Gold Plating

Gold PlatingThe decorative use of fine gold for protecting and enhancing metal objects has enjoyed an ancient and rich tradition. Long before the invention of modern electroplating processes, craft persons would use an amalgam of mercury and powdered gold to “gild” their metal work. Numerous examples of gold gilding dating from 1500 b.c. and beyond still exists today looking as bright and vibrant as ever, seemingly untouched by the ravages of time.

Today, we utilize the electrolytic application of a gold layer to a finished object to replace traditional gilding techniques. A wide selection of gold finishes varying in colour, hardness, and plating thickness can be offered to our most quality conscious and value driven consumer.

At Metal Arts Specialties, we provide custom gold electroplating services for the individual consumer, crafts person, small manufacturers, scientific labs and restorers. Depending on your personal requirements, we can provide the most appropriate gold colour, in bright, satin or matte finishes, electroplated with the correct thickness of fine gold material.

We can electroplate onto a wide variety of nonferrous surfaces such as silver, copper, brass, bronze, aluminum, nickel, and titanium. Metals such as iron, mild steel, and most grades of stainless steel can be plated by our expert team. We do not plate onto non conductive items such as glass, plastics, wood, feathers etc.

Types of Decorative Gold-Plating Available

24kt Yellow Gold: Ranging from “yellow” to “orange yellow” in colour, 24kt electroplating is very popular for it’s decorative bright finish and excellent durability. Suitable for most metal substrates, our customers utilize 24kt plating as the final finish for car emblems, gun and knife detailing, watches, writing instruments, holloware items, fine jewelry, and numerous other applications.

18kt Yellow Gold: This gold plated finish has less “yellow brass” colour than most 24kt plating. It is characterized by its more subtle yellow warmth while maintaining the depth and richness of the 24kt colours. Our customers utilize this plating finish for large scale objects to present a more understated look of fine gold.

14kt Yellow Gold: Noted for its wide range of colours tints, hues, and wear resistance, 14kt is widely regarded as the “workhorse” plating finish for the jewelry industry. Used over sterling silver as a “vermeil” finish,14kt gold plating can provide your item with years of beauty and durability.

14kt Hamilton Gold: This 14kt plating is offered in a rich medium yellow colour that is similar in appearance to the classic “hamilton” gold watch colour favored by many watch manufacturers in the 1960’s and 70’s. This type of plating is our hardest and most durable of all the plating finishes we offer. It is very popular with our customers who are plating watches, belt buckles, and other items where extreme durability is of the highest priority.

18kt Rose Gold: Like its name suggests, this type of plating has a “rose” tint colour to its finish. Used as a final finish or as a contrast colour with yellow gold plating, 18kt rose gold plating provides a beautiful and exotic look to any item.

18kt Green Gold: A wonderful finish that can be modified from light to dark green in colour, this plating has the same durability of the yellow gold plating finishes. Selectively combined with rose and yellow gold plating, a “black hills gold” look can be restored or achieved on you fine jewelry item.

If you have an item that you would like to have plated with gold, please navigate to the pricing page. We have provided a price estimate on our most frequently plated items. Of course the pricing estimates serve only as a guide. We will be happy to provide you with firm pricing after we have examined the actual piece.

Selection of Gold-Plating Thicknesses

Here at Metal Arts Specialties we have the skill and capability to plate gold ranging from a thickness of 7 millionths of an inch (.175 microns) up to 300 millionths of an inch (7.5 microns). Generally the thicker the gold plating the better the durability of the plated item. We offer goldplating services for decorative and engineering applications (MIL-G-45204C). We will be happy to assist you in selecting the most appropriate gold thickness for your valued item and application.

For decorative applications, all electroplating standards are regulated by the Federal Trade Commission. Below we have provided a brief descriptive overview taken from their publication, Code of Federal Regulations, Title 16, Commercial Practices Part 23 January 1, 1999. All comments in italics are provided by us for greater clarity relative to real world plating applications.

Gold Flash: an electrolytic plating of not less than 10 karat minimum fineness and a thickness of less than 7 millionths of an inch or .175 microns may be only marked or described as gold flash or gold washed.

Gold Electroplate: electrolytic plating of fine gold with a minimum thickness of 7 millionths of an inch or .175 microns, may be marked or described as gold electroplate, gold electroplated or G.E.P.

This type of plating (14kt,18kt,24kt) is generally more yellow in colour than items that are gold flashed. With proper underplating this class of gold plating can be utilized as an economical decorative finish for surfaces which are not subject to harsh chemicals or exposure to abrasive conditions.

Gold Plate: a fine gold, deposited by any means with a minimum thickness of 20 millionths of an inch (.5 microns) may be marked or described as gold plate, gold plated, or G.P.

This type of plating can be utilized on items where moderate exposure to wear is expected. We encourage our clients to consider a minimum of 40 millionths of an inch (1.0 microns) of gold as an essential thickness for any plated item subject to constant handling.

Heavy Gold Electroplate: electrolytic plating of fine gold plating with a minimum thickness of 100 millionths of an inch (2.5 microns), may be marked or described as heavy gold electroplate or heavy gold electroplated.

Based on customer feedback, we recommend this type of plating for those items which are exposed to chemicals and abrasives. For items such as watches, cuff links, or belt buckles, we suggest a minimum thickness of 2-7 microns. In most cases this will exceed the original manufacturers specifications for expected lifetime durability for even the most heavily utilized items.

Vermeil: (pronounced vermay) sterling silver electrolytically plated with fine gold with a minimum thickness of 100 millionths of an inch or 2.5 microns. The existence of a base metal anti-tarnish barrier must be disclosed.

Non-silver items may not be marked “vermeil”.

For more information regarding the important differences between gold filled, gold rolled, rolled gold plate, and gold electroplating, visit the faqs- the gold plating primer section on this site.

Gold Data Sheet

From the Old English word "geolo" meaning yellow, gold is probably one of the oldest metals first utilized by ancient metal workers . It's chemical symbol Au comes from the latin word "aurum" which loosely translated means "golden dawn". Gold adornment dating back to 3000 b.c. still survive today as testament to the nobility and beauty of fine gold.
* Gold plating finishes can be made very hard by adding an alloy to the formula, however, in some cases this could limit the maximum layer thickness that could plated due to embrittlement of the plated layer.
Melting Temperature1947.9°F
Finish AppearancePale yellow to orange yellow, there are over 30 colors and tints commercially available.
Typical Plating Thickness0.5 microns - 3.0 microns, up to 7.0 microns for some applications
Plating Hardness
24kt Color
Soft to hard *- can be adjusted to variety of specifications
plating hardness
18kt color
Soft to medium * - moderate scratch resistance
Plating Hardness
14kt color
Medium to hard * - good resistance to scratches and incidental abrasion
Corrosion ResistanceExcellent - The higher the karat gold and layer thickness the greater the long term resistance to oxidation and discoloring
Cost Per Troy oz.Ranges from $1,200-$1,350

MIL-G-45204C gold-plating standards

For engineering applications, we offer specialty platings that comply with MIL-G45204C standards.

Plating Finishes: Gold
MIL-G-45204C
Type 1Type 2
99.7% gold minimum99.0 gold minimum
Plating Thickness: Gold
MIL-G-45204C
ClassMicronsMicro-Inches
Class 0.76230
Class 11.2550
Class 22.54100
Class 35.06200
Plating Hardness: Gold
MIL-G-45204C
GradeKnoop HardnessType
Grade A90Type 1
Garde B91–129Type 1 and Type 2
Garde C130–200Type 1 and Type 2

All gold plating services that utilize MIL-G-45204C for engineering applications are by quote only.

If you have a decorative item that you would like to have plated with gold, please navigate to the pricing page. We have provided a price estimate on our most frequently plated items. Of course the pricing estimates serve only as a guide. We will be happy to provide you with firm pricing after we have examined the actual piece.

For additional Information…

For additional information regarding electroplating and metal refinishing, be sure to visit our faqs section located on this site. If we can assist you in your custom plating and metal refinishing needs, please contact us.

Metal Arts Specialties


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