Help me fix my question mark earrings!
April 22, 2011 1:48 PM   Subscribe

How can I fix my awesome earrings after the metallic plating has chipped off?

I got these earrings in a bag of jewelry at a resale shop, and I love them. Unfortunately, jostling around against other jewelry has chipped the gold-colored finish pretty badly. I remember when I was a kid there were ads in the back of magazines for this stuff you could dip jewelry in to gold-plate it, but that never seemed quite right to me (they showed a dull gray link interlocked with a gold link coming out of the liquid...cheaters). I like the gold finish they have now, but I'm open to other suggestions, as long as I don't end up with the ugly gray metal showing.

More images of the chipping: One, two, three, four, five.
posted by Captain Cardanthian! to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You should be able to find someone locally who will professionally replate them for you. I would check at a local jewelry shop.
posted by procrastination at 1:57 PM on April 22, 2011

Do you have any idea what that might cost?
posted by Captain Cardanthian! at 2:00 PM on April 22, 2011

I don't know, what with the high price of gold right now. I would be surprised if it were over $100 based on what I have had plated in the past.
posted by procrastination at 2:08 PM on April 22, 2011

The original plating almost certainly wasn't real gold. The whole bag of jewelry was only $5, and most of it was fairly low-quality. As much as I love these earrings, I'd like a fairly inexpensive fix; let's say $35 or less.
posted by Captain Cardanthian! at 2:11 PM on April 22, 2011

Other place to check for plating capabilities: Trophy shop. No, I don't know what it'd cost, but my guess is not terribly expensive.
posted by straw at 2:15 PM on April 22, 2011

I'm no jeweler, but would scraping everything off (to get a clean starting surface) and then hitting them with gold spray paint work? I've never used metallic sheen spray paints before, but that seems to be the cheapest solution.

Other kits exists, but the reviews indicate that it doesn't work very well with every metal. So it's sort of a crap-shoot at 29.99, plus shipping.
posted by codacorolla at 2:17 PM on April 22, 2011

Could you sand off the remaining gold with very fine gauge sandpaper? (If it were me, I'd try an emery board first.) And then maybe repaint them with enamel paint, or something similar?
posted by malibustacey9999 at 2:18 PM on April 22, 2011

Check the yellow pages (oh god I'm old) or the online alternatives for 'metal plating', and call around. Lots of shops can do this, give you alternatives for other materials than gold.
posted by pupdog at 2:18 PM on April 22, 2011

Or what codacorolla said.
posted by malibustacey9999 at 2:19 PM on April 22, 2011

When you have something gold plated the cost isn't really the gold (they may put a couple bucks worth down on the piece) it's mostly the labor of making the surface absolutely clean.

The search string "gold plating pen" turns up some hits, but I can't vouch for the quality, other than to say that you can pretty much bet that you will have to take things to a near mirror finish and wash with acetone or the like (to remove finger prints) before you try to plate. A Dremel tool with some fine polishing compound would probably come in handy.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 2:21 PM on April 22, 2011

What about gold flakes from the craft store?
posted by mokeydraws at 2:43 PM on April 22, 2011

There are metal polishes/paints for jewelry, though I'm not sure how good the metallic ones look. I've only reliably used glossy black.

If I were you, I'd look for a replacement, honestly.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 5:04 PM on April 22, 2011

Whatever you do, make sure it's skin and contact safe. I know it's not the hooks that are chipping, but because earrings tend to brush against your skin you get a lot more contact than one would think.

The other thing is, are you absolutely requiring them to be re-plated as gold? You could try to find silver plating or the like and it would probably be a lot cheaper than gold.
posted by gloraelin at 5:26 PM on April 22, 2011

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