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Plating with an Alloy of Silver and Gold





October 5, 2012

Q. Is there a way to electroplate alloys of silver and gold? Usually these would be 25-60% silver in copper, or 3-10% gold in copper (maybe with some small lead additive). These are traditional Japanese alloys (Shibuishi and Shakudo).

Daniel Fronefield
hobbyist - Peyton, Colorado, USA



October 10, 2012

A. Yes it can be done, but it is complicated. You can use cyanide based solutions or even cyanide-free. Ferrocyanide solutions are simplest and probably oldest cyanide free solutions (1841-Elsners ferrocyanide based gold plating solution!) Probably thiosulphate based or pyrophosphate based solutions can be used too (try uspto.gov webpage -USA patents database, there you can find at least 1 patent devoted to thiosulphate based gold, copper and silver baths). Probably you know that cyanide based solutions are very dangerous stuff, so for DIY work I must recommend you only use cyanide-free solutions. You can use gold or silver bath + add some water soluble copper salt, or copper bath + add gold or silver water soluble salts. Complicated, and need lots of experiment, but as I said before it can be done. Hope it helps and good luck!

Goran Budija
- Zagreb,Croatia


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