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topic 34687

Jewelry plating problems for hobbyists, designers, startups

Current question:

December 18, 2020

Q. Gold and even nickel plating turning black in localized area.

Hi all, hoping someone can help. I've almost finished redoing the 24 kt gold plating on the hardware of a Chanel handbag -- complete amateur, but I have completed one other bag with very good results. I believe the base metal is a steel alloy. I've used the basic entry level anode that comes with Becker Industries' kit -- wish I could remember the voltage; can''t find it online anywhere. I removed the old plating with a Dremel, electrocleaned, added a light layer of nickel plate then the gold.

It has worked very well for the most part, but I'm running into difficulties on the male part of the lock. I'll attach photos, but to explain it's like there's a little area where the underlying metal coating has gone, and it won''t pick up either nickel or gold - argh!

Very annoyed with myself as it was almost perfect, bar a little pit in the top of the lock. I again removed the gold and sanded more with the Dremel to remove the dent - but obviously went too far and messed up the underlying metal in a way I didn't expect.

The first photo shows what the chain looked like before, then the second after (to prove my method/materials did in general work!). The third picture is the troublesome lock end with the black oxidation immediately after I tried to nickel plate, and the fourth is how it looks after I Dremel it 'clean' again.

34687-1a   34687-1b   34687-1c   34687-1d  

Any ideas/solutions except giving up on this part and taking it to a jewelers?

Not sure whether it's coincidence and both my gold and nickel solutions have run out of metal (again!), or if I need to be more careful about totally sanding back the troublesome part, then cleaning and plating from scratch again. Could the gold still on the rest of the lock be interfering with trying to recoat the top part in nickel? Thank you for any help!

Claire Spencer
- McLean, Virginia

Previous closely related Q&A's starting in:


Dear Sir /Madam,

I am a jeweler having a small metal cutting and polishing unit. I want to know about rhodium plating on gold to make it bright silvery in appearance.I suppose to start a jewelry-plating (especially Rhodium) unit in my workshop as per the current market demand.

I should be grateful if you please tell me the complete know how of the processes involved and the equipments and chemicals required for this.

Thanks and Best Regards.

Pintoo Manna

October 16, 2009

Hi, Pintoo. Plating a thin flash of rhodium onto gold is not technically challenging -- some jewelers do it from plating tanks no larger than tea cups. Usually you will want a coating of nickel or white brass between the gold and the rhodium.

But you should only rhodium plate good quality white gold, not yellow gold, because the yellow will show through very soon. Please see our FAQ: Rhodium Plating and White Gold. Good luck.


Ted Mooney, finishing.com Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey

Rhodium plating on gold jewelry


Hello, I am a Jewelry Wholesaler now wanted to start a small workshop offering rhodium plating and simple repair/resize for my retail clients. I bought a Degussa J1 4 g/100 ml solution, some 1 lit beakers, wire, wire mesh anode, hot plate. Unfortunately, the jewelry equipment do not provide any know-how. Please help answer;

1) Any pre-treatment required, how to clean thoroughly after soldering? For 18K white gold jewelry without stones from Italy.

2) How to start plating?

3) How to ensure the plating will last 1-2 years? Thicker or plating twice helps?

4) Why some plating I have seen more 'white' than others which look greyish white? Is it the brand of solution used or the technique?

5) Any relevant books anywhere to read?

Thank you very much for help.

Kah Hui Chan
Jewelry Wholesaler - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia


Although the equipment may not have included instructions, the technical data sheet for the plating solution is available from Degussa, and should have been included with the purchase. Contact Degussa for it.

Plating can be a complex process. Some general introduction should be obtained from books on our "must have" book list, as the technical data sheet will presuppose a reasonable degree of plating experience. Good luck.

Ted Mooney, finishing.com Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey

Rhodium plating technique


Q. Dear Sir, We are manufacturing cubic zirconia studded silver jewellery and doing nickel plating then gold flash or rhodium plating on it. I am using TD of Degussa-Germany. I am facing problem in plating likes :

1. Not getting full whiteness in my items
2. Not getting every time same result.
3. Low quantity in 1 bottle.

Kindly tell me the basics of doing nickel plating then rhodium plating on it.

Thanking you, regards, chandresh soni.

Chandresh Soni
a jewelry mfgr. - Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India


A. Metal contamination will reduce the whiteness of rhodium at very low amounts and if you are not getting consistent results your process, procedures or conditions are not consistent. You should contact your supplier with these issues.

Neil Bell
Red Sky Plating

supporting advertiser
Albuquerque, New Mexico
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Looking for gold plating machine for jewelry


Dear Sir,

I am planning to start gold plating unit for plating jewelry. Does anybody help me to start plating unit for Jewelry?

I want to make copper and silver ornaments and cover by 24kt or22kt gold-plated.

Kindly could you advise me the possibility of the machine, which will be cover my Jewelry plating unites and other details.

Thanking you.

Tafazzel Hossain
personal - Bangladesh
^- Sorry, this RFQ is outdated
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I am from Malaysia, small skill practitioner of gold jewelry shop.

I have been using gold cyanide to plate old jewelry at 90 °C temperature. The jewelry was washed with hydrogen peroxide mixed with some cyanide and washed with hot water and rolled in grain ss ball with some soap before plating. Then washed and dried with hair drier.

Then follow by chroming or plating by dipping in the hot gold cyanide solution for few second and then rolled in ss grain again. but the plating was not shining as new jewelry. Further more the plating was not last long. What should I do to get good quality plating.

Shukeri Ismail
plating shop - Malaysia


You please first wash your jewellery in a degreasing bath or in a NaOH bath using cathode anode system, and than you immerse it in distilled water; now you can do the electropolishing or plating.

Bhupesh Mulik
core jewellery ltd - India

Safe starting point for jewelry plating?

January 14, 2019

Q. Hello,

I am currently a copper jeweler using the process of electroforming over stones. I am interested in getting started in plating my work in other finishes. There is a lot of info out there and I'm starting to become confused. I'm going to purchase the "jewel master pro HD" plating system for ease of use and storage of solutions.

1. I am interested in rose gold, gold, and rhodium but don't know which one to begin with as far as ease and the amount of steps and stages it takes to plate over copper.

2. Are there other options to a nickel strike under these for allergenic purposes? I saw Cohler offers a hypoallergenic mirror nickel strike? Is that accurate or a typo on the Otto Frei listing?

2. I am looking for the safest (non Cyanide) solutions to work with. what are your suggestions? Cohler?

Annie Swincinski
self-employed hobbyist - State College Pennsylvania

January 2019

A. Hi Annie. We don't comment on, or post comments recommending or dis-recommending brands and sources (why?) -- so don't take the silence as saying anything either good or bad about Jewel Master, Cohler, or Otto Frei.

Yellow gold is probably the easiest plating to undertake of the types you mentioned. Rhodium tends to be thickness limited, and contrasts strongly with brass and copper alloys. Rose gold is a finicky alloy, probably not for beginners. Cobalt is an alternative to nickel, but whether it really solves the problem or is just lesser known might be debatable. White bronze is the non-allergenic alternative to nickel plating, but being an alloy of three metals, again it may be tough for a beginner.


pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Aloha -- an idea worth spreading
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey

January 18, 2019

A. Hi Annie
You ask for the safest solutions to work with and naturally you are wary of cyanides.
The gold processes you want to run are normally cyanide based, but this is gold/potassium cyanide double salt and has very little "free" cyanide present.
We understand the toxicity of cyanide very well and know how to handle it safely. Can you say the same of the other chemicals you will have to use?
I do not like to discourage amateurs, but safety depends on knowing your materials and what to do when things go wrong and they will!
You might make a start by looking at:

Good luck with your project but please get your chemicals from a proper supply house not an internet supplier. They will give you help starting up. Remember, gold is a very expensive material to experiment with and you will need a process for stripping it off (and recovering the gold) if you get it wrong.

geoff smith
Geoff Smith
Hampshire, England

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