Q. I have a business making belt buckles and currently have an oversupply of silver-colored buckles. Is it possible to refinish them in a gold or brass color? If so, what type of company should I contact to do the job for me? H.K.
A. Most likely the silver-colored buckles that you have are made from an alloy that is commonly known as German or nickel silver. This alloy typically is 60 per-cent copper, 20 percent nickel and 20 percent zinc, and is used for making jewelry and other items such as plumbing fixtures and marine fittings. Native American artisans use the material for various types of jewelry, such as bracelets and belt buckles. If this is the case, the buckles can be refinished by using brass or gold plating. Contact a plating company in your area and de-termine if they can do this for you. If you have only a few of the buckles to refin-ish the cost may be rather high, but if you have a large number the cost per piece may be acceptable.
Finding a suitable plating company can be as simple as using the old-fashioned Yellow Pages or doing a Google search. Because of the shrinkage of the number of plating shops in the U.S., you may have to look for a shop that is not in your immediate geographic area.