How to Melt Silver Plate

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Silver is a chemical element that is distinguished by its whitish luster. It is a soft and highly ductile and malleable element. Silver has been classed as a precious metal and is commonly plated on items like jewelry and tableware. Knowing how to melt down the silver from such items is an important way of replacing old weathered silver, and also a method of recovering the precious metal from items you intend to throw away.

Things You'll Need

  • Safety goggles
  • Gloves
  • Sulfuric acid
  • Nitric acid
  • Porcelain container
  • Water bath
  • Burner
  • Copper wire
  • Silver-plated object
  • Sawdust
  • Put on your safety goggles and gloves. Mix a solution of 75 percent sulfuric acid and 25 percent nitric acid in a porcelain container. The overall quantity of the solution depends on the size of the silver-plated object.

  • Place the porcelain container in a pot filled with water, called a water bath. Heat the water in the water bath over a burner until the acid reaches 176 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • Tie a copper wire around the object from which you want to remove the silver plating. Dip the object into the acid solution.

  • Remove the object after five to 10 seconds. The silver plating will melt and deposit at the bottom of the acid solution. Rinse the object thoroughly with water.

  • Dry the object by rolling it in sawdust.

Tips & Warnings

  • Handle acids with utmost care as they are harmful if inhaled or if they come in contact with your skin.

References

  • Photo Credit Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images
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