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topic 41517 p5

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 2019


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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.


adv.
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



August 24, 2018

Q. One of the following solution was given by Ted Mooney, P.E.: "Of the materials you listed, I think a brass or copper base, followed by nickel plating (or white bronze if jewelry), immediately followed by gold plating would be the best choice."

My question is the following: I have a watch case I would like to gold plate, with a home set electrolyte solution, but in the instructions they mention to mirror polish the object because of all the scratches you would notice, but now that I'm going to nickel plate, is this still necessary!?

Patrick Marugg
- Corunha, Spain


August 2018

A. Hi Patrick. Modern nickel plating baths are "self leveling", so surfaces that will be nickel plated do not require mirror polishing. But two provisos: first, I am not necessarily sure that a home hobbyist will achieve proper self-leveling unless you have some experience; second, the fact that nickel plating does not require a mirror-finished substrate doesn't mean that it can cover and conceal all scratches; up to a certain depth it will cover them, but beyond that it will emphasize them. If this is an old watch case, chances are it has some scratches which the nickel plating will emphasize rather than cover.

Regards,

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



August 20, 2018

Q. Has anyone had any experience with home plating kits?

I am talking about the complete kit with everything you need to gold plate your jewellery at home.
These kits are around US $3000 with rectifier included, usually it should also include a quart of 24 karat gold solution.
I would love to hear from anyone who has any knowledge on these types of kits as I am seriously thinking of buying one.

Regards,

kaye walsh
jewellery inc - melbourne victoria australia


August 2018
41517-2

A. Hi Kaye.

adv.
Here is a 'kit' from Gold Touch for $499 at the time of writing =>


There is really nothing special about the $3000 price range. Electroplating for the purpose of a science experiment can be done at no cost, and with stuff already in your kitchen; and at the other extreme a plating installation for depositing a single metal can cost $10 million or more.

If you have not done plating before, my own feeling is that you should do the kids free science experiment plating first ("Electroplating -- How It Works") to quickly understand the science behind electroplating, at least at a grade school level. I would then consider buying a kit and some copper plating solution and trying some copper plating and clear coating of jewelry. To me, the main issue with gold plating is just that experimenting and trying to learn the basics using a metal which costs $1000 an ounce is a costly way to go :-)

Additional comments are welcome! ... but sorry, we can't post comments mentioning or suggesting specific brands of kits (why?).

Regards,

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


August 21, 2018

A. Ted is right. Gold is awfully expensive to experiment with; you should start with something simpler.
Does the kit include gold stripper for when you get it wrong? We all do sometimes!
I would want a spill tray for when you break one of those glass beakers (not if).
Do you have cleaning chemicals; and know how to do a water break test?
Do you intend to do a nickel undercoat?
How do you intend to dispose of unwanted chemicals (local regulations) and have you considered first aid when some gets on your skin - or in your eye?
And was that reel of wire in the photo tinned? You should use bare copper to avoid getting tin or lead in the gold.

$3000 is a significant investment. A local plating company could do a lot of work for that.

geoff smith
Geoff Smith
Hampshire, England


October 2, 2018

thumbs up sign 
Thank you Geoff and Ted for your advice regarding electroplating at home.

I guess the main impetus for wanting to buy a gold plating kit is that I don't know if I can trust this function to just any old gold plating business.
There's really no way I can judge if they are depositing the right amount of gold specified until it's too late, no?
This forum has given me much too think about re. investing in an expensive plating kit, thank you again.

Regards,

Kaye Walsh [returning]
jewellery inc - melbourne australia


October 2018

A. Hi again Kate. Until you've acquired some plating experience there will be no easy way for you to be assured that you applied the required thickness either :-)

Plating shops do plating for medical parts and aerospace ... it's possible to find trustable ones. Ask them for a "cert" (certification) regarding the gold thickness, while you practice with copper electroplating/electroforming. The same equipment you use for copper can be used for nickel and gold after a learning period.

Regards,

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



Gold plating turns orange if touched

November 2, 2018

A. I had some jewelry plated (14k 1 micron thick on some bronze pieces and some sterling silver pieces) by a major US gold plating company and when I received the pieces they turned orange almost immediately after contact. When I contacted them about that they said that was oil from my hands and it would wash off. When I washed them with soap and water the dark orange marks seemed to mostly go away. But then the second I touch them again (even with clean hands) they darken again. Now about 2 months later they are all orange (looks like tarnish) which does not go away with washing them or even using a tarnish remover.

I've only had pieces plated with this particular company, so I'm unsure if this is how gold plated jewelry always reacts, or if this is strange. Should I expect this? Should I ask for something different? Does anyone have a gold plating company that you would recommend for this?

Thanks!

Aran Cawley
- Alexandria, Virginia


November 6, 2018

A. Hello Aran, did the plating company use a barrier plate (diffusion barrier)? There are a few things to consider. If the company you chose did not use a barrier plate between the brass and the gold the brass will migrate through the gold and cause the color change. If the gold plating is too thin, migration is accelerated. The plater should have told you barrier plates are commonly used for gold over brass. If they plate copper over the brass before the gold the same scenario will take place.

Mark Baker
Electronics plating - Phoenix Arizona USA



December 25, 2018

Q. Hi,

I sell wedding rings, typically, sterling silver and titanium steel, gold plated titanium steel rings and gold layered brass rings.

Now the thing is we are in a very hot and humid climate, West Africa and the gold plated and layered rings do not hold up very long before losing their colour, 1-2 months.

My question is, if I rhodium plate the gold layered brass rings, would it last longer, hopefully up to a year or two? Also, can you recommend any reliable vendors who can supply real gold filled rings? Thanks!

Zee Aju
Bridal Jewelry - Lagos, Nigeria
  ^- Privately contact this inquirer -^


December 2018

A. Hi Zee. Rhodium is only for silver or white gold rings because it is silvery color. It is not an answer for yellow rings.

Regards,

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



January 26, 2019

Q. We are in the process of developing a high end product that is to be gold plated for ensuring a service life of about 30 years. Our plater/chemistry supplier has recommended 25 microns of hard gold plating with gold purity of about 99.5%.
We believe this thickness and the hard gold plating will take care of the wear issues for this application. However we are keen to address the porosity issues.
Is it a good idea to have a thin layer of soft gold on Ni barrier and then the hard gold to ensure zero porosity?
Also by adding this soft gold layer, will we get better flexibility of the hard gold layer on top - or rather reduce brittleness of the complete plating solution?

ibrahim ismail
Percept - decorative coatings - cairo, egypt


January 29, 2019

A. Hello Ibrahim, with hard gold plating of 25 microns you won't have any porosity issues. With that thickness the pores will be closed. I've never had to plate gold over 100 microinches, and you would be approaching 1000 microinches. You would be at the very high end of the gold plating thickness spectrum. The oil and gas industry often require greater gold thicknesses, as well as atmospheric condition considerations. A gold strike bath is employed by many shops to improve adhesion of the top gold layer and reduces drag in of metallic contaminants to the main gold plating bath. The strike bath is a low metal concentration bath without any alloys. Be very careful of brittleness in the deposit. Have some bend tests done on a regular basis. As gold purity decreases the deposit is less malleable. Good luck in your venture.

Mark Baker
Electronic Plating - Phoenix, Arizona USA


January 29, 2019

Q. Thanks Mark! You mention about brittleness. Actually we are concerned about this as well. As mentioned in my initial query, would the soft gold under layer of about 1 micron help with any brittleness issues?
Also, the purity of the hard gold layer would be about 99.5%. At this purity too, should we be worried about brittleness?

Also, I'm not sure what the other metal will be used by the plater that would offer the hardness of about 250 vickers (as claimed by the plater). if I may tap into your experience, which metal would be best to alloy with gold to allow about 250 vickers hardness, and yet maintain a high purity as mentioned above?

ibrahim ismail [returning]
Percept - decorative coatings - cairo, egypt


January 29, 2019

A. Hi Ibrahim

I have electroformed many parts in a standard nickel hardened acid gold (Metalor) to a thickness of 1 mm
There was never any sign of brittleness.
It is usually accepted that over 5 microns there is no porosity or diffusion issues.

geoff smith
Geoff Smith
Hampshire, England


January 30, 2019

A. Hello again Ibraham, your parts being brittle depends on how clean the plater keeps their gold bath. As other metal contaminants are introduced into the bath through drag in, the gold purity drops and could result in parts being brittle. If good rinsing and good housekeeping is employed there should be no problem. A pure gold plate under the hard gold would not make any difference as far as parts being brittle. You can ask your plater if his gold bath supplier regularly checks for metallic contaminants when they do routine analysis. Good luck!

Mark Baker
Electronic Plating - Phoenix, Arizona USA



June 23, 2019

Q. Hi everyone, I need your assistance. I've been reading this forum for some time and found it extremely useful so I'm hoping you can help.

I received my samples of 18k gold plated vermeil (2.5 micron on 925), no e-coating. However after a month of wearing it a rosegold/more copper like colour was coming through. I went back to my supplier and they said they put a flash layer of 23k on top as it reflects the gold colour desired, but underneath is 18k which has more copper. They said this is normal for EVERY supplier (I've asked them to ask multiple) and once this flash layer comes off a different more coppery colour will always show.

Firstly is this normal? I have requested the 18k to have a lower % of copper to ensure it isn't on the verge of Rosegold % mixes.

Secondly, your advice may be to simply add a e-coating, however once I receive my products I engraved fingerprints (of customer loved ones) on the pendant. My supplier tells me I can't add ecoating before as the engraving will go WHITE and be rough. Is this right?

Any advice on the above would be appreciated

Rosie Bunton
- Sydney, NSW, Australia


June 2019

A. Hi Rosie. Vermeil is very high quality jewelry and should not require e-coating. I have heard of 'gold coloring' which involves putting a final layer of the exact color you want on top of a substantial layer of regular gold plating, however, it usually runs the exact opposite way of what you describe. Usually a heavy coating of yellow gold might be 'colored' rose or green via a thin top coating.

Your vendor's story isn't ringing true for me. It sounds to me like he has an inventory of rose gold (instead of yellow gold) pieces that he is offering to you by applying a final topcoat of yellow gold. I don't think you should normally have to worry about vermeil changing color even in years ... let's see if an experienced jewelry plater can say something :-)

Regards,

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


simultaneous June 23, 2019

Q. When you say Rose Gold inventory, are you meaning they are potentially using Rose Gold Plating, then using flash 23k, or are you meaning they may be using Rose Gold instead of Sterling Silver as a base. Due to Rose Gold being a mix v.s the starting point, I assume you mean the former?

Looking forward to hearing other opinions, as I need a professional opinion to go back with. I'm not feeling their story either Ted.

Rosie Bunton [returning]
- Sydney, NSW, Australia


June 24, 2019

A. Yes, I agree with Ted. In addition, there is really no reason to build the vermeil gold thickness with an 18K alloy and certainly not a copper alloy. To qualify as vermeil the 2.5 micron thickness is pure gold or equivalent. So the thickness of 18K gold alloy will have to be much thicker than 2.5 microns to meet the standard.

Neil Bell
Red Sky Plating

supporting advertiser
Albuquerque, New Mexico
red sky banner ad


June 2019

thumbs up sign Thanks Neil!

A. Hi again, Rosie. I'm suggesting the possibility that they may have had a stock of rose gold plated items and decided to meet your need by putting a flash of yellow gold on top of that. But I'm not claiming that these parts, which I haven't even seen, do or don't meet the quality standard for vermeil.

Speaking as a former 'expert witness' on a half dozen or more court cases in the USA though, I unfortunately must inform you that nothing you can read on the internet will ever constitute "a professional opinion". I doubt you would take legal action on "samples", but to do so you must retain the services of an expert; the opposing side will then challenge his/her credentials and the judge will rule. If any volume is potentially involved, you probably should get a jeweler to evaluate exactly what you received. Good luck.

Regards,

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



July 22, 2019

Q. Hi I'm new in this. I want to know is 0.25 m better plating than 0.03? Will it Last long?

Jose davila
- Kissimmee Florida


July 2019

A. Hi Jose. It sounds like you are trying to judge the quality of some jewelry from its seller's sales pap, and that usually doesn't work :-)
"0.25 m" obviously doesn't mean meters. Maybe it means "microns" to you? 1 µ thickness used to be considered fairly good quality costume jewelry. In fact, it was frequently just called "micron jewelry". These days 1 micron is probably hard to find in the mass market, so I guess I'd call 0.25 µ thickness (10 microinches) "okay" quality. 0.03 µ seems impossibly thin -- are you sure what units 0.03 was referring to?

Regards,

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



September 3, 2019

Q. Hi, I have been reading the entire thread and wanted to run by some details before I place my order with a china factory to produce a bangle.

What I am looking to produce is a gold quality that will last more than a year with out any gold color fading. Please help me phrase this properly and advise the best option from your expertise so that my terms and description is well stated so the factory understands my needs:

Option 1: Stainless steel base, then TiN by PVD 1 micron undercoating before gold plating of 14k or 18k hard gold coating 3 micron. The last electroplating layer.

Option 2: copper base l, layer of palladium, 3 microns of 18k hard gold plating, last layer TiN 1 micron gold color

Option 3: sterling silver base, second layer of palladium, last layer 3 microns of gold plating.

Pat Harn
- West Africa



October 5, 2019

Q. Hi Ted and co, I wrote on here a while ago about my 2.5 micron gold plated gold pendant has become oxidized, that the gold had started to change colour. We also had necklaces done but they had an e-coating over the top and have not oxidized.

I originally wanted to put e-coating on our smooth 18mm x 2m gold plated pendant, however our supplier said if we did that, the engraving we put on after would be ruined. However I have researched many other brands and they seem to engrave initials etc over plated pendants with a clear lacquer.

For context we engrave fingerprints of our customers loved ones on pendants.

So my question - is my supplier correct when they say adding ecoating on top of 2.5 micron pendant will ruin the engraving - which would be done after?

Rosie Bunton [returning]
Jewellery - Sydney, Australia

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