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Silver Plating brighteners Q&A

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

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A. Hi. Although Mark offers some general info 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

⇩ Closely 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 electroplating 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 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; after 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

Multiple threads were merged: please forgive repetition, chronology errors, or disrespect towards other postings [they weren't on the same page] :-)

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

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