The electroplating (or galvanic process) is a technique, mostly used in the industrial field, that allows to cover a non precious metal with a thin layer of a more precious metal with the process of electrodeposition, allowing to significantly limit the release of nickel.
This process is primarily used to protect metal structures from corrosion, but may also have decorative purpose.
HOW IT WORKS
In a bath containing an aqueous solution called an electrolyte which has one or more dissolved metal salts, as well as other ions that permit the flow of electricity, two electrodes are immersed: the metal to be coated is the cathode, whereas the anode is the metal that has to be deposited. When the power is supplied, current is passed to the anode, oxidizing the metal atoms that it comprises and allowing them to dissolve in the solution. At the cathode, the dissolved metal ions in the electrolyte solution are reduced at the interface between the solution and the cathode, such that they “plate out” onto the cathode.
Cations are deposited on the cathodes, which acquire electrons from the anode and become metallic atoms. Thus, the cathode is slowly coated with a thin metal layer while the anode is slowly consumed by releasing ions in solution.
Some baths, such as those used for depositing noble metals such as silver or gold, also use a cyanide ion solutions and are therefore called “cyanide baths”. This type of bath requires, by law, authorized licensed workers. Rodio, nickel, copper, chromium and zinc are other metals that are commonly used in galvanostegia.
The electroplating we have chosen is based on bronze because its treatment does not require cyanide, unlike silver. The end result is a silvery, shiny and bright piece and not subject to oxidation.
Rodio and silver, which are the most used elements in the fashion jewelry market, may have a brighter result but their use is highly more polluting.
The company we have chosen for galvanic treatment is Italian and it operates in Italy in full compliance with the Italian and European standards for the disposal of toxic substances.