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Will Hamilton Plating on Sterling Silver Tarnish?

May 9, 2012

Q. I recently heard of something called hamilton plating over sterling silver and I'm wondering if anyone has heard of this and do they know if it will tarnish?

Jean Davis
- Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, US

"Silver Tarnish Strips"

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May 9, 2012

A. Hello Jean.

Hamilton Gold is a color rather than a detailed specification. According to http://www.artisanplating.com/faqs/watchplatingfaqs.html, it refers to a color used on Hamilton Watches which was light yellow and warm, and not brassy.

Unfortunately, without knowing any details of the exposure conditions or the plating process it's not possible to predict its life or its freedom from tarnishing. I think all that can be said is that pure 24 kt gold does not tarnish, so if the plating is thick enough to prevent porosity and diffusion of the silver into the gold, and if the karat is high, it shouldn't tarnish.


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

May 10, 2012

A. Hi Jean,
Hamilton Gold over silver tarnishing would depend on the "wear" conditions the piece would be subjected to. It would also depend on the plating thickness of the Hamilton Gold finish. In other words, when the gold wears off silver is exposed, and silver does tarnish. In decorative gold plating there is normally a barrier plate between the base metal (silver) and the gold plate. This should not be much of an issue because of the alloys used in Hamilton Gold plating. If the gold plating is a decent thickness, and the piece is a necklace, bracelet, broochs, you don't have to worry too much about tarnishing. Hamilton Gold was widely used years ago for gold plating on watch casings (Hamilton Watch Co). Hope this helps.

Mark Baker
Engineering - Mesa, Arizona, USA

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