Electroplating 101 - How to Plate 14 Karat Gold

There's nothing more classic than gold. The look of a gold piece has been very popular since it's discovery and it has changed the world with it's allure. We don't have to work that hard for it anymore, because electroplating is so simple and accessible for everyone. Curious about how to set up a plating station? Check out this post that will guide you through the process and tell you what you need.

You might be wondering what the difference is between this plating solution and the other gold plating solutions discussed in other blogs. This solution will leave a 14 karat gold plating layer, meaning that it is made up of around 60% pure gold. In our other gold blog posts we discuss plating with solutions of higher gold content which makes the finish more durable at a slightly higher price.

Plating Setup for 14Kt Gold

Bath for Plating

It's time to set up the precious metal bath for plating! Pour 1 liter of TWL 1N-14Kt gold solution into a 1 liter glass beaker and drop the magnetic pellet for stirring inside. Put the beaker on the magnetic mixer hotplate and heat to 100°F, letting it mix on a medium-slow setting for 15 mins. Install a candy cane-esque stainless steel bent anode so that the long end is in the beaker. Connect the positive lead of the rectifier to the anode and set the rectifier voltage to 4-8 (recommended 5 volts) and the plating time to 30-45 seconds. Now you're ready to plate!

Bath Plating Settings for 14Kt Gold

Plating

Now, if you're plating a brand new item you can skip to step 5, but if you're plating an older piece or performing a repair you should complete all 13 steps. Note: when we say to used distilled water it is because distilled water is containment free and will ensure spot free drying.

  1. Polish the item. Be sure to remove the polish from the item as soon as possible after application. If you have an ultrasonic cleaner we recommend using it with a jewelry solution to make sure the polish does not harden on the ring. This will help the plating solution stick stronger for it eliminates all contaminates.
  2. Cut a 4" piece of copper wire. Make a loop to hold the item and connect it to the negative wire lead from the rectifier.
  3. Rinse in distilled water.
  4. Electro-clean for 1 minute at 125°F, 5 volts.
  5. Rinse in distilled water. Visually inspect for polish oil. Electro-clean again if necessary.
  6. Place in acid activation beaker for 10 seconds.
  7. Rinse in distilled water.
  8. Electroplate in 1N-14Kt Gold plating solution for 40 seconds at 110°, 5 volts.
  9. Rinse in distilled water.
  10. Return to electro-cleaner for 10 second treatment to stabilize the 1N-14Kt gold plating layer.
  11. Rinse in distilled water. Pro tip: hot distilled water dries faster.
  12. Dry item with a small hair dryer or soft tissue without lotion.
  13. Dispose of all chemicals properly! Check your local laws and regulations.

Pro tip: you can reuse your electroplating and acid activation solutions but you should replace them weekly. All distilled water rinses should be replaced daily.

If you want a video to reference check this out!

Got any questions? Let us know below 🙂

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