Our 24C Snufboxes are elaborately gold-plated by hand. We use brass as the base material. Gold plating is a very hygienic coating, because it is antibacterial. For a single coating we need a whole day, because this is done in several elaborate steps. So each gold version of our snuffbox is unique and are made individually for our customers. At the moment we have a delivery time of 30 days, because we can not keep up with the many orders at the moment.
Step 1: Surface Preparation
The surface of the metal to be plated must be very clean, so oils or dirt must be removed, and the piece must be polished. This is necessary for two reasons:
- To improve adherence. (Dust and dirt interfere with the plated metals adhering to the jewelry piece.)
- To keep the plating tanks free of contaminants.
Step 2: Cleaning
After the surface is prepared, and a visual inspection is done, electrocleaning, ultrasonic cleaning, or steaming, usually takes place. This second, deeper, cleaning step must follow to ensure metal is free of oils and dirt, which helps produce superior plating results. Steam cleaning blasts off any remaining oils that managed to hang on during the polishing phase. Take special note of intricate jewelry that has many nooks and crannies.
Step 3: Rinse
The piece is rinsed thoroughly with water to remove any cleaning agents.
Step 4: Coating
With time, temperature and voltage carefully controlled, the piece is submerged into the plating solution to attract ions of gold or the final metal that will show on the surface. Different metals require different voltages and temperatures.
The items to be plated are hung from a cathode bar, which is a pole with a negative electrical charge going through it. The pieces of jewelry connected to the cathode bar are also negatively charged. When the jewelry items are submerged in the tank an electrical charge is applied and the negatively charged jewelry attracts the positively charged ions present in the solution. The positively charged metal ions are submersed in the solution bath. When the cathode bar is lowered into the bath the metal jewelry gets plated.
The plating thickness can be controlled by adjusting the immersion time in the plating tank.
Step 5: Final Rinse
Rinse off the pieces with water and then hang them to dry.
Step 6: Drying
The pieces are hung, preferably not touching each other, in order to dry.