Will Cheap Plating Liquids Make It Harder to Recognize Gold and Silver Items?

In years past, it was relatively difficult to plate a bright, shiny new layer of gold or silver onto other items. To do it, you had to either immerse the items to be plated in a plating tank or, in some cases, use an electrified plating brush to apply a thin new layer of gold or silver.

Now, a new way to plate gold or silver on to older items has come along, and we have to admit it is pretty good. It is a new kind of gold and silver-plating liquid that applies a thin layer of gold or silver. You can even find this liquid advertised on late-night television ads.

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How It Works

The fluid contains a mixture of gold and silver (small amounts) and other chemicals. You simply put some of the liquid onto a rag or pad and rub it onto the item you want to plate. That item could already be plated with gold or silver, or made of solid gold or silver. You can even use this liquid to apply a thin layer of gold or silver onto base metal, apparently with pretty convincing results. After you have applied a new, thin layer of gold or silver, all you have to do is polish the item and it looks bright and shiny.

How this Product’s Results Differ from True Plating

Actually, the results do not differ in one sense: in both cases, a layer of gold or silver is applied to another metal, and bonds chemically. The difference is that these new plating liquids apply an ultra-thin layer of gold or silver, just enough to impart a nice sheen to the surface.

Another difference is that these liquids do not leave behind a layer of gold or silver that can be removed or recycled profitably. They simply do not leave enough gold or silver behind.

How These Products Could Fool Precious Metal Investors

We have looked at several items that have been plated using these new products and we have to admit that with the naked eye, it is difficult to know exactly what you are looking at. Is that old piece of jewelry thickly plated with gold? Is that old fork or spoon thickly plated with silver?

It is hard to tell. To know for certain, it is necessary to take those items into a well-equipped precious-metal testing lab like ours for evaluation.

But here is one thing to be aware of. These plating liquids, inexpensive though they are, can be used to fool the eyes of precious metal investors.

Not sure what you have? Call Specialty Metals Smelters and Refiners at 800-426-2344 and talk with our precious metal recycling consultants. 

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