|Solder Mold Production||Soldering Preparation||Soldering||Stone Setting||Cleaning||Plating|
Plating serves to finish the jewelry piece. During this process, metallic coatings are
electrolytically added to the surface of the material. The process can
only be carried out if the material to be plated is conductive. During
the design process, please ensure that individual colors and coating
effects can withstand plating. For further information, see the color
overview in the Swarovski Crystal Collection.
The most important criteria for an excellent finishing process are:
- Selecting reliable electrolyte suppliers who offer good service and who can provide detailed operating instructions
- Selecting suitable high performance electrolytes
- Careful maintenance of the unit and the electrolytes
- Using the recommended settings for plating Cupchains
Note: Strong alkaline solutions, long exposure times in alkaline baths, the incorrect use of ultrasound, and high current densities usually lead to chemical and/or mechanical damage to crystals.
Short descriptions of the processing steps
- Hot degreasing: Here, most of the surface pollution (e.g. dirt, grease, soldering flux) is removed.
- Electrolytic degreasing: Only cathodic degreasing, suitable for brass and non-ferrous metals, is recommended for fine cleaning Cupchain jewelry.
- Pickling: This part of the process serves to remove oxidization from the metal and also the remains of any scale left from the soldering process.
- Cyanide copper plating: This processing step serves to improve adhesive strength and conductivity.
- Pyrophosphate copper plating: Like cyanide copper plating, this process improves adhesive strength and conductivity. The advantage is that the process does not involve cyanide, though the disadvantage is that higher current densities and longer exposure times are required.
- Bright copper plating: The use of sulfuric bright copper plating is recommended because of its excellent ability to cover surface flaws and create an even finish.
- Palladium coating: Palladium is presently the only recommended replacement for nickel since the bronze electrolytes currently available on the market can, through their extreme alkalinity, lead to damage to the foiling.
- Silver coating: Shiny silver coatings are usually
separated from cyanide solutions that contain alkali silver (I)-cyanide,
alkali cyanide, alkali carbonate, and organic and/or inorganic
- Gold coating: It is recommended to use phosphorus or citric acid electrolytes (pH ~3–4), which contain potassium gold (I)-cyanide.
- Rhodium coating: Sulfur or phosphoric acid based electrolytes are used for rhodium plating, from which shining, nearly silver-white layers can be applied.
- Tarnish protection
– Temporary protection against tarnishing: These are based either on wax mixtures in organic solvents or long-chained sulfuric organic compounds, which can be used as wet-on-wet aqueous emulsions.
– Permanent tarnishing protection systems: Cataphoretic lacquering systems have been proven especially effective as a longer lasting protective system for Cupchain jewelry. They have the advantage over conventional dipping and spray lacquers based on acrylic or zapon varnish (cellulose lacquer) in that only the conductive surfaces are very evenly coated while the isolated facets of the crystals remain uncoated.