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Gold Plating Tutorial

Watch how to gold plate jewelry at home.


Rael Cohen:

Hello. My name is Rael, and I am a jewelry designer, based out of Denver, Colorado. Today, I'm going to be showing you how to use the Jewel Master Gold Plating Kit. And it's actually a remarkably simple process for stainless steel, which is the metal that I'll be demonstrating today. It only requires three chemicals. You have a cleaner, then you have an activating solution, and then whatever finish you'd like to play with. In this case, it's going to be 24-karat bright gold. I am now going to have my videographer come around the corner, so you can get a direct perspective of what this process is like.

Before we begin, I'm going to put on safety goggles. This is highly important and also a respirator mask. Got that? Great. Okay.

This little contraption is a ring hook. And what it does is it allows me to suspend the different pieces of jewelry, hang it on the bus bar and dip it into the solution. So I'm going to plate two different pairs of earrings. You can see this made out of the stainless steel. Thread them onto the hooks. (silence).

And I already have my device turned on. So to begin with the first solution, you want to have the voltage set to seven volts. And then you simply move the bus bars into position. Thread it on and I'll let this sit here for about a minute, maybe a minute and 10 seconds. So you can see that there's light gassing happening, which lets you know that's working. And then the voltage will automatically drop, depending on how many pieces you have being plated. So it hangs out here for about, I don't know, another 45 seconds. And I like to give it a little swish, just to make sure that everything gets cleaned. (silence)

And then at times, what I'll do is I'll use a chopstick to take it out and then dip it into a beaker of water. And this isn't tap water. This is actually purified water, which you can pick up at different drug stores or supermarkets. And so this allows me to fish around getting the cleaner solution off of it and then I'll actually dunk it into a second beaker of purified water just to make sure there's no residue on there.

Next is the activating agent in this case, TriVal. So again, you keep it at seven volts and this is a much shorter process. You let us sit in the TriVal for between 10 and 15 seconds. And with this, I actually like to rotate the pieces to make sure both sides get even coating. So after 10 to 15 seconds, it comes off. And then again, into its own beaker of purified water.

Before I dip it into the gold, you want to turn the voltage down. So the range for plating with gold is going to be between 2.5 and three volts. So anywhere around 2.75 is ideal. And because the voltage drops once I put the pieces in, I overshoot by about a full volt.

So as I put the pieces in you noticed that it dropped down to about two and a half. I'm going to adjust this to see how close I can get it to 2.75.

Machine is very sensitive. So slight touch is all that's required. I think I'm going to leave it at 2.73. If it gets a little bit higher, there's a chance of burning. And so what happens here is the longer you leave your pieces in the gold, the thicker the gold will be, I typically plate between a minute and a minute and a half. And that yields about a quarter of a micron, a little bit thicker. It's common that the water or the gold solution remains flat. You won't get any gassing like you did with the first two, so it's just still and about halfway through the process, again, I like to rotate.

So I'll take this off, flip it around.

There we go. And if you'll notice, the temperature right now is just about a hundred degrees. And for the gold, you want it to be between 95 and a hundred. And so what I will do is I will preheat the gold on the oven in a pot of water. I don't let the water boil and it takes about 7 to 10 minutes to get from room temperature up to between 95 and 100.

So I think that that's nice and cooked. Take these off. Put them in the rinse. You'll see here I have two pairs of gold-plated earrings.

It's very simple and very easy. And that, my friends is how you use the Jewel Master Gold Plating Kit