How to Remove Gold Plating from Silver Jewelry

goldring

Claire asked: How do I remove gold finish from silver? Many years ago, I had a silver necklace, bracelet and earrings dipped in gold. Now, I would like to remove the gold to wear my jewelry as silver. How do I remove the gold? Thank you.

Gold is a stable metal that resists most chemicals. It can be difficult to dissolve. The level of success will depend largely on the thickness of the gold plating. If it is a thin layer, it may be able to be removed by following the directions below.

Removing a Thin Layer of Gold

This method is for those who desire to remove the gold plating themselves. The results are varied and can be less than desirable. It is difficult to obtain jeweler quality results with home methods. However, if you wish to try, here are the products and methods to use.

You Will Need:

  • Mildly abrasive pad (Scotch-Brite)
  • Felt cloth
  • Tripoli Compound
  • Jeweler’s rouge
  • Silver polish
  • Soft cloths

Steps to Remove the Gold Plating:

  1. Begin by using a mildly abrasive pad to remove as much of the gold as possible. Hold the piece carefully and apply some pressure as you move the pad back and forth across the gold plating. It may take some time, but this will remove the thin layer of gold.
  2. Once the gold is removed, you will be left with a scratched surface. To remove the scratches, use a felt cloth with Tripoli compound to buff the surface smooth.
  3. If the original piece was shiny, follow the Tripoli compound with jeweler’s rouge, again rubbing it onto the surface with a soft cloth.
  4. Wipe away any remaining polish with a soft cloth.
  5. If desired or needed, finish the removal process by applying a good quality silver polish.

Removing a Heavy Layer of Gold

While it is possible to remove a thick layer of gold plating, it needs to be done by a professional. Professional jewelers and jewelry repair shops have access to the strong acids and procedures necessary to remove the gold without damaging the silver underneath. We recommend contacting your local jeweler to have the gold plating removed for you.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • Think twice before removing the gold plating if that was the original state of the piece. Often times, the gold plating is put on the piece not only for beauty, but for protection to the other metals in the necklace.
  • Some have found metal polishes, such as Brasso or Wright’s Silver Cream, effective in removing thin gold plating. Simply rub it over the gold with a soft cloth.
  • Depending on the jewelry, a professional jeweler may be able to simply buff off the gold plating for a small fee.

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