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topic 41517 p2

Gold Plating Problems with Jewelry, How to make gold plating last longer? PVD?

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A discussion started in 2006 but continuing through 2018


1       2


April 15, 2015

Q. Hi all, I wanted to know if there is a maximum thickness of gold plating that should be applied that will ensure good wear and resist peeling of the plating, etc. If you have a gold plating layer, for example, 40 micron thick, what problems or benefits does this pose?

Thanks for your help.

Geno

Geno Govender
- United Kingdom


April 2015

Hi Geno. Peeling is more often related to poor preparation than the thickness of the plating. It is possible to do 40 microns thick (for electroforms for example), but "nobody" does gold plating that thick. The world's most expensive watches have plating of 7-20 microns; vermeil is 2-1/2 microns; and good quality costume jewelry is 1 micron.

Regards,

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


May 12, 2015

A. Hi, We are 20 years in Gold plating. We were plating 10 micron / 5 micron hard gold plating, (even duplex coat of 18 kt followed by 23.5 kt hard gold) for watch parts. As the gold cost shot up over the years, the thickness specs gradually came down to 1 micron hard gold followed by clear EP coat of about 8 microns (no orange peel/drip marks).

Presently it is 0.5 micron of TiN PVD followed by 0.1 micron of gold PVD in the same PVD machine. We have been successful in EP coat on top of the PVD coats by which we are able to guarantee gold plating of watch parts, pen parts, Imitation jewellery, temple decorations etc., and make it LAST and NOT LOST!

Peethambaram Parthasarathy
- Bangalore, INDIA

----
Ed. note: We assume that in this context EP stands for electro-phoretic, i.e., electrocoating.



July 2015

thumbs up signHi. Congratulations on reducing your use of gold by a factor of 100X while simultaneously improving the durability of the jewelry! However, I need to quibble because what you are guaranteeing is a "TiN based gold-ish tone/look"; you are clearly not guaranteeing the "gold plating" if you have only 10¢ worth of gold on it :-)

Regards,

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



What clear coat can be applied to gold plating that WON'T get scratched?

June 1, 2015

Q. The question remains unanswered on what clear coat can be applied to gold plating that WON'T scratch off or get scratched easily. I spent an hour looking for the answer on the topic in this thread of how to protect plating and found nothing but talk on the different thicknesses and types of plating.

Renaissance wax is not good durable enough. E-coating by Klier is not really that durable. Everbrite scratches off.

Please tell me (and others) what is applied to brushed stainless steel appliances, plated watches, faucets or gold hand railings at a casino? I can't find anything other than cheap lacquer that scratches. The big plating companies use a baked on clear coat and they don't share anything. I have seen the type of product referred to in the thread but never a name! We need a name of a product that is clear, durable and is commonly used for watches and other high wear, metal items.

A Graham
Jeweler & Designer - Austin, Texas USA


June 2015

thumbs up signHello A. I don't think I agree at all with your assessment of this thread nor your conclusions about how other people produce and protect their gold-tone finishes.

Jim Teglio and others have told us that most gold-tone faucets don't use any gold -- just titanium nitride (TiN) Physical Deposition (PVD) coatings; and that good watches use TiN PVD coatings plus a little gold which wears off over time but still looks enough like gold. I believe them, and assume that "gold hand railings at a casino" are either TiN, solid brass, or brass plated -- not gold plated. TiN isn't a clearcoat, it's a nitride which looks like gold, but is much harder than gold and much much harder and more scratch resistant than a clearcoat.

Unfortunately, this brings the practical problem that small jewelry designers often can't apply that technology because it requires million dollar PVD vacuum chambers which is too capital intensive for them. Small jewelers are limited to such products as waxes like Renaissance, single-component clearcoats like Everbrite and ProtectaClear, 2-component coatings like automotive clearcoats, e-coatings like Kliar, and UV-hardened clearcoats such as are applied in manicure salons. These options would quickly be gone, rather than widely sold and widely used, if there actually was a secret formula "baked on clearcoat" which is manifestly better, and cannot be scratched (but baking does improve some of the mentioned clearcoats).

There is still another approach, but it is probably economically prohibitive: really heavy gold plating. Some gold plated pocket watches have lasted a century without any clearcoat at all. But gold of high thickness is generally considered cost-prohibitive these days. Good luck.

Regards,

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



June 5, 2015

Q. Hi , I work as a custom jewelry agency . Recently my client has asked me about real gold plating , and they mentioned measure unit "micron" , however when I check with some of my plating suppliers, they reply with "mils" . What is the difference between these two and is there a way to convert? Thank you .

Jonathan Sam
- China, HongKong


June 2015

Hi Jonathan. Fortunately, that one is easy :-)

A micron (µ or µm or micrometer) is one millionth of a meter, but a mil is one thousandth of an inch. So a mil is 25.4 microns, and a micron is 0.0394 mils.

Multiply mils by 25.4 to get microns; multiply microns by 0.0394 to get mils.

But be wary, because a small number of people will always try to mislead us for their personal gain, and they have apparently now invented the abbreviation "mills" for millionths of an inch so they can talk nonsense like "heavy 10 mill gold plating", which is actually only 1/100th of a mil :-)

Regards,

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



How to verify and test e-coating on gold flashed jewelry

June 12, 2015

Q. Hello,
I am manufacturing costume jewelry through a third party and want to ensure there is an e-coating on the gold flash. I would like to do so by making the products go through a sort of quality control. What can I do to test a piece of jewelry to ensure it will last at least one year without fading? Thanks!

Allison marie
- Chicago, Illinois


June 17, 2015

A. Hi Allison,

You can test for e-coating using the ohms range of an electric multimeter. Put the prods on the item to be tested. If there is no coating, you will get a very low resistance reading. If the item is coated, the resistance will be near infinity. If the meter has sharp pointed prods (they usually do) there is a danger the ends of the prods will push through the coating and give a false reading. So, use the sides of the prods or better still remove the points and grind a smooth, gentle radius on the ends.

I would introduce further quality controls.

1) check that the coating is sufficiently thick so as not produce iridescence (like oil an water)
2) do a solvent rub test (acetone or methyl ethyl ketone) to check that the coating is well cured
3) do a pencil hardness test, another test of mainly curing

If any of these tests are of interest to you I would be happy to provide more details of the procedures.

Harry

harry_parkes
Harry Parkes
- Birmingham, UK



September 3, 2015

Q. Hi

I've read right through this excellent thread which has given me SO much information and insight. I would greatly appreciate it if someone would clarify a couple of things for me:

Does PVD TiN plate include gold or is it possible for a supplier to 'exclude' this. I've asked for the plating to be done to 1 micron with hard gold for durability and have been told that using hard gold would not be as smooth, and that PVD is best. I'm wondering if standard electroplating techniques with hard gold is better quality and more in line with industry standards (brands such as Monica Vinader, Links)?

Is there any way to test the amount (micron) & quality (carat) of plate?

Thanks in advance for any help.

Helen Quadling
Jewellery Production Manager - London, UK


Puritest gold, silver, platinum test kit

August 2016

A. Hi Helen. Gold CAN be deposited by PVD techniques but it isn't customary because gold electroplating is far less capital intensive. Yes, one micron gold plating can be used on good quality costume jewelry.

It is possible to check the thickness of the gold plating with X-Ray fluorescence thickness testing machines, but they are by no means cheap (say $30K and up). Testing the karat is supposedly possible with inexpensive acid test kits, but I think this is destructive testing and cannot be done on clearcoated items.

Regards,

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



18kt gold plating on top of PVD/IPG colour tones

September 30, 2015 -- this entry appended to this thread by editor in lieu of spawning a duplicative thread

Q. Hi Everyone,

I have designed a watch that I am looking to get produced. The watch will be made from 316L stainless steel. I am currently deciding on the plating process to apply to the stainless steel. Is it possible to have a layer of IPG/PVD colouring (3 microns), and then apply 18kt-gold plating on top of that (of 2 microns)?

My reasoning behind this is that if/when the 18kt plating starts to wear, there would be a layer below to mask the wear.

Any help on this is much appreciated

Thanks

Martin

Martin Shamlock
Product designer - Leeds


September 30, 2015

Seiko patented that sequence years ago for their watches. I'm not sure if they plated the gold or deposited it by PVD as well as the TiN PVD layer, so I don't know whether it is possible to gold plate the PVD coating. The more common method is to skip the gold layer and just apply a PVD coating that looks like gold.

jim treglio portrait
Jim Treglio
- Vista, California


October 1, 2015

Q. It is a common practise to deposit TiN first (by cathodic arc/sputtering) and then deposit gold by sputtering in the same chamber without breaking vacuum. I wonder if it is possible to electroplate gold on TiN.

H.R. Prabhkara
Bangalore Plasmatek - Bangalore, Karnataka, India


Mils vs Microns in jewelry production

October 23, 2015

Q. Hello,

I have a jewelry line in Los Angeles. We have been having trouble with plating our costume jewelry pieces.

1. One plating house said he plates the pieces in 10-20 mils of gold and that the industry standard is more like 6-12 Mils, is that true? His plating comes off pretty quickly.

2. Another plater puts a clear coat over the plating but it often begins to peel off. Why would it do this? Is that normal?

3. Is there a industry standard for costume jewelry plating. We are not super expensive/but not too cheap ($25-$185) and want people to have lasting plating while keeping the pricing down. Any suggestions?

RFQ: Any LA based plater recommended, we have had a hard time finding good quality!

Thank you!
Nicole

Nicole More
- Los Angeles, California, USA


October 2015

thumbs up signHi Nicole. For the 50 years that I've been in the plating industry a "mil" meant one thing: a thousandth of an inch, i.e., 25.4 microns --

www.dictionary.com: "... a unit of length equal to 0.001 of an inch ..."
www.merriam-webster.com: "... a unit of length equal to 0.001 of an inch ..."
www.thefreedictionary.com: "... a unit of length equal to 0.001 of an inch ..."
www.oxforddictionaries.com: "One thousandth of an inch ... Origin late 17th century from Latin millesimum 'thousandth', from mille 'thousand"

Lately, jewelry platers have been using "mil" or "mill" to mean a millionth of an inch, i.e., one thousand times thinner; sometimes they add an extra 'l', 'mill', perhaps for plausible deniability about their attempt to obfuscate :-)

So 6 of their "mills" is only .15 microns, and 20 of their "mills" is about 1/2 micron (1 micron used to be considered good quality costume jewelry; vermeil is 2-1/2 microns, and top quality plating on super premium watches is probably about 7 microns). What that means to you as a buyer is that the gold is only there for color and won't last a day without a clearcoat, so you must find a shop whose clearcoat doesn't peel. Whether the actual gold value is 1¢ vs. 4¢ shouldn't be much of a concern on $25-$185 jewelry.

Regards,

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


May 5, 2016

! Hi Mat,
I have been gold plating Jewellery for the past 30 yrs. Usually it can last several yrs. If not wearing, no tarnish for more than 10 years. Usually when a person wearing it, they should avoid perfume spray.
The actual secret is after the copper coating, you had to either go thru nickel coating or any non-nickel undercoating before gold plating.The secret is go to 18k hard gold coating. This hard gold coating must be 3 micron minimum thickness then into final gold coating of your choice. The final coating is color only, and whether 14k, 18k or 24k gold is only a one micron coating. Use gold powder salt for coating NOT real gold coating which is soft.
This sure will last as I've been in this trade for the past 30 years.

jeffrey Yong
Jenues Worldwide Sdn Bhd - Petaling Jaya, Kuala Lumpur,Malaysia


May 2016

thumbs up signHi Jeffrey. Thanks for continuing to do great quality gold plating. I think there are few people like you anymore :-)

Regards,

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



Long lasting gold plating for jewelry

May 10, 2016 -- this entry appended to this thread by editor in lieu of spawning a duplicative thread

Q. I am a jewelry designer based in Los Angeles. For my costume jewelry line, I want to provide my clients with a cheaper alternative to gold fill - the gold plated chain and findings available on the market tarnish within a month of use, however I am looking for something that will last much longer, at least 2 years of everyday use, but not necessarily as long as gold fill. A rough example, a 1.5 mm box chain necklace would cost $2.00 for gold plated brass, and $30 for gold fill. I am ideally looking to spend somewhere in between without compromising on the thickness of the chain.

I have gotten pieces plated in LA before, however the platers were never able to tell me the exact thickness of the plate. They did tell me it was much less than even 1 micron. The plating they applied did not last very long at all and tarnished within a month or two.

How many microns (or less) of plating is necessary to make the plating last for about 2 years of everyday use? As I mentioned I'm looking to pay the equivalent between basic gold plating and gold fill.

I also read on here about some coatings that can be applied on top to protect the plated brass, can someone advise me about these? By how much longer do they increase the lifespan of the plating?

Sarah Minra
designer - Northridge, California, USA


May 2016

A. Hi Sarah. This subject has been beat to death on this thread and a dozen like it, so every answer you seek is on this site if you have the patience. Gold can easily be plated from a barely visible thickness of 1/6 micron or so to 100X that. Very heavy hard gold plating can be a final finish that can last for years, but most gold plating is much thinner and requires clear-coating to survive any time at all. Gold colored titanium nitride in lieu of some or all of the gold is another potential solution.

Gold is expensive and most of the world has been working desperately to use almost none of it. Just a few years ago, one micron of gold was the standard for costume jewelry; now the biggest issue seems to be simply finding a shop willing to reliably do plating of a quarter that thickness. If the shops you are working with don't know and don't care what thickness of gold they are applying, obviously it is junk. Just above your entry is one from Indonesia where the writer still applies over 3 microns of hard gold, so such suppliers still exist.

Regards,

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


May 12, 2016

Q. Thank you for the response! I spoke with a plater in LA yesterday and explained my issue and he suggested buying sterling silver pieces instead of brass and plating gold over them (I believe this is vermeil?) He said gold tends to last a lot longer over sterling silver compared to gold over brass.

As I mentioned, gold plated brass chain can cost $2 and the same chain in gold fill is $30 and I wanted to stay somewhere in between. I'm wondering if going the route of plating gold over sterling silver will give me a long lasting gold finish and allow me to stay in the price range I wanted to. Any advise on this would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

Sarah Minta [returning]
- Northridge, California, USA



How can I gold plate a brass handle on a walking stick at home?

July 11, 2016

Q. Help, I am making a Walking Stick/Cane and it has a brass handle. I polish it and it turns dark and stains my skin. I have tried several clear coats. They help for a while but it chips and or wears off in spots and tarnishes again. I would like to know if there is a way for me to plate the brass with gold so that I would not have to keep removing the clear coat and tarnish and polishing and coating it again every few weeks...
...

...I would like to know if there is a low cost way that I can do it at home. If anyone can offer help on clear coating. One that is strong and hard.
I thank you for your help.
Ric

Ric Crio
Hobbyist - North Carolina, USA


July 2016

A. Hi Ric. Sorry for your medical misfortunes and the ill treatment you received from a cruise line, but our limited time and bandwidth forces us to focus on the metal finishing side of things and not get drawn into posting comments and retorts and clarifications and rebuttals and second opinions about cruise line complaints, etc.

You could gold plate this brass handle, but gold plating solutions are expensive, about $400 for a quart, and you would still need a plating rectifier and some expertise.

I would suggest trying several (4 or 5) very light coats of brass lacquer instead.

Regards,

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


July 12, 2016

Q. I have some old gold coins. I could try making a mold of the handle and casting it. Or try just dipping it into melted gold to coat it. It shouldn't take more than a few hundred coins. Would gold, 22K, stick to brass? Would I have to treat the brass in some way first?

Ric Crio [returning]
Hobbyist - North Carolina, USA


July 2016

A. Hi. That's not how gold plating is done. It's done with electricity in a water-based solution usually containing potassium gold cyanide. It's not trivial to the point where it can be done with surplus gold coins.

The melting point of gold is higher than the melting point of brass, which is one reason you can't do it via hot dipping.

Yes, you probably could cast a replacement out of solid gold by melting a few hundred coins as you propose. But weigh your brass handle, multiply by 2-1/4 because gold is about 2-1/4 times as heavy as brass, and multiply by the value of gold, about $1300 per Troy ounce for the value of that brass walking stick handle. Depending on the exact design, it sounds like about $25,000. If you have that many gold coins, I think you'd be better off buying a gold plated replacement, which would cost about 1% to 3% of that.

Regards,

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



August 22, 2016

Q. Hello

Is 50 µm much gold plating? is that nearly 400 mils?

I found a company here that sells chains, is 50um real 18k gold over stainless steel 316L.

Is that good quality? will last long time?

And this gold over 925 sterling silver, (2.5 microns of gold) is that better buy?

If I am looking for gold plating is which is the best plated chain? is it over silver or brass or copper or stainless steel?

Best regards

Far Farre
Sweden & Los Angeles, california, usa


August 2016

A. Hi Far. "Nobody" anywhere is doing 50 micron (µm) gold plating (which would be 200 ^2 mils). Jewelry made of 316L with 50 µm of gold cladding would be beyond fantastic quality and would last essentially forever. But as mentioned earlier, sales blurbs are not meant to technically inform you, and you could easily be misreading something :-(

2.5 microns of gold over sterling silver can be called "vermeil" and is very good quality jewelry but 2.5 µm does not compare to 50 µm :-)

Regards,

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


August 25, 2016

Thanks for the answer.

The company still says it's 50 µm of gold, cost about 70 dollars for 50 gram figaro chain.

Do you know any good company that sells very good vermeil chains? (byzantine or figaro)

Those companies that are on ebay that sells vermeil are they good? The chain are made in Italy and stamped 925 and 2.5 microns of gold over and the figaro chain has ITProlux anti tarnish over.

How about this Gold overlay? I found some that are stamped 18K GL made in Brazil, all on ebay

Far Farre [returning]
- Los Angeles, california, usa


August 2016

A. Hi again. It would probably be difficult or impossible for a trained jeweler to compare such stuff from sales blurbs, and nobody can say which items are real vs. counterfeit. But that's the thing with jewelry, you buy it for what you perceive as beauty, you don't buy it to make money as a precious metals speculator. You could see if Consumer Reports or your better business bureau or your state's consumer protection agency has any bad reports on companies, but you can't get brand recommendations from a "no registration required" anonymous public forum because salespeople just pose as satisfied customers :-)

We can continue to explain what terms like vermeil mean, but that's about it. I am rather surprised that vermeil would have an anti-tarnish coating on it, as I thought it was thick enough and corrosion resistant enough to have no need for it. Good luck.

Regards,

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


August 26, 2016

Q. Thanks again

I am going to buy a figaro chain, and solid gold is too expensive, so is vermeil better than gold filled?

1. Here is one vermeil chain I am thinking of:
[deleted by editor]

2. This too is interesting
[deleted by editor]

3. and this is the last one but is it gold overlay:
[deleted by editor]
Far farre [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Los Angeles USA


August 2016

A. Hi again. Sorry, but we cannot post your request for people to tell you which of the three brands/sellers is "better", for the reasons we mentioned. For my personal taste vermeil is "better" than gold filled.
But #1 said nothing about vermeil, it just says "color: yellow" -- it could contain no gold at all with that description.
#2 said 14K gold, but no indication of thickness at all -- it may contain only 10 cents worth of gold, or not even (no way to tell) since the thickness is not mentioned. #3 says "18K gold layer", but again no indication at all of thickness. I personally don't know what that means, if anything.

I've tried to tell you why people can't do what you want, i.e., tell you which chain is "better" based on a sales blurb -- from resellers offering jewelry with no brand names, no less; it's a fool's errand. Please go by seller's reputation or a recommendation from a friend who has one. No matter how you value your time, you've already spent the $10.99 cost of the cheapest of the three :-)

Regards,

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


August 30, 2016

Q. Hello

This ION plating or PVD is that better than vermeil chain, because I saw the gold is electroplated on sterling silver?

Now I'm talking about ion plating on real 316L stainless steel.

Thanks!

Far Farre [returning]
- Los Angeles USA


August 31, 2016

PVD gold coatings are not gold. They are a hard nitride, basically tool coatings. If deposited properly, PVD coatings are extremely hard and durable. For this reason, several industries have gone away from gold plating to PVD, including faucetry and door hardware.

jim treglio portrait
Jim Treglio
- Vista, California



September 2, 2016

Q. Hi all!

I have a question. I am a young woman and I have a really successful jewelry line in 925 sterling gold and 18 carat gold plated jewelry. We sell a lot online, BUT we get a lot of returns back about the plating. We have the jewelry made in China and they said they plate it a couple of times and they liquid it with medical fluid.

I really want to keep the gold plating last longer because I don't know what to do anymore with it. I am not a professional in plating and gold business, so can please someone help me with this question? I would really appreciate it!

Thanks a lot!

Tessa De Vries
Designer - Amsterdam


September 2016

A. Hi Tessa. If you're making important money, you should consider retaining a plating consultant. It is difficult to make real suggestions when we don't know what you are ordering or what you are getting or what the price sensitivity is.

But it is most certainly possible to get gold plating that is thick enough or that has a capable enough clearcoat or which is backed up with titanium nitride (TiN) coloring to easily solve the return problem and last many years.

There probably are capable jewelry plating shops in Amsterdam or within easy travel distance which can deliver super quality; if that's not an affordable approach, they can offer you the knowledge to specify a process so you can have the jewelry plated properly in China. A problem which we talk about frequently here is that, while Chinese manufacturers can do a great job for companies like Apple, when you are in the position of just "throwing it over the wall" and hoping for the best, rather than controlling the manufacturing process, it's very difficult to get quality work.

You can probably afford and specify significantly thicker gold plating, which would last on its own, but which is expensive. Or you can apply a good protective clearcoat so it is the clearcoat rather than the gold which resists wear. If the volume is high, you can probably afford to have TiN applied by a PVD process before the gold plating. TiN is gold colored (you can see it on drills in a home improvement store) and is very hard and long-wearing, and inexpensive. The idea is for you to do TiN plus gold plating, and then the jewelry will remain gold colored even if the plating wears.

If you can offer more info, we can probably offer more help. Good luck.

Regards,

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


September 5, 2016

A. Hi Tessa. We frequently see jewelry items that are gold plated in Asia that our customers ask us to measure the gold thickness. It's usually 0.02 to 0.05 microns of gold thickness which is very thin and will not withstand much wear. I'd recommend that you ask for 1 to 3 microns thickness and verify.

Neil Bell
Red Sky Plating

supporting advertiser
Albuquerque, New Mexico
red sky banner ad


September 5, 2016

Q. Hi,

Sorry, I've got a question again, hope you can help me! I've asked it the manufacturer in China, but he said the TiN is poisonous which will harm people, so that's why they don't use it. Do you have any experience on that? Please let me know!

Kind regards and thanks again,

Tessa De Vries
Designer - Amsterdam


September 2016

A. Hi Tessa. I think Neil is on the right track that you simply need significantly thicker gold plating for your high end jewelry, but TiN is certainly not poisonous or harmful. It is applied as a substitute for gold in some applications like bathroom faucets, and in combination with gold plating on high end watches. The problem is probably that the vendor can't offer it.

The thing about TiN is that it is relatively inexpensive when applied in volume because Ti is not a precious metal like gold is. But TiN cannot be electroplated; it must be deposited from a $1M+ Physical Vapor Deposition (PVD) chamber, so it's not suited to low volume items or to small, low capital, plating shops.

Regards,

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


September 23, 2016

thumbs up signHi

I found a manufacturer that makes gold double chains that are made in Sweden.

It is brass core and over it 10 microns of gold, but they cost! It's about 7mm wide and 50 gram heavy and costs 500 dollars!!

Would i buy it? NO, it has no second-hand value; you can't sell it to a pawn shop; it's only gold surface and expensive.

For 500 dollars you can get real gold.

Far Farre [returning]
- Dallas Oregon usa



October 20, 2016

Q. Hello,
Thanks to all for all this information. I read through this thread and got confused about one question I have now.

Let's see if I understood it correctly by summarizing some... Using Gold IP plating (which is a PVD method of depositing gold) is much better (more durable) than electroplating. PVD requires less gold, much less.
For costume jewellery with PVD 0.5 micron would be good quality (to last years)
For electroplating a few micron would be necessary to last years.
This is still all without clear top coatings, which would enhance durability even more.

Now come my doubts:
- In the first posts of this thread it is said that with IP plating one should first deposit TiN and then electroplate the gold on top. So, the gold is not deposited by PVD? Or is it / can it be?

- It was not clear to me if top clear coat is only customary with electroplating, not with PVD, as it would not be needed. What is usual?

- My supplier says he uses 0.035 µm Gold IP plating (fashion jewellery). Sounds very little to me but jewellery looks very good and is tried (by wearing) to be also durable compared to electroplating items purchased from China (not sure yet if years).

- Supplier says that with IP plating you cannot specify a Gold Karats, as with electroplating, because of the method of deposition. True or false?

Thanks for all the help in advance!

Regards,

Sicco Schets
- Ojén, Malaga, Spain


November 2016

A. Hi Sicco. A problem in understanding this stuff is that gold is a precious metal but it is also a color ... and people are sometimes not careful in explaining which one they are speaking of. Further, their main interest is sometimes to induce you to buy by keeping you confused, rather than to technically inform you.

wikipedia
Ion Plating

Titanium Nitride is gold in color, but it is not gold. Gold metal does not "stick better" or "wear better" when applied by PVD than by electroplating, but gold colored titanium nitride (which cannot be electroplated, but must be applied by PVD) wears much better than real gold metal. To add further confusion, although Titanium nitride is approximately the color of gold, it is possible to get the color of the article even more realistic by applying a thin coating of real gold on top of it. So your vendor is telling you that they are applying 0.035 microns of real gold, but there is gold colored titanium nitride underneath it, sufficient to last a reasonable time. If your item contains well under 1¢ worth of gold it's probably a bit silly to worry what karat it is :-)

Regards,

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


November 2, 2016

Q. Thank you very much Ted,

So if my vendor says he uses IP plating and deposits 0.035 µm of gold, you believe this must be on top of a PVD deposited layer of TiN?

Maybe I should rephrase my question: IP plating of only gold, without TiN underneath, is not possible or usual?

Furthermore, I'd like to understand better (for my communication with suppliers):
1) whether a top clear coat is, or not necessary or usual with PVD.
2) If gold, in IP plating, is typically electroplated on top of PVD TiN (as mentioned in 1st post)

Thanks again and best regards,
Sicco

Sicco Schets [returning]
- Ojen, Malaga, Spain


November 2, 2016

Hi again,
sorry, just now Ted's last sentence sunk in.

Well, my interest in how many karats the gold is, is because of the color. 24k gold is much more orange-like, than 14k gold, which is more yellowish, at least in my beliefs so far. And I believe that TiN color is more 14k (or even 10k) gold color.

As I understand it, the karats in gold refer to the purity of gold, unlike the karats of a diamond, where it indeed measure the size (or weight). And whence the karts defines its gold color intensity.

Best regards,
Sicco

Sicco Schets [returning]
- Ojen, Malaga, Spain


June 2017

A. Hi again Sicco. This is getting repetitive, but it is possible to electroplate a layer of gold that is thick enough that it can last a very long time without any IP plating, PVD process, clearcoats or anything -- just the gold plating. See the earlier answers for a discussion of these thicknesses. But most people consider it economically prohibitive to apply that much gold these days, so they either put a TiN (gold colored) deposit under the gold or in place of the gold, or they put a clearcoat on top of the gold plating so it wears away slower. It's not that you can't deposit 0.035 µm of gold except on TiN, it's that this coating is so very thin that you probably won't get a good saturated gold color in the first place, and it would wear away in a day or so anyway.

A clearcoat on straight TiN without any real gold present probably wouldn't make much sense because the TiN is more wear resistant than the clear coat. But if you have TiN followed by an extremely thin layer of actual gold, I imagine some people would clearcoat it to retain the best gold color longer.

Yes, gold karats refer to the purity, 24k being 100% pure, 12K being 50% pure, etc; whereas diamond carats refer to the size or weight.

Regards,

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



December 28, 2017

Q. Hi again

Sorry to bother but how much gold is "10 macro" in mils?

Far Farre [returning]
- new york, oregon, usa


December 2017

A. Hi again, our well-traveled friend from Sweden, Los Angeles, Dallas, Oregon, & New York. I don't think there is any such thickness measurement as "macro"; please try to give us an exact quote about the gold thickness, in context. Thanks!

Regards,

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


December 29, 2017

Q. Haha

I ask him how much gold is was plated over and he say: 10-15 macro ?

But then he said: 10- 15 micro that lot of gold?

Do you think it is so much in gold plating for that price? It's cost in dollar about $350-400

Far Farre
- new york, oregon, usa


December 2017

A. Hi Far. "Micro" only means "one millionth". But you can be virtually sure that the thickness is not 10-15 millionths of a meter (10-15 microns) because the world's most expensive gold plated watches aren't even plated that thick these days. So he probably meant 10-15 millionths of an inch, i.e., about 0.25 to 0.38 microns.

Unfortunately, we have no way of knowing whether he was telling the truth, and we do not attempt to evaluate items here anyway. But 0.25 to 0.38 microns is probably typical for costume jewelry / imitation jewelry.

Regards,

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



How long do 24k gold electroplated taps last?

January 20, 2018

Q. Hi as a rule of thumb how long would 24k gold last before showing signs of wear on bathroom taps?

Steven Gaskell
- Auckland, New Zealand

January 2018

A. Hi Steven. There is almost surely a clearcoat over the gold plating, and it probably ought to last a few years, according to general expectations of merchantability. Unfortunately I don't think there is any way to hazard a better guess.

Regards,

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


January 23, 2018

A. Hi Steven
Ted is quite right. Clearcoat should last a couple of years. Without it 24 kt gold on its own is thin and very soft.
In my opinion it is a totally unsuitable finish for any domestic surface subject to wear like regular cleaning.
Of course, clearcoat detracts from the appearance of gold and it usually ends up looking like brass.
So why not save a small fortune by just buying clearcoated brass fittings?

geoff smith
Geoff Smith
Hampshire,
       England




January 29, 2018

Q. Hello
I'm a goldsmith from Istanbul Turkey. After working years on gold and diamond, we have started to take orders in silver and export them to EU. We started our plating journey by very thin flash plating to get 14k gold look but it was too weak and our goods were losing their color. Customer wants on the other hand, they are looking for pieces gold plated to last approximately 1 year. After quick research we found a company whose occupation is micron plating (as they say). The company owner told us that 1 micron would be fair enough for necklaces and earrings and 2 microns for bracelets and rings. They have solved the durability issue of the plating. But we face a color problem every time we give them chain necklaces; nearly half of them come in really dark gold color (sometimes they look they are burnt) while the rest of them have 14k gold shine.
Whenever we discuss this problem with the company owner, he blames the chains:)
What I'm curious about is: are there any possible risks that I mentioned above in micron plating because of a mistake or this company is just faking on our models and doing something different than micron plating. I'm having this problem with 25 percent of the chain necklaces (no matter which design it is)
I have been following this topic for a long time and I have seen there are authorities sharing their valuable gold experiences. I really need help and advice.
Best regards

Murat Yapar
- Istanbul Turkey



March 5, 2018

Q. I bought a watch with a gold plated band which after only a month became very tarnished. I bought a replacement one today and am fearful that it too will only last a few weeks. Is there anything I can do to keep it looking like gold? Thank you. Bev.

Bev Davis
- Brisbane Australia.


3M Silver Protector Strips

March 2018

A. Hi Bev. If you wear it only occasionally, you could wrap it in an anti-tarnish cloth, or put anti-tarnish materials in a drawer with it. But practically, the only thing you can do is make sure you bought a different brand this time.

Regards,

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



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