Save my crappy cheap beautiful awesome necklace pendant!
June 4, 2019 3:43 PM   Subscribe

One of my absolute favorite necklaces is made of cheap metal, and the silvery finish is wearing away. Is there a way to save this necklace?

Is there some home-metal-refinishing process I could do? I don't care if the color has to be something other than bright silver as long as it stays somewhere in the silver-to-blackish-silver family. Not worried about the chain; I can replace that.

I have a garage workshop where any potentially hazardous fumes could be safely encountered. I am comfortable working with chemicals, heating stuff, etc. I just know nothing about the processes potentially involved in fixing this issue.

Whatever is suggested, I'd try it on a less-loved piece of cheap jewelry that had the same finish issues (I have lots of those, due to a horrible habit of acquiring jewelry at places like Target) before trying it on this.
posted by erst to Grab Bag (6 answers total)
Good news! Looks like that's copper underneath. Copper is a very very fine base layer for chrome.
Maybe you can chrome plate it! Here are some methods.
posted by Too-Ticky at 3:56 PM on June 4 [1 favorite]

Electroplating kit? I know there are some chemical-only versions, too.
posted by porpoise at 3:56 PM on June 4

Your local friendly trophy shop may be able to do electroplating without you having to get all up in the nasty electroplating chemicals.
posted by straw at 4:22 PM on June 4 [5 favorites]

Ditto jewelry shops and specialist silver plating shops. Your profile says you're in LA, and LA is huge, so must have a lot.

(I have lots of those, due to a horrible habit of acquiring jewelry at places like Target)

People have been silverplating for a long time, and there's a recent modern approach that doesn't use cyanide:

Here's a geek/crafter-friendly writeup on using materials from

Rio Grand jewelry supply.

etsy folk have kits as well.
posted by sebastienbailard at 1:33 AM on June 5

I tried electroplating a necklace with identical tarnishing/discolouration in my very-well-stocked university metalsmithing workshop years ago and it didn't work very well. Just because the underlying metal is coppery-coloured doesn't mean it's copper, it's almost definitely a base metal amalgam comprised of several different other metals - tin, copper, nickel, brass, etc - and your necklace was probably chemically plated rather than electroplated originally. In my case, my instructor said that electroplating over chemical plating was probably why the electroplating didn't work as well as I'd hoped. I would be wary of investing much money in any tools or kits unless you are as interested in the process and trial/error experimentation as you are in getting a really good result.
posted by cilantro at 2:06 AM on June 5 [2 favorites]

I had a much-loved pair of earrings that were made of basically crappy tinfoil. A jeweler made a wax cast and then recreated them for me in silver. It wasn't inexpensive (but not ridiculously pricey), and they make me happy every time I wear them.
posted by 2soxy4mypuppet at 9:55 AM on June 5 [1 favorite]

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