . I at present using ready made potassium cyanide-AgCN solution.

Jaydeep Joshi
student - Jamnagar, Gujarat, INDIA

A. Hello Jaydeep,
There are a number of silver brighteners available for your bath. Potassium Thiosulphate, selenium or antimony based brighteners are just a few. Although proprietary silver brighteners may be a little pricey, you get the added tech support from the supplier when you buy their product. Many brightener suppliers want you to buy the silver salts and anodes from them. If they offer good tech service it's well worth it! A hull cell test with the amount of brightener the supplier suggests would be a good start. They would also have to know a few basics. Free Cn, Ag metal, carbonate level, the age of the bath, when it was carbon treated last. A search for "precious metals for electroplating" will get you kicked off. Good Luck!

Mark Baker
process engineer - Malone, New York

Silver plating home-brew is dull

Q. I have a problem about silver plating. I used a solution, came from a certain book -- a solution of silver chloride, cyanide, and distilled water. The reaction upon plating an item is okay but the finished result of the thoroughly polished item becomes dull or not shiny. I wonder about brightener?

Can anyone who knows answer my problems in silver plating? I am a Jr. goldsmith and have a small jewelry repair shop.

John Mary Chiong
Jewelry repair shop - Cagayan de oro city, Philippines

A. If the substrate metal is fully polished before plating and cleaned well, the silver plating should reflect the brightness of the substrate metal, unless you are plating a heavy silver thickness. Most silver plating solutions that contain free cyanide also contain potassium silver cyanide to supply the silver metal in the solution. I'm not familiar with silver chloride used with free cyanide. There is a good decorative silver bath called Technic Silver E, a full bright silver. Technic can set you up with the proper formulation and the brightener to make your life much easier. Good technical support helps too! Good Luck!

Mark Baker
Process Engineer - Syracuse, New York

Ed. note: This posting is from the days before spambots. Sorry, but we no longer post brand or sourcing suggestions ( huh? why?). Apologies.

Can't achieve bright silver plating

I am working at a fashion jewelry manufacturing co. I presently plate silver which becomes very dull and I have to polish it to get the bright finish. this takes a lot of time. maybe somebody can help me

M Nuwais

Mohamed Nuwais
Plating shop employee - Sri Lanka

A. Mohammed,
Kindly ref.some of the postings such as thread 46293.
You may get lot of information. Please give more details about what you do.

t k mohan
T.K. Mohan
plating process supplier - Mumbai, India

A. Mohamed,
As T.K. noted, we have to have more info regarding your plating process. What is the substrate metal or under-plate? Current density, bath analysis, deposit thickness, silver bath type, etc.

Mark Baker
Process Engineer - Syracuse, New York

Q. Hello Finishing community,

I have a silver bath that needs "brightener" added to it. Unfortunately I was notified by my supplier that it's almost 3 weeks until we receive. I was wondering if anyone by chance knows of any alternate solutions or a temporary fix that I can utilize in the meantime so I can process the silver parts I have?

Rich Vee
- Bay Area, California
December 20, 2023

Ed. note: This forum enjoys 30 years of warm & friendly aloha sort of incompatible with anonymity.
Without name & town, you're not quite part of it, and others may be less likely to engage with you :-(

A. Hi. Although Mark offers some general info in this thread about what constituents are used in silver brighteners, the only good answer even in the 3rd world seems to be to find another supplier.

Thread 12412, "Brighteners and Silver Plating" contains additional technical details but the same advice.
Luck & Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

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