Here we answer the most frequently asked electroplating questions. If you have a question that has not been answered below, please get in touch and we will add it to our list.
Is plating expensive?
Plating is inexpensive to do but the costs vary depending on the price of the metals you wish to plate with. For example, plating something the size of an iPhone with enough gold to be hard-wearing costs £8 - £10 worth of actual gold. However, plating the same sized item in nickel or copper costs pennies.
Is plating difficult?
Plating is surprisingly easy to do and to make it even easier, our kits contain a tutorial that should get you up and running within 30-40 minutes of setting up your kit. As well as this, we provide unrivaled technical support via phone or email. We also provide extensive worldwide 1-1 tuition via video call at no extra cost with many of our kits.
We've done the hard work for you, and have developed our kit ranges through years of extensive research and trials to bring the reliable results and high quality that our customers rely upon.
We've also got a whole host of tricks and tips up our sleeves that we are more than happy to share with you!
Is electroplating dangerous?
It is easy to be safe around the chemicals involved in electroplating but best practice is advised. Good ventilation is always recommended when working with chemicals and you must wear appropriate PPE (see product pages for more information). We will also provide full Safety Data Sheets with your purchase. Providing you follow the instructions given and keep the chemicals out of reach of children and pets, they can be used safely.
Please also bear in mind that there is a world of difference between using low volumes of plating chemicals on a small scale, as in all of the plating kits available on our website, and any bespoke set-ups suitable for the majority of businesses, versus plating on a large industrial scale with vast chemical baths where more specific safety precautions will absolutely be required*.
Unfortunately, a fair amount of the general safety advice that can be found online relates to using plating chemicals on a much larger scale, mixed with the occasional dose of misinformation, and we understand this can be a little off-putting. It's a bit like reading safety advice designed for people looking to summit Mount Everest when you're wanting some advice about hiking!
We've always got your safety as our top priority so you can be assured that when used as directed, our kits and chemicals are safe for you to use.
*If you are interested in an industrial set-up or would like to purchase our solutions to use within an existing industrial set-up, we cater to this too. These set-ups come will all specific safety advice and recommendations. Please enquire for more information.
Isn't electroplating all about huge industrial machines and large vats of chemicals?
When some of us picture electroplating, we imagine big factories with massive chemical baths and huge industrial machines. If electroplating is being done on a very large scale then yes this can be true, and we can certainly cater to these types of requirements.
However, what many don't realize is that plating is accessible to everyone and certainly does not require a factory! Even for our business users, the majority of projects, both one-offs and ongoing, usually only require a relatively small-scale set-up that can be easily accommodated, in order to produce a large volume of plated output.
For home users, from small businesses operating from home to home hobbyists who want to tinker with a bit of plating, we'll have a suitable kit. All of our kits are suitable for home use and require very little workspace. Many of our kits are tabletop size and others are portable, meaning they are lightweight and can be used to plate onsite. An example would be plating a car badge whilst it is still attached to the car, or plating a set of bathroom taps without removing them from the bath first - no problem at all, and none of this will involve transporting bulky equipment and big tanks of chemicals to the site to get the job done.
With our kits, electroplating is extremely accessible to anyone, regardless of the workspace they have available.
Can electroplating be done at home?
As above, all of our kits and chemicals can be used in the home environment safely. Some kits require very little workspace and are lightweight.
Some of our larger kits such as those in the G.S.P Prodigy Range, will require a bit more space - we recommend a dedicated room/workspace such as a home garage.
Can I send items to you for plating instead - do you offer a gold plating service?
We have not offered a plating service for many years now. This is due to the success of our plating kits and chemicals - we are 100% focused on delivering high-quality products and plating training to our customers so that they can confidently do their own plating, or indeed, offer their own plating services, and this keeps us very busy.
Although we don't offer a plating service, we are always happy to offer advice about a proposed project, so please don't let this prevent you from getting in touch!
Can I homebrew my own electroplating chemicals?
Whilst researching electroplating, you may have come across articles or videos that encourage people to produce their own electroplating chemicals with things like vinegar and batteries, and various acids.
Whilst this can sound like it would be very cheap to do, and a lot of fun, starting a home garage chemistry lab is not something that we would ever recommend trying, as it will lead to very poor results and potentially dangerous outcomes.
The composition of electroplating chemicals bought through a reputable company varies vastly from anything that can be produced in a home garage. Our solutions are quality controlled and are specifically designed to bring consistent commercial-grade results that cannot be obtained otherwise. Alongside this, you'll receive clear instructions on how they should be used.
Most importantly, we prioritise safety above all else. Our solutions and equipment are safe for use both in a home and business environment.
Brewing your own chemicals really is a case of Don't Try This At Home!
Do I need a plating machine to use your plating solutions?
Occasionally we're asked whether a plating machine is needed in order to use our solutions. It is sometimes assumed that you simply pour the solution into a container and place the item you want to plate inside and it will plate. It's completely understandable if you've never plated before to wonder or assume these things.
Electroplating is the process of using electrodeposition to coat an object in a layer of a chosen metal, so it is always going to involve exposing the part you are plating (the cathode) and the anode/s to a continuous electrical charge.
So the answer is yes, a suitable plating machine will be required to use our solutions to plate your pieces. You will also need the correct anodes for the type of plating you are doing.
Different applications will require a different type of plating machine. If you are just plating small metal items like rings on a small scale, then we often supply a very lightweight machine that simply looks like a plug adapter with a dial on the back to set your voltages. This is all that is needed as this is a type of plating that does not require a lot of power.
On the other hand, if you are plating rings commercially and want to plate a very large amount of them in one go, you will need bigger tanks and a more powerful plating machine to provide enough power to use in the tank.
We typically determine how powerful the machine needs to be based on the total surface area that is being plated e.g. one ring plated in a small pot will have a much lower surface area than a tank load of rings.
It is also the case that a different type of plating machine will be required for plating over non-metal surfaces (electroforming) versus plating metal surfaces (electroplating).
We sell a range of plating machines suitable for all projects and where our kits are designed for different types of plating, they all include the correct machine as part of the package.
For bespoke set-ups, If you're not sure which type of plating machine you need, it's very easy for us to work out. All we need is some information about the sizes of pieces you'd like to plate and how many you'd like to plate in one go. Leave the rest to us! We'll also let you know which anodes and other accessories are required and pop it all into a quote for you.
Some of you may own a plating machine already, in which case, let us know a little info about it and we can let you know if it's suitable for the job.
Is it just gold plating kits that you offer, what about other finishes?
Gold plating is just one of many options that we have available and within this, we offer different types of gold plating solutions suitable for different aesthetic / functional purposes.
We also offer all other precious metal finishes, including rose gold, silver, platinum, rhodium and palladium. We also sell products for nickel plating, copper plating, zinc plating and more.
Every type of plating is catered for in our product ranges!
Can I set up a business using your electroplating kits?
We have many clients that use our kits to run successful plating services, and we have received great feedback on the quality of the equipment and plating solutions. We have worked alongside many of these clients via our 5 Point Support Package, offering technical advice whenever it has been needed.
Running a plating service is a fantastic way to generate income from home, as customers can send items to you for electroplating that they would like customised in numerous precious metal finishes.
Some of our clients use our kits to create unique plated gift items which they sell on marketplaces such as eBay, Etsy, Amazon and on their own websites.
Our products can also bring big benefits to existing businesses too. We supply a number of jewellers with their electroplating equipment, precious metal plating solutions and electroplating prep chemicals - plating in-house can really save you and your business money, we will happily train you/your staff to get you up and running!
Other businesses that we supply include some extremely talented electroforming artists, metalwork artists, and product designers using 3d print technology. We've even helped production companies use electroforming to metalize plastic props for tv/film/theatre, to bring authenticity which really shines through on screen.
There are of course numerous industrial applications for electroplating and electroforming too, such as in the dental/medical fields, electronics, mechanical/manufacturing, aerospace, and more.
Which electroplating kit do I need?
We have lots of options and the kit that is best for you will be largely determined by the things that you wish to plate, their size and their composition. We have written an article to help you decide: How to Choose a Plating Kit.
Please bear in mind that our off-the-shelf kits may contain some products that are not necessary for your specific needs - we are always happy to create bespoke versions of any of our kits, adding or taking away various products to suit. We can even create a completely new kit from scratch to match your objectives. Once we've worked it all out, we'll provide a written quote and consult with you to check we've covered everything.
We are happy to talk through the options with you via email or phone - all we need is some info about your requirements (if you're not sure, this is ok, we'll just ask you some questions to determine the best set-up for you) and we'll be good to go!
Which of your electroplating kits are best for business use?
When it comes to making money from plating, we recommend choosing a kit from our G.S.P Prodigy Range or G.S.P Recruit Range as these kits allow for plating multiple items in one go, plating larger items, and items of a greater variety of metals/materials.
Sometimes, it might be best that we create a bespoke kit for you to fulfill specific needs - this is no problem at all and may actually save you some money as it is not always the case that everything in our off-the-shelf kits is needed, it all depends on your requirements.
We do not advise using our budget kits such as those in the G.S.P Portal Range for business endeavors as these are geared more towards private use/home projects.
If you are looking to only plate rings as your business model, the kits in the G.S.P Troy Range will be suitable.
Please note: for jewellery larger than rings see the G.S.P Prodigy/G.S.P Recruit kits.
How much should I expect to spend on an electroplating kit for business use?
This is a difficult question to answer as it really depends on your requirements!
The cost of plating, especially gold plating, usually comes as a huge surprise to most people - it is almost always much cheaper to do than they expect.
As with many business endeavors, the initial set-up cost does not represent the ongoing costs associated with it. You will undoubtedly spend the most in one go when buying your equipment - your plating machine, anodes, and your initial set of prep and plating solutions. From then on, as you already own the equipment, you'll only need to renew certain solutions, and eventually your anodes from time to time. Of course, if you've used them up it means that you're busy and making money from the kit!
We are invested in guaranteeing your repeat custom and want your work to be successful, so we provide 1-1 half-day training with many of our kits. The usual cost of professional training across many fields is around £60+ per hour - we provide it to you free of charge. This training can also include advice about how to price the plating jobs you do for your customers and money-saving tips and tricks when it comes to getting the most out of your set-up. We're also on hand long after your initial training to answer your questions, give advice and offer you great prices when it comes to renewing your supplies.
We will always try to work within your budget when recommending a set-up, but it is worth remembering that investing in high-quality equipment that is reliable, easy to use, and gives great results, is a vital component in any business plan. Spending a little more to get this right often pays dividends in the long run.
As a jeweller, is electroplating in-house cheaper than outsourcing?
Definitely! We understand that the prospect of doing your own plating may seem a little daunting, especially if you are used to someone else taking care of this for you, but plating in-house has so many benefits - both financially and in terms of growing the skills of yourself and/or your staff. We have seen many jewellers make the switch as a money-saving exercise since the pandemic and they are very glad to have done so.
It is surprisingly easy to learn to plate and is a much quicker process than most realize. With a dedicated set-up, you could be producing hundreds of plated products each day. Timings for plating differ slightly depending on the base metal, but to give an example with brass, you could take a tank-load of rings/earrings from brass to 24k gold in under 40 minutes. Your cost per unit will be dramatically cheaper than if you had outsourced the job and the results will be just as good.
When it comes to learning to electroplate, we offer comprehensive training via video call or we can even visit your premises (UK only) if you prefer. We can help you get set up and plating confidently in a matter of hours - it really is that easy!
With regard to to safety in the workplace, we can supply you with all of the relevant Safety Data Sheets with details on how to work safely with chemicals. It really is easy to keep safe around the solutions used in electroplating, but if you have any concerns, we are happy to talk this through with you and offer any reassurances/practical advice you might need.
Another benefit for jewellers that choose us as their supplier is the range of bottle sizes that we offer with our plating solutions. If you'd like a large volume, you can take advantage of bulk discounts, if you'd like a small volume, we supply our solutions in bottle sizes as small as 50ml at great prices. This is quite rare, as plating solutions are often sold in 1L bottle sizes as the minimum - we want to save you the expense of having to buy larger amounts when you might not actually need to at a particular point in time. This is great news for your cash flow and also allows you to test new finishes you might like to offer without committing to larger volumes upfront.
Can I electoplate any surface using your plating kits?
Yes, pretty much.
We have kits suited to many different applications. Some of the kits are designed for electroplating ( plating onto metal surfaces) only. These substrates include brass, steel, nickel, iron, and zinc to name a few.
We also have kits for plating onto more unusual surfaces such as plastic, wood, ceramics, 3D prints, or organic material such as flowers or leaves, as well as all metals. These kits allow you to be incredibly creative and produce some really stand-out items and products.
For jewellers, artists, and designers working with organics such as flowers, leaves, and more, electroforming prevents these from decomposition and allows them to be preserved forever. So you are able to turn them into beatiful pieces of jewellery or durable artworks.
The process for plating on non-conductive surfaces such as plastic, is called electroforming and you can read about it here: Electroforming - A Brief Guide
Choose the best kit for you: How to Choose a Plating Kit
Can I electoform 3D Prints / 3D Printed Jewellery?
As above, any surface can be plated using our kits. Electroforming allows you to plate non-conductive surfaces in a large range of finishes, our kits can help you to bring a metallic authenticity and super-shiny, high-gloss finish.
3D prints are ideal candidates for electroforming. When using our process, your prints will retain all of the original details and allow you to create your vision in real metals. Because you are plating with genuine metals, your pieces take on the look, feel and weight of metal, bringing a quality far superior to any paints, replica finishes or coatings of any kind.
No part of our process involves casting, you can plate directly onto your 3D printed pieces.
We love getting creative and working alongside our customers to ensure their success, and are very excited about the possibilities that 3D printed jewellery can bring, both in terms of creativity and innovation.
What are the benefits of electroplating 3D printed plastic parts?
As technology has moved forward, low-cost and lightweight plastic parts are now taking the place of more costly metal parts in a long list of applications and industries, these include the car industry, plumbing industry, and many more.
Plastic is a great option for many reasons, but there are still many applications where metal definitely wins out as an overall material choice. This is the case for example, when strength is required as a characteristic of the 3D printed part - plastic may be more malleable than metal, but it certainly isn't as robust.
Additionally, no one can deny the visual differences between plastic and metal. A plastic finish will always look cheap when compared to a shiny and luxurious gold plated finish or to the rich tones of copper.
This is where electroforming is the perfect solution - parts can be produced much more cheaply in plastic and then metalized to take on the weight, feel, visual aesthetics, and surface characteristics of copper, nickel, or real precious metals. The perfect combination, the best of both worlds!
Electroplating 3D prints, whether the prints are used for prototyping or for the production of finished products, is usually many times cheaper than casting, machining, or using other manufacturing processes, and it certainly beats painting parts in replica metal finishes which provide none of the above benefits, and never actually look like real metals.
With our process, your 3D printed parts retain all of the original details and can be finished to a highly glossed shine. The electroforming chemicals we supply will cause no damage to plastic parts. We supply all precious metal finishes as well as those used to create a chrome-like finish and you'll receive full training on how to do it.
Aside from the benefits of using electroforming as an aesthetic treatment, plating plastic parts in metal also provides a wide range of performance-based benefits such as improving the tensile strength of parts, protecting against environmental damage from weather, chemical exposure, or other factors, and drastically improving the lifespan of products.
In certain industries, the conductivity afforded by electroplating is also a big reason for choosing this route.
What is the difference between electroplating and electroforming?
Electroforming is the process of turning a non-conductive surface into a metal surface which can then be electroplated in whatever finish you choose. Electroplating only happens on metal surfaces. For more details on how the two process differ, please see our article: Electroplating v Electroforming.
Is electroforming much more difficult than general electroplating?
The goal when developing our electroforming kits was to create an accessible and easy-to-follow process, that with minimal training, anyone could use to metalize any object made from any material, and plate it in a multitude of precious metal finishes.
No need to be an expert, no need for a chemistry degree - just the right equipment, solutions and advice and the sky’s the limit!
We wanted to eliminate the common problems with electroforming – lumpy plating, dull copper with salmon tones, the need for extensive polishing, the inability for each piece to look identical when plated. All the things that are commonly incorporated into the design of electroformed pieces, not through design choice, but purely because of the belief that there’s no ideal way around it – it’s as good as it’s going to get. Sound familiar?
The process of creating our electroforming kits took 5 years, we completed extensive trialing, ironed out all the kinks, and put it all together in the form of our G.S.P Prodigy Electroforming Kits.
We’ve taken all the hard work out of this process and offer complete kits at a competitive price-point, that will produce plated objects with chrome levels of shine. None of the above problems, commercial standard results.
We also offer free 1-1 videocall training to get you plating confidently.
If this sounds like what you’ve been looking for to take your designs to the next level,take a look at our G.S.P Prodigy Electroforming Kits.
Is gold plating real gold?
Yes! Our gold plating solutions - and all other electroplating solutions such as silver, rhodium, platinum, rose gold etc - deposit real precious metals when plated. We do not sell gold-colored paints, replica finishes, or other coatings, our solutions are the real deal. Check out the individual product pages for information on the precious metal content of our solutions.
Electroplating and electroforming are easy processes that bring a real authenticity that just cannot be compared to any other type of surface finishing. You can always tell the difference.
How long will gold plating last?
The longevity of plating depends on three things. Firstly, the thickness of deposit - items with a thicker plate will resist more wear than items plated with the same metal with a thinner finish.
Secondly, If items are subject to lots of abrasion and rubbing, e.g. items that are worn such as jewellery or items such as phones, the plating will show signs of wear and tear faster.
Thirdly, different metals have different rates of wear e.g. an item which is gold plated will not stand up to as much abrasion as the same item plated in nickel. This is because nickel ranks higher on the metal hardness scale than 24K gold.
Please note: our G.S.P 24K Gold Solution is cobalt hardened and is designed to be more hard-wearing.
Can gold plating rub off?
Gold plating can last forever on items that are not subject to wear and abrasion.
For items such as jewellery, there are lots of factors that dictate the lifespan of gold plating such as how much wear and tear the piece is subject to. The ph of the individual wearer's skin can also affect precious metal finishes such as rhodium and platinum, but should not affect gold.
Ideally, you should keep your plated jewellery away from perfumes, creams, soaps, hand sanitisers and washing-up liquid as all of these contain ingredients that can affect the longevity of plating. We also recommend keeping jewellery out of water, especially swimming pools and hot tubs as these contain chemicals which will cause tarnishing.
Eventually, gold plating may fade and jewellery may require re-plating.
Re-plating a piece is easy with our kits and will not take long to do, we have written an article explaining how to best take care of plated jewellery to get the maximum lifespan from plating: Taking Care of Plated Jewellery.
What is the difference between 24K gold and 18K gold?
24K gold is pure gold whereas 18K gold is 75% gold and 25% other metals. The two solutions are designed for different applications and there is a slight colour difference in the deposited gold. 18K gold is a little more subtle and is paler in colour, whereas 24k gold has a richer golden tone.
24K gold is used for most decorative gold plated finishes and is the most popular gold finish overall. 18K gold can be used to match existing gold colours in items that are being restored. The lighter tone of 18K Gold is also very popular for gold plating watches and is our bestselling gold plating solution to our customers that plate and restore watches / watch parts.
The primary function of our G.S.P 18K Gold Solution is to act as a 'gold strike' which allows for the easy tank plating of steels.
What is gold strike?
‘Strike’ is a term applied to plating solutions that prime the surface of certain tricky substrates such as stainless steel, so that tank plating can happen more easily.
We are commonly approached by jewellers that are having difficulties plating over stainless steel - the plated finish is peeling and/or flaking and they are dissatisfied and frustrated with both the process and the outcome.
Whilst these problems are sometimes caused by a combination of factors, including using incorrect anodes, it is almost always the case that they are also not applying a gold strike before depositing the final finish. Once these problems are corrected, the process becomes easy and the results reliable and of a high standard. Investing in a bottle of our G.S.P 18K Gold Solution when plating over stainless steel is a wise choice and will go a long way, as only a very thin layer is needed to prime your surface and achieve great results.
Please note: you will also require the use of our G.S.P Stainless Steel Activator when plating over all types of steel.
Why do you recommend using palladium when plating gold over silver?
Palladium is an essential metal for jewellers, and has more than a few important uses. Here's our top two:
1. Palladium is used as a barrier plate instead of nickel on jewellery, watches and other items worn close to the skin. This is because nickel has a tendency to cause allergies, whereas palladium does not.
2. Having a barrier plate in palladium will prevent the gold plate from migrating down into the substrate over time - this is especially important when plating gold over silver. This means that plating looks great for longer.
To read more: G.S.P Palladium Plating Solution
What is barrier plating?
Certain precious metals such as silver and gold have a tendency to migrate down into the substrate over time - the substrate being the starting metal that you've plated silver or gold onto e.g. brass.
Immediately after plating and for a short time afterward, your plated pieces will look great, but once the top coat of gold or silver starts to migrate, it will cause discoloration in the plated finish.
To avoid this, a barrier plate is used to prevent migration and keep the pieces looking great. With decorative gold plating, the barrier plate is usually nickel. Nickel is a cheap metal that does a great job as a barrier plate.
When plating jewellery, as nickel is a metal that can cause allergies, we recommend swapping this for palladium. Using nickel during the plating process for jewellery is highly discouraged, as prolonged wear can cause nickel contact dermatitis along with other potential health issues. There are strict regulations in law regarding the use of nickel in jewellery that are extremely complicated to adhere to. Therefore, we promote nickel-free jewellery and the use of palladium as a safe alternative.
Palladium is not known for causing allergies and does just as good a job as nickel. Whilst palladium plating solution is more expensive, only a thin layer needs to be plated and your purchase of this solution will last a long time and go a very long way. No complaints from customers about nasty rashes either!
Please note: In the case of both nickel and palladium, dependent on your base metal, you may also need to apply a thin layer of another metal in order for your base metal to accept the barrier plate. This is usually very straightforward and again only involves plating a thin layer.
To find out more on the steps to take when plating various metals, see our article: How to Plate Different Metals
To read more on our Palladium Plating Solution, see: G.S.P Palladium Plating Solution
How easy is gold plating over stainless steel?
Many of our customers use our equipment and chemicals to gold plate stainless steel jewellery - in fact, it is one of the more popular reasons for buying our products.
Before getting in touch with us, many of these customers were experiencing a multitude of problems plating over stainless steel - these problems include the gold plating flaking or peeling away, discolouration in the gold plated finish, and more. Often they're frustrated with the process and disheartened with the results.
Luckily, plating over stainless steel doesn't have to be difficult, we have a seamless process that involves the use of 3 main chemicals and this will ensure no flaking, no peeling, and a flawless finish. We'll also make sure that you're equipped with the right anodes and accessories to get the most out of your chemicals.
1. Use our G.S.P Electrocleaner - this is essential and removes any traces of grease before beginning plating.
2. Use our G.S.P Stainless Steel Activator - activating the stainless steel allows the plating to happen. Without this stage, gold plating will not properly adhere.
3. Apply a flash-plate of our G.S.P 18K Gold Plating Solution - a thin layer of 18k needs to be applied in order to prime the activated surface. This means that any subsequent plating will be smooth and flawless. After this stage, 24k gold can be applied as can other types of finishes. Of course, the 18k gold itself makes a lovely final gold plated finish too!
Following this process will ensure great results everytime.
We sell all of these solutions separately or as part of a kit.
What is the difference between rhodium plating and white gold plating?
Rhodium is a white metal which is used to finish off rings and other jewellery that is made from white gold. It has a brilliant white hue and catches and reflects light extremely well. Rings that are said to be white gold are almost always plated in rhodium, hence their brilliant-white appearance.
White gold has an off-cream, almost yellow colour and when white gold rings are said to be ‘yellowing’, this is in fact due to the natural colour of the white gold showing through the brilliant-white rhodium plate which has worn away.
Why do white gold rings turn yellow?
It would be great if white gold jewellery always looked as crisp as when it was first bought, but unfortunately, you may notice after a while that your jewellery has taken on a yellow tone.
Almost all white gold rings are plated in rhodium - this is what brings the brilliant-white finish that we all know. White gold itself actually has a creamier tone, almost yellow in colour. When a ring starts to take on the yellow appearance, this is due to the rhodium plating wearing away, revealing the true tone of white gold underneath.
To keep rings looking bright and fresh, it is recommended to have them replated every 6 months to a year, but this can become quite expensive. We have the perfect product for you to do this yourself, at home, for a fraction of the cost of a replating service!
Our G.S.P Home Jeweller Kits allow you to plate your rings easily in under 10 minutes. The kits come with the same solutions as used by the high street jeweller, and bring professional results. We offer a rhodium ring plating kit and a platinum ring plating kit - both achieve a crisp white finish, with plating in platinum being the most cost-effective choice.
Why not take a look at the links below and watch our product demo to see for yourself?
Will the electroplating solutions damage stones, crystals and other embellishments?
For the most part, pieces of metal jewellery regardless of whether they contain gemstones, crystals or other embellishments, can be electroplated safely. All non-metal elements such as diamonds, Swarovski crystals, cubic zirconia and other typical stones remain completely unaffected by the plating chemicals, which will cause no damage or changes at all. All that will happen is that stones and crystals will get wet.
There are a handful of types of stones that can be sensitive to certain plating chemicals but this can be overcome by coating the stone in liquid latex before plating. Please contact us to enquire about your specific stones if you are unsure.
You may also be worried that non-metal elements of your jewellery will also plate - don't worry, this won't happen!
Be careful not to confuse electroforming (plating non-metals) with electroplating (plating metals). Plating jewellery made from metals e.g. silver, gold, copper, brass and more, is done via the electroplating process. You do not need to use the specific chemicals required to plate non-metals (as you would with electroforming) so therefore, non-metal elements of your jewellery will remain un-plated and unaffected.
What about electroforming - will this damage stones and embellishments?
Electroforming allows for the plating of non-metals, so you may be worried that plating a piece where you would like the stones, crystals or other embellishments to remain un-plated will be risky.
Do not worry! Electroforming is perfectly controllable. It is easy to select sections of your design and use masking techniques to ensure that these areas do not plate. There are a few options for this, and we are always happy to advise you on the best technique for your project. Painting a layer of liquid latex over a section that you do not want to plate is a common method of masking - the latex protects the area from the electroforming chemicals and can be easily peeled away at the end of the process to reveal a completely unaffected stone, crystal or other feature.
Some of our customers like to partially plate embellishments e.g. plating half of a crystal for a 'dipped' effect. To do this, simply mask the section you do not want to plate and leave the remainder exposed to the plating chemicals - all very easy to do.
If this sounds like something that you would like to try, we can include specific advice in your training to teach you the technique.
Please note: as mentioned in the previous question, this advice applies only to the process of electroforming (plating non-metals). If you are plating jewellery made from metals e.g. silver rings with stones, white gold rings with diamonds, gold rings with stones, or any other combination of metal-based jewellery, you will be using a general electroplating process and therefore, do not need to worry about the chemicals having any effect on stones and do not need to use masking techniques.
The chemicals and processes used in general electroplating, whether this is by tank plating, brush plating, or pen plating, have no effect whatsoever on non-metal elements of your jewellery.
How important are the anodes when electroplating?
Electroplating consists of submerging an object you’d like to plate in a tank containing a chemical solution and an anode or set of anodes. The object to be plated acts as a cathode.
Different anodes need to be used during different plating stages. For example, copper plating solution uses copper anodes, nickel plating solution uses nickel anodes, and many solutions such as gold plating solution, require the use of stainless steel anodes. Sometimes, anode bags are also required, and these sit in your tank with the anodes placed inside.
Not only do you need to ensure that you are using the correct anodes for the process, but the composition of the anodes needs to be suitable and of high quality.
With stainless steel anodes in particular, the only type that we supply are made specifically from 316 stainless steel. Anodes made from other grades of steel are readily available (often very cheaply), but these are not as efficient and have a terrible habit of contaminating solutions, causing all kinds of problems. This is the last thing you need after investing in a tank load of 24k gold solution.
Something else to be aware of is the unfortunate prevalence of fake anodes on the market. An example of these which commonly crop up are platinized titanium anodes - this is a mesh type anode. These fakes are widely available online and are notoriously inexpensive. You should be paying a minimum of £50.00-£60.00 (these are the lower end of the scale prices) for one small platinized titanium anode. If you pay any less than this, it's not going to be the real thing. These fake anodes will cause a world of trouble, perhaps not straight away, but they absolutely will contaminate and spoil your plating solution.
Actual platinized titanium anodes (providing of course, they are suitable for use with the plating solution in question), will work just fine. However, we have chosen not to sell or specifically recommend them as results can be just as good with our 316 Stainless Steel Anodes, and these won't cost you as much money.
If you are unsure which anodes to use, we will be happy to advise you. We supply all our anodes individually or as part of a set that includes a tank, set of anodes, anode bags (if applicable), and connecting leads with crocodile clips. If you buy a complete plating kit from us, all anodes and accompanying accessories are included.
We'll let you know exactly how to use your anodes and when to replace them.
If you have a question, please get in touch.
Why is rhodium plating solution so expensive?
Rhodium is much more valuable than gold and is in fact, one of the most valuable precious metals of all. The world-market value of rhodium has seen fluctuations over the past few years which has meant price hikes across the board, regardless of the supplier.
We aim to offer the most competitive prices that we can for our customers and offer our plating solutions in volumes as small as 50ml, to give independent jewellers and smaller businesses the option to buy a small quantity at a time. This prevents the need to buy in bulk volumes - rhodium is often sold by the litre - which we understand isn't always a viable option, particularly with the more expensive precious metals.
We also recommend the use of our Platinum Plating Solution as a cost-effective alternative to rhodium. It is typical for most platinum solutions to plate to a grey tone, but our platinum solution has been formulated to bring the same bright-white luminosity of rhodium, producing an almost identical plated finish but at a fraction of the price. Many of our jeweller clients have made the switch to our platinum while rhodium prices remain high, and are very happy to have made this move.
What's the difference between your rhodium and platinum G.S.P Home Jeweller Kits for plating white gold rings?
Our G.S.P Home Jeweller Kits are designed for non-platers to replate white gold rings at home in under 10 minutes. They employ the same solutions as used by a high street jeweller replating service and give the same results, only at a much lower cost!
The kits come in two variations - with rhodium or platinum plating solution. What's the difference?
Rhodium plating is traditionally used to bring the bright-white finish to white gold rings, so this is of course offered as an option with our ring plating kits.
Our platinum, on the other hand, is becoming increasingly popular as an alternative to rhodium. Our platinum plating solution is designed to bring a near-identical aesthetic finish at a much lower price. This makes our platinum kit the cheaper of the two.
You can see a comparison of the two finishes on the product page for the G.S.P Home Jeweller Kit with Platinum - we're hard-pressed to see much of a difference.
You may have seen our product info video showing our rhodium kit in action - when it comes to using the platinum kit, the process is just the same!
So...whether you'd like to stick with tradition and plate your white gold rings in rhodium, or whether you want to buck the platinum trend and save a fair bit of money in the process, both of our kits will offer professional results that we're sure you'll love.
Take a look at the kits here:
Can brush plating do everything that tank plating can?
No, there are certain surfaces that can only be tank plated such as non-conductive surfaces, aluminium, non stainless steels, and most zinc-based metals. However, it is certainly true that brush plating can give you just as good a finish as tank plating if all the prep work is done, and the metals that you are working with are suitable.
What is the shelf-life of the electroplating chemicals available on this site?
The only products that have a particularly limited shelf life are the G.S.P Gold Polish and the G.S.P Compound Polish, but even these are quite long lasting. Over the course of around 2 years, however, they will start to separate and will need replacing.
All other plating solutions and prep chemicals have a shelf-life of many years if stored correctly as per our instructions.
Can I buy chrome plating solutions for chrome plating from you?
Unfortunately, some of the chemicals involved in chrome plating have been identified by REACH as being potentially unsafe for unregulated users. This means that use is restricted, and for this reason, we are not permitted to sell and recommend use of these chemicals to our customers.
What about Substitute Chrome?
We strive to offer the best possible products to our customers and have decided against offering Substitute Chrome at the moment.
Our reasons for this include concerns over the durability of the finish and the fact that the solution breaks down quickly. This means that usage is time-limited - once a tank is filled with substitute chrome, it needs to be continually plated from otherwise the solution is wasted. For customers wishing to plate different items in the substitute chrome over a period of time, we do not feel that this represents good enough value for money.
An alternative to chrome plating to give a somewhat similar aesthetic is rhodium or platinum plating. Plating things such as car badges in rhodium or platinum produces a great finish and the solutions can be used over and over again giving more flexibility.
Whilst these solutions won't provide an exact replica, nor will they bring the blueish tinge that chrome will, you will get a crisp, white-tinged finish that looks great. Many of our customers that have initially enquired about chrome plating have been very happy with the results produced by using one of these metals in place of chrome.
Want to see? Take a look at the photos in our article Electroforming - A Brief Guide which show a plastic retro toy plated in rhodium for a chrome-like finish.
Our G.S.P Platinum Plating Solution provides the most cost-effective alternative.
Can I reuse my plating chemicals?
Yes, all of our chemicals are designed for use over and over. This is true both for prep chemicals and plating chemicals. If brush plating, we recommend working over a pot or catch-tray to retain as much run-off as possible so that it can be reused.
How do I maintain my plating chemicals?
You will be given advice in your PDF instruction manual about the maintenance of plating chemicals to ensure that you get the most out of your purchase. This includes advice about things such as when to top up the brighteners in your copper plating solution, how to avoid contaminating your chemicals, and how to increase the lifespan of chemicals by using good plating practices.
A huge benefit of buying our plating solutions is that they come pre-mixed. We don't provide a set of powders and salts that you have to mix yourself, everything is super convenient, ready to use, and requires very little maintenance.
How should I store my plating chemicals?
Prep and plating chemicals should be stored in a clean, dry, space that is out of the reach of children and pets. Do not expose your chemicals to strong sunlight or allow them to freeze.
Your plating machines are fitted with a UK plug - what happens if I am overseas?
This is easily rectified! Our plating machines are fitted with a UK plug - to use in the US or other countries, all that is needed is a plug converter - this will convert a UK 3-pin plug into a standard 2-pin mains plug. These are available cheaply in hardware stores / online. The converter does NOT need to be a step up / step down adapter, just a regular converter that can be purchased, to take the US as an example, for around $8. These converters are perfectly safe to use with all plating machines available on the website. Please contact us if you are unsure which converter to purchase and we can advise further.
If we supply you with a custom commercial-sized plating setup utilizing 3 phase power input (for extra powerful plating machines), then we will always inform you of your power supply requirements during our initial correspondence with you and will advise the best option.
Are prices quoted including or excluding VAT for UK customers?
The prices quoted on the product pages exclude VAT as we have a large business-to-business customer base. VAT is added once on the checkout page where you can review your order before proceeding to make payment. We aim to keep our prices as competitive as possible so that your order represents great value for money.
Are international customers charged tax at the point of sale?
We do not charge any taxes/VAT to international customers at the point of sale and no tax is payable to us.
Tax is dealt with via the courier and may be due on/before delivery and this will be set at your local rate, please see your government website for information on any applicable customs thresholds and duty rates.
Once I have purchased, what is the aftersales service?
We offer a comprehensive 5 Point Support Package to all customers spending £269.00 or above. This includes unlimited phone* and email support/technical advice.
We also provide worldwide 1-1 video call training to get you set up and plating confidently - this service is available free of charge with our premium plating kits and bespoke packages over a certain value - please enquire for details. We are always happy to answer your questions and help you to achieve successful outcomes.
*Phone support is limited to UK customers only, if customers are based overseas, we provide the same support via Whatsapp.