Metal jewelry advice

My friend bought this memorial keepsake when her brother passed.
It’s apparently cheap metal and has started looking bad


They won’t let her return it

Just looking at the pics, I would guess it’s nickel-plated brass. However, if the description is accurate, it sort of implies silver-plated copper. It’s possible for a jeweler to replate it, but it’s probably not something you’re going to be able to get done at the average big chain store. Normally, I would say that it’s definitely not worth the effort / cost… but since this has sentimental value, it is an option. That being said, it’s going to wear off again in about the same amount of time. This can be delayed a little by avoiding contact with the skin as well as gently rinsing off oils on a regular basis. But even small amounts of rubbing will, over time, wear through the plating.

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I wonder if it might be best to try to get rid of the rest of the plating. Anything I can think of to try and make it look like new isn’t going to last. My other thought would be to paint it with some metallic hobby paint, like the ones for models.

That would renew the look for a while, and could be redone.

I’ll send her your ideas. Thanks!

I wonder if she could pop out the marble and have the heart remade in a better material.

If so, do you have any ideas about who could do that and what metal to use?

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Yeah – it could probably be re-cast in something better. Either the casting bronze, or silver. I’m not sure who might be able to do/help with that. I don’t think Sue has worked much with the casting, and I’m not sure who over in jewelry can/would help. I think that @darrent seems to know a lot about our casting setup.

And, he could probably discuss the cost, too. Bronze will be cheaper than silver, certainly.

Definitely strikes me as something that could be realized with our Lost wax casting process at DMS. We successfully cast silver and bronze regularly with our equipment.

Based upon the picture, I’d guess 20g of metal to cast. Silver is $0.75/g. Bronze is significantly less.

We ask $5/flask for casting. This design would only require one flask.

The design could be carved in wax or could be designed on the computer and 3d printed in a castable resin.

After casting, the design would then need to be cleaned up, polished, marble placed within, etc.

There will likely be a casting class next month. Sarah could drop by and check it out to see if that’s something that would work.

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I donated my Dad’s old electroplating machine years ago to the jewelry/small-metals department. He used to use it in his dental practice for certain types of model-making.

I think maybe someone grabbed it for their personal use? Might want to ask around to track it down if you wanna copper-plate it or gold-plate it.

The chairperson (Joe LaHoud) wrote me, “We already have a machine for this purpose and after a few weeks and some consideration, I declined to accept this into the inventory of tools for jewelry. Another committee member expressed some interest in it and took it before it made it to the freebie shelf.”

I’m guessing that you could re-electroplate it (maybe even in gold!) at minimal expense.

While DMS does have a rectifier, we do not have gold plating solution, electro clean solutions, or the Gold or platinum-plated titanium anodes available that are usually necessary to complete the process.

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