All that Glitters Is Not Gold

Is there a non-gold-containing alloy that can be plated as a substitute for gold?

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Q. Can you recommend a non-gold-containing alloy that can be plated as a gold substitute? Obviously it should have the appearance of gold and be suitable as an undercoat for a gold layer. The application is for decorative plating. –M.D.

A. As it turns out, there is a bronze plating bath that will give you a gold-like color and is suitable as an undercoat for gold. The formulation is as follows:



Sodium cyanide

8-9 oz./gallon

Copper cyanide

4 oz./gallon

Sodium stannate

1.5 oz./gallon

Sodium hydroxide

1.5 oz./gallon

Rochelle salts

6.0-6.5 oz./gallon


The bath should contain between 9 and 12 percent tin with an operation temperature of 150 to 160°F. Using copper anodes and varying the amount of copper and tin in the plating bath will control the color.


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