Gold plating involves the electrical bonding of gold on specific metal bases, but is the electroplated layer of gold readily removed by solvents or chemicals? Is the plated gold layer able to withstand exposure to vinegar? And should you need to remove the plated gold layer, will vinegar work?
Keep reading to find out more about the removal of the gold plated layer.
Does vinegar dissolve gold? Why?
One of the easiest and the most inexpensive ways of extracting and recycling gold from jewelry involves the use of inexpensive and the most eco-friendly materials around. And according to the research team and report by the University of Saskatchewan, the use of the reusable table vinegar is effective in dissolving the gold, and it could result in the production of as much as 1kg of gold from 100liters from the reusable wastewater; an affordable method compared to most of the current methods used in the extraction of gold.
While this seems to be an effective gold extraction method, it’s important to keep in mind that gold is among the most unreactive chemicals on earth, which often makes it rather hard to dissolve. As a result, industry standards recommend the use of highly and non-recyclable, toxic cyanide solutions or heat, burning off the gold and releasing the dangerous gases from the plated gold piece into the air.
Today, one of the most effective methods for recycling gold in large volumes involves the use of 5% acetic acid or ordinary table vinegar, as well as an antioxidant, finishing off the solution. This is not only the most effective and safest solutions but also an environmentally friendly option that is reliable.
So, if you are wondering if vinegar can dissolve gold, you will be happy to know that it does, and it’s better than most chemical processes because it is a more eco-friendly solution.
Can gold plating be removed?
Yes, with the right method and with the right tools and ingredients.
How to remove a thin gold plated layer
If you are looking for a simple solution to help you remove the thin layer of gold easily and at home, then this might be the best option for you.
You will need a felt cloth, a mildly abrasive pad like Scotch Brite, the Tripoli Compound, Jeweler’s Rouge, Soft Cloths, and Silver Polish.
To remove the gold plating, the first thing you need to do is to use a mildly abrasive pad to remove most of the gold. You’ll need to hold the plated piece carefully, applying pressure while moving the scouring ad back and forth across the plating. This will take a bit of time, so be patient,
Once you’ve removed the layer of gold, you will have a clean, scratched surface. Next, use a small cloth (made of felt) with the Tripoli compound buffering and smoothening out the surface. Use the jeweler’s rouge next, then rub it on its surface using a microfiber or any other soft cloth.
When done, wipe off the polish using the soft cloth, and then finish the removal process using a nice silver polish.
Removing the thick layer of gold
Though the removal of the thick gold layer is possible, it might be a bit hard for it to be done at home, and it might be a good idea to have the layer of gold removed professionally. The professionals will use strong acids and lengthy procedures to remove the gold without causing any damage to the base metal/ silver underneath.
That said, it might be a good idea to remove the gold-plated layer only if it isn’t in its original state. This is important because there are cases where the gold plating is used for the protection of the other metals rather than for beauty purposes.
You could also opt for professional metal polishes for the thinner gold-plated layers – just rub over the gold layer using a soft piece of cloth.
And depending on the jeweler, you settle on, it might be a good idea to buff off that gold layer.
Will vinegar remove gold plating?
Yes, if the gold plating is thin, then the gold-plated layer can be removed using vinegar. Vinegar is an acidic solution, which means it will slowly dissolve the layer of plated gold.
Ordinarily, Aqua Regia, a mix of hydrochloric and nitric acids, dissolve gold, but vinegar could also get the job done, as long as you are patient.
There are numerous ways of removing the gold plating from jewelry, but most of the time, it depends on the thickness of the gold layer and the type of bonding of the gold to the base metal.
If the layer of gold is thin, you will be happy to know that you can easily remove it using plain old vinegar (Acetic acid).
It’s also important to note that vinegar offers the easiest ways of testing gold – real gold will shine after it’s placed in vinegar, and it will change color if it’s fake.
Stay safe, see you guys in the next post!