-- The Home Page of the Finishing Industry

on this site
current topics

60,000 Q&A topics -- Education, Aloha, & Fun

topic 57871

Should I plate my trumpet with 10k gold or 14k?

A discussion started in 2011 but continuing through 2019

October 18, 2011

Q. Aloha! Could someone please tell me if I can do 10k or 14k gold plating that will be reasonably tough to wear off from a lot of handling? I have an old trumpet that is/was silver plated and then a low karat gold plating applied by the factory or their outsourcing. This musical instrument manufacturer is no longer around and I want to restore my instrument to its original condition of just a light gold wash look. I have e-mailed and called many dozens of companies .. most said they only do 24k (found some smaller businesses that do 18k). A place in Indiana does just about the best 24k work I've seen, but won't do 10k or 14k.

Stanton Haugen
professional - Honolulu, Hawaii

October 21, 2011

A. Try any hard gold plating solution, but don't think that it is something for eternity. You may use some special clearcoat (for hardware) to protect it too. Hope it helps and good luck!

Goran Budija
- Zagreb, Croatia

simultaneous October 21, 2011

A. I don't think they make a true 10K or 14K yellow gold plating solution, at least not one composed of gold, silver, and copper, like karat jewelry is. What they do have is "color" gold plating solutions, those which have the "color" of 10K, 14K, etc., but not necessarily the same composition. These "color" golds are plated quite thinly and would definitely require a clearcoat to provide any wear resistance. If you can find a plater that specializes in plating large amounts of costume jewelry, they should be able to provide about any color you want and a proper, durable clearcoat.

Chris Owen
- Nevada, Missouri, USA

October 22, 2011

A. Most gold platers get their "alloy" golds from specialist suppliers. They have developed what the jewelry and decorative trade require. That is a deposit that matches the colour of different 'solid' alloys. They do this with small additions of various metals or mixtures of metals, nickel, cobalt, iron, copper etc. (as I recall, our sample box had about 20 different colours)
These additions are only a small percentage of the deposit and would rarely lower the caratage below about 23. This is not a problem to the regulators as the caratage is actually higher than marked and the deposit is usually very thin. Many platers do not understand this.
The hardness and wear properties are appropriate to costume jewelry. You could ask for thicker plating on the parts of the instrument you handle but you will have to trust the plater unless he has appropriate measuring kit and many decorative platers do not.
It is possible, for technical applications, to deposit a wide range of gold alloys but this makes bath control very critical and I doubt you will find this offered by any jobbing shop.
Goran's advice is good. I would get your local shop to plate a small sample and see if you like the colour.
You may like to know that the best way to compare gold colours is to view them through a piece of tracing paper or similar placed on the surface to eliminate reflections.
If you decide to lacquer the instrument, the best I know is an electrophoretic clear lacquer baked on (tough enough for door furniture)

geoff smith
Geoff Smith
Hampshire, England

October 24, 2011

A. A large company I once worked for sold a wide range of color gold solutions. To see the true color of the deposits, without the glare, we plated a series of 1" x 4" polished brass panels, in beakers, with bright nickel and then the various color golds. Then, we put a piece of white Kleenex on the panel and dampened it with a few drops of water to make the Kleenex cling to the panel. Any wrinkles were smoothed out very carefully to prevent tearing.

We made a large set of master panels. These were used to compare (using the Kleenex) deposits of the customer's solution, when the color got out of whack. We made adjustments to the customer's solution, plated more panels, and zeroed in on the correct color.

Chris Owen
- Nevada, Missouri, USA

June 21, 2019

Q. How do you clean or polish an 18k gold trumpet?

Angela Crow
- Pensacola, Florida

June 21, 2019

A. Hello Angela,
You could go to a jewelry store and purchase some jewelry polishing cloths. They would be safer to use on an instrument than any liquid or chemical.

Mark Baker
Electronics plating - Winston-Salem, North Carolina USA is possible thanks to our supporting advertisers, including this shop:none


Q, A, or Comment on THIS thread SEARCH for Threads about ... My Topic Not Found: Start NEW Thread

Disclaimer: It's not possible to diagnose a finishing problem or the hazards of an operation via these pages. All information presented is for general reference and does not represent a professional opinion nor the policy of an author's employer. The internet is largely anonymous & unvetted; some names may be fictitious and some recommendations may be deliberately harmful.

  If you need a product/service, please check these Directories:

JobshopsCapital Equip. & Install'nChemicals & Consumables Consult'g, Train'g, SoftwareEnvironmental Compliance

©1995-2020, Inc., Pine Beach, NJ   -   About   -  Privacy Policy
How Google uses data when you visit this site.