Things You'll Need
- Silver item(s)
- Bowl with mild soapy water
- Gold plating pen kit (recommended)
- Clean soft shop towel or rag
- 14 karat yellow gold solution
Gold-plating silver can be moderately challenging if you are uncertain of which gold plating kit or system to use. There are so many gold plating pens, kits and systems that it is wise to set a budget first and then do some research into the type of gold plating system or kit that will best suit your needs. If you are gold plating only one silver jewelry item, or only a few, then a small gold plating pen kit with the gold solutions of your choice is the best option.
Dip the silver item that is to be gold plated into the bowl of soapy water
Gently rub the silver item that you are intending to gold plate between your fingers to clean off any dirt on it.
Dry the silver item on the shop towel or rag.
Plug in the gold plating pen to an electrical outlet.
Soak the gold brush part of the pen kit in the gold-plating solution.
With one hand, touch the metal part of the gold plating pen to the silver item that you are trying to plate, and then hold it there.
Brush on the gold-plating solution with the brush part of the pen kit to the silver item with the other hand, while maintaining an electrical current contact between the gold plating pen and the silver item that you are plating.
Move the gold-plating brush with solution on it gently around on the silver item in circles until you see the gold color start to emerge on the silver item.
Move the metal gold-plating pen electrical current to a different area on the silver item to make sure that you gold plate the area where the metal contact was first being made, too.
Remove the metal gold-plating pen contact from the silver item with gold plating on it. Put the gold-plating brush down and polish the gold-plated silver item gently on the shop towel. You should now have a beautiful gold-plated silver item.
The more gold plating solution you apply to the gold plating pen kit brush, the heavier and thicker the gold plating will be on the silver item. Jewelry stores sometimes measure gold plating amounts by the micrometer. Gold-plated silver items are not hallmark stamped for gold purity because they are only gold plated, and not gold through and through, such as 14-karat or 10-karat gold items are.
Gold is a soft metal, so make sure that you gold plate the silver item with enough gold plating solution to make it durable. Otherwise, gold plating can and will wear off over time. The best way to clean gold-plated items is to simply polish them with a gentle polishing cloth or rag. Gold plating can be buffed off, and will certainly flake and chip off if cleaned with professional buffing equipment, or jewelry pickling acids
Mike Marcoe is a writer/editor with more than 19 years of experience. His clients have included the Educated Investor, the University of Wisconsin, New York Life, the "Encyclopedia of Personal Finance," "Your Retirement Watch" and "The Internet Review of Books." He works as the content manager for a financial education software firm and holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Wisconsin.