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Problems in Gold plating
Current question and answers:February 25, 2021
We are seeing white spots and haze on gold plated sterling silver jewelry. The plating recipe has Palladium 3-5 mils pH 8; Micron gold pH4 40 mils, and Gold flash pH 12.
There is no nickel or copper plating.
The reason for the marks seems to be porosity in the metal casting. If we burnish the metal, repolish and replate the issue most likely gets resolved. We are in search of an easier way/ideas/techniques to overcome the problem.
Of course the metal casting needs to be improved, however we would like to focus on whether we can make improvements during the finishing process.
Wondering if nickel strike will help.
Never done nickel striking before -- not sure if jewelry will be Prop65 compliant, and also concerned about nickel allergy.
Any suggestions are welcome. Thank you.
- New York, NY
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A. Hi James. Although I doubt that nickel would leach through over a micron of precious metal plating, your company has moved forward to palladium in lieu of nickel, and I'd hate to see you go backwards. Nickel has been banned in jewelry in Europe and much of the world for a long time ... and one of these days concern for the public health will trump the blather & perks of lobbyists and it will be banned in the USA as well.
I don't know much about vacuum impregnation personally, but is a well known process for dealing with porosity. Hopefully someone more knowledgable in it will chime in to offer some details.
Luck & Regards,
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Aloha -- an idea worth spreading
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
February 26, 2021
Q. Thank you Ted. Vacuum impregnation is very interesting. I wonder if machinery for jewelry application exist. Applications I checked online seem to be more for automotive industry and bigger objects in general.
Palladium is the way to go-completely agreed. However recent price spike put a serious cost on using palladium for thick applications. We will try 40mils platinum plating under gold - as platinum is cheaper than palladium- and post if we see any improvement.
We are still open to hear other ideas/comments from the finishing.com community for possible solutions.
- New York, NY
- New York, NY
^- Reply to this post -^
Previous closely related Q&A's starting in:1999
We have been doing Nickel and Gold plating, for some time now.It is for Brass Watch cases. Normally we are asked to do about 6 microns Bright nickel and an over coat of 2-3 microns of hard Gold. We have been using Acid gold bath with Gold Concentration of about 2-3 g/l and pH 4.2 Recently we shifted to a new premises and the solutions were transferred in carboys and later transferred to our plating cell (Natural PP). As it is normal, we did Activated Carbon treatment of the Gold bath because we wanted to eliminate any sort of contamination due to diffusion of particles from the HDPE carboys. Suddenly we find that the cases are too dull after Gold but does not have any such dullness in Nickel. Did some hull cells but no haze in the operating region of 2 ASD. Any suggestions ? Chandrashekar.Chandrashekar
- BANGALORE, INDIA
Sounds like the carbon treatment removed all or most of the gold brighteners. I'd do an analysis of the gold bath and determine brightener levels, or contact the bath manufacturer and advise him of the problem. I'm sure a simple replenishment of brightener will address the problem. .........BOBBob Denney
avionics Tampa, Florida
From personal experience I have found activated carbon treatment to cause similar problems, a dull finish. We filter our baths to help eliminate contaminations but generally stay away from the activated carbon. Also we have found that even slight adjustments in PH will make a major difference in appearance. Try lowering your PH to 4.0 or 4.1.Michael Noel
- Newville, Pennsylvania, USA
We are doing gold plating on watch cases in acid base bath having concentration of gold 3 to 4 grams per liter. we require to plate in the range of 0.1 to 3.0 micron thickness of gold. For this we run the show on assumption only keeping in mind approximate surface area of the article and then calculating the approximate weight of gold required to be deposited in achieving the required thickness.Is there any system that works automatically in the line and take care of the area to be plated and allow the required current to flow in the bath and switch off by itself after the required thickness is achieved. Thanks.Rajveer singh
- New Delhi, India
We think the active carbon treatment which you have given to your gold bath is a bit heavy. You should give 0.5grams carbon per liter of gold solution, as your gold bath is cobalt hardened you need to replenish it with nickel standard solution so as to get the required shining, this nickel standard solution is easily available with your vendor, always keep the PH of the bath between 3.5 to 4, check it twice a day while work is going on.Rohan Jaipal
- Rajkot, Gujarat, India
September 28, 2008
There is nothing strange, replenish your electrolytes with brightener and additives as specified by the supplier. Initially, please increase your bath density by increasing GPC concentration, and adding density correction salts.
Shafiuddin A. Mohammed
metal coating shop - Dubai, United Arab Emirates