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Thread: Gold Plating on Non-Mirror Finish

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
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    3

    Default Gold Plating on Non-Mirror Finish

    Hello,

    I have tried searching the web to find a good gold related website for a little bit of advice. I apologise, as I now see that you specialise more in jewlery than with items. Feel free to shoot my question down for this reason. My situation is that I have a very old silver-plated brass Paten that I would like to restore. It is fairly old and the silver plating was very worn. I had decided to strip the remaining plating myself to save money on the replating, but I have noticed now that I have done so that the metal contains very small "pits" (if that's the correct term).

    My question is, since the previous silver plating had covered these, will any new coating of silver or gold plating fill these in also?



    Any help is much appreciated,

    Darran.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
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    Central London
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    8,208

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    Dear Darran,

    Do nothing more until you have spoken to the company who will do the plating, but I think your answer is that it depends on the thickness of the new deposit.

    You will probably have to accept a compromise now. Welcome to the forum, BTW. Dennis.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
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    491

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    Hi Darran,
    Agree with Dennis on this one. You might be able to conceal them slightly, especially if the original plating covered them, but if the deposit is thick enough to cover the pits, it will also be thick enough to cover fine details.

    It's difficult to tell without seeing exactly what the piece is, but if the small pits are caused by porosity in the metal, polishing back further will just make the finish worse.
    The pits that you see on the surface will go all the way though the metal. Tiny pits that are too small to look like holes, will make the surface appear "cloudy".
    If this is the case, you will not be able to achieve a mirror finish, no matter how much you work it.
    Does this sound like what you've got?

    If this is the case, stop trying to polish it now!!! You are just making the surface worse for plating.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
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    Default

    That sounds something like it! They are very small little dents, but I notice that on the opposite side of the metal they protrude. I haven't noticed this before and I have no experience working with metals to know what it is caused by, I have tried to take a couple of pictures that might help, although I apologise for the quality as they are very small.

    Thank you for your replies so far! I feel a bit of a fool for going to a jewellers forum without noticing!

    With flash and without flash.
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    Last edited by Dcduo; 29-03-2015 at 03:13 AM.

  5. #5
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    Dec 2009
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    Central London
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    It looks like a piece of hardware, or table ware. What is It?

    In any case silver plating should be undertaken by a professional plater, who will be well experienced in how best to deal with it. They might burnish the brass instead of polishing it.
    It is possible to buy a plating solution in a bottle, which is applied with a cloth, but the result will be poor as it is meant to revive worn silver plate.

    The more you do yourself the more tricky the situation could become.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Wolverhampton
    Posts
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    Hi Darran

    Did you strip the silver plate off with nitric acid ? The pit marks look familiar, it's a practice that is carried out quite often at my place of work but not with brass because the metal is too soft and grainy.(gilding metal, silver or gold)

    When I renovate a jewel I usually have to solder a new fitting to the piece which is enough to take away what little plating is left on the jewel I then buff with emery cloth to get all the little marks off and then scotch bright (soft brillo type mop) then it's ready for polishing and plating.

    On our metal jewels (Gilding metal) a nickle deposit is used to bling the piece brighter then the silver plate or gilt goes over the top.

    Rule no 1, never try to polish marks out of your piece you'll end up with drag marks

    Rule no 2, gilt will never fill any marks even if you use more than a micron. A heavy silver deposit before silver plate has filled up some mild marks in the past but rule of the thumb make sure all marks are out before finishing.

    Carlton
    Be careful what you wish for.......... It might come true

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Posts
    3

    Default

    I'm sorry for the late reply! I have read your posts a while ago but hadn't gotten around to replying until now.

    It is something called a paten. It is used when Holy Communion is given during Mass in Catholic churches. It's purpose is a last line of defence to catch any small (usually almost microscopic) particles that might fall. It's for this reason that it needs to be at the very least plated in a precious metal.

    I know somewhere that needs one very badly, and I found this one being stored away in very bad shape. I thought that it would have been at the very least 60 years old, but I have a notion that it might have been gilded in its lifetime with gold too, so I have no idea how old it could be. My budget for fixing it is very low so I wanted to do as much of the preparation work myself as possible.


    Believe it or not, far from acid I used a dremel, sandpaper and polish to remove the old silver plating. I was worried when you had mentioned that the holes might continue through the metal. I decided to try to try to sand a small area to test and as it turns out I had nothing to worry about as the imperfections were only skin deep. Very relieved. The brass is almost a mirror finish now and I hope to send it off to the platers tomorrow.

    Thank you very much for you help!


    Darran

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