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How to silver plate jewellery

Plating metal items with a thin silver wash can give them a distinctive look characterised by a brilliant shine. But silver is also highly corrosive and, over time, once-glowing surfaces can turn dark and dull. For silver-plated items, the top layer of silver can often rub off. Re-plating silver most often requires some cleaning and a bath in a chemical solution that removes the first layer, revealing the underlying shining silver. Immersion products actually add silver to the surface, in those instances where silver polish and cleaning just won't do.

Clean the object to remove dirt. Use a gentle cloth and water to clean the surface, using a cotton swab for the protected areas.

Use a silver dip to remove tarnish. A silver dip removes the very top layer of the surface and can easily restore a finish. If your finish is uneven, a dip will make it more even. If the item is small, place it into the dip for several seconds and then rinse it completely. For larger items, put the solution on a cloth and gently apply to the item's surface, taking care to rinse completely and dry thoroughly.

Try immersion plating. Immersion plating can also restore silver that has worn through on an object, or put a thin layer of silver on the surface. It works by placing an item in an immersion solution with silver particles, which adhere to the copper and brass that has been exposed. This can have satisfactory, though temporary, results, but for more extensive silver plating, a professional's work is likely needed.

Tip

Don't use toothpaste as a silver polish because it is highly abrasive. Generally, silver plating that is more extensive than what can be accomplished with an immersion technique requires the help of a professional.

Warning

Use any chemicals in a well-ventilated area.

Things You'll Need

  • Cotton swab
  • Cotton cloth
  • Silver dip
  • Immersion plating silver kit
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About the Author

Egon Schiele is an art connoisseur who has been writing professionally for more than a decade. He works as a practicing attorney, and enjoys writing on many different topics for online publications such as eHow, Trails, and various contributions to blogs as well as print publications aimed at collectors of antiques.