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topic 59352

Orange peel effect on gold plated bracelet

July 24, 2013

Q. Orange peel effect on 50th birthday present bracelet? Help! Seven years ago, my father (now passed away) gave me a 'gold' bracelet which tarnished to expose copper. I have had it gold plated by a reputable company in the jewellery quarter in Birmingham, only to find that it now has an odd finish, and certainly not the bright finish it had before plating. This has been explained with comments about priorly made scratches and natural wear & tear, which the plating has apparently highlighted, but I am not convinced. To me the now orange peel finish looks like something has happened during the process -- but as a layman with limited knowledge of the procedure I cannot be sure. Any comments you might be able to give me as to how this has happened or any course of corrective action I might take now would be very gratefully received.

Susan Clare Hall
very interested layman - Solihull, England

July 30, 2013

A. Susan,
Without being able to see the bracelet I can only speculate. I suspect that the orange peel is caused by an organic resin coating (lacquer) used to protect a very thin layer of gold from wear. This is quite common in fashion jewellery and other items where a gold colour is wanted but not the cost of a thicker more wear resistance coating.
If you have access to an electrical multimeter, a simple test to see if the surface is electrically conductive. If the bracelet has a resin coating you will no conductivity. If the test meter has sharp, pointed probes take care not to push them through the film to the underlying metal.
I could make more comments, but at this stage, I would like to find if I am on the right lines.
Your comments please.
Harry Parkes

Harry Parkes
- Birmingham, UK

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