Gold plating at home can be fun and lucrative as a small business. Depending on the type of objects being gold plated, a variety of equipment and supplies are readily available online. Since the process of gold plating uses actual gold, which is a precious metal, the cost of gold-plating kits, solutions and supplies is pricey.
What Is Gold Plating?
Gold plating is a process of layering the precious metal gold over the top of some other substance. Usually gold is layered over the top of another metal; however, gold can also be layered onto ceramics and enamels. Gold plating generally is not the same as using gold paint to paint over the top of an item. The gold-plating process involves using liquid gold particles that are charged by electricity to adhere, and it permanently affixes and attaches them to the object being plated. There are many technical types of gold plating, each defined differently, and used for more industrial and commercial purposes. The type of gold plating used at home for decorative purposes is called “metalizing,” or “electroplating.” Gold jewelry that has been gold plated is generally stamped “H.G.E.”
Specific layers of gold plate are defined in micromeasurements, since gold is extremely expensive. Precise amounts of electricity must be used with precision accuracy to assure that the gold is properly affixed to the object being plated. Certain toxic chemicals, such as cyanide, are involved in various types of gold plating. It is advisable to use masks and gloves in any type of home gold-plating operation.
Gold-Plating Kits and Pens
Gold plating for jewelry making, decorative purposes and circuit board repairs can be done easily by purchasing and properly using gold-plating kits or pens. Gold-plating kits generally include the electroplating machine as well as several different types of connectors for different plating pen attachments. Special plastic baths and gold solutions are needed. Gold-plating kits are more appropriate for repetitive gold-plating tasks.
Use of gold-plating pens is nice if you have only a few items that you want to gold plate. They are less expensive and not as complicated to use as gold-plating kits. Using gold-plating pens still requires special instructions, however. Gold-plating pens can be used to plate items in different colors of gold, such as rose gold and green gold. Different colors of gold are produced by combining special acids with gold to produce different colors of gold. Different-colored gold is not necessarily any different weight (karats) of gold. The website shorinternational.com (see References) explains the differences between gold karats per each type of gold-plating kit and pen.
Do-it-yourself gold-plating businesses have sprouted up for hire, and some people make an extra full- or part-time living performing gold-plating services. Plating gold car parts, dishes, jewelry and other objects not only beautifies them, but is a creative hobby. With the proper equipment and safety precautions, gold plating can be a fun pastime.