Sterling silver. The low down and info goes here.

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edstreet

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Thanks Ed for that info.

It appears that Skip is right.It cannot be labled sterling silver if it is plated no matter how pure the plating is.

I understand that now.To be called sterling silver the whole thing must be made of silver not just a portion of it.

I take back my last statement Skip.They are indeed lying when labling a plating sterling silver.

I'm sorry for shooting my mouth off.
#1 valid argument you had was the personal attacks. Skippy did have a very valid concern that I was wondering about when someone mentioned it to me.

From the way that I am reading this is that Berea will have to change the labeling as will all of their distributors like bear tooth woods, Arizona Silhouette and Exotic Blanks.

Another lead I have been following (yet no full data to disclose) is that the silver does not need to be present in 'silver plating'. This would certainly hold true since I have been told by several vendor (they will remain nameless) they have yet to see one tarnish.
 

maxwell_smart007

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Just curious if I'm following correctly.

So the issue is the word 'sterling'? Calling it silver plated would be fine, but sterling silver plated is a misnomer, and sterling silver would imply solid? (except for those advertised as solid sterling, with a price to match).

If it doesn't tarnish, though, it can't be silver...it can be 'silver plate', as it's a plating that looks silver in colour (but possibly without silver)

Is that the crux of the matter?
 

edstreet

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Just curious if I'm following correctly.

So the issue is the word 'sterling'? Calling it silver plated would be fine, but sterling silver plated is a misnomer, and sterling silver would imply solid? (except for those advertised as solid sterling, with a price to match).

If it doesn't tarnish, though, it can't be silver...it can be 'silver plate', as it's a plating that looks silver in colour (but possibly without silver)

Is that the crux of the matter?

From what I am understanding of the matter yes indeed the key word is 'sterling', even putting it on the plastic bags would be a no-no.

Silver plating services and kits have been around for some time and fairly easy to do in a home based shop.

Silver Plating Kits - Electroplating & Anodizing - Caswell Inc

I have also heard of some processes that will render silver unable to be tarnished but am unable to locate that information. I have located info regarding platinum and rhodium plating over true sterling to stop tarnishing.
 

Smitty37

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Law

I suggest before you jump to conclusions regarding the law spoken of you check into how it is interpreted by the courts and how it is applied.....Migliori v. Calise, 750 F. Supp. 57 (D.R.I. 1990) is a good case in point because it addresses a number of the points brought around in this discussion. The intent of that law and how it is enforced by the courts is not as obvious as you might think.
 

maxwell_smart007

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That was an interesting case-study, Smitty. I'm certainly not a lawyer, but it was an interesting (and for me, unexpected) decision.

It seems that the issue for that case centred around the fact that the court only was willing to entertain arguments about fallacious claims in the presence of a physical stamp or marking - directly embossed on the item itself...i.e. it only is interested with stamps, not claims 'accompanying' the item. It also seemed to focus on jurisdiction of the federal government in terms of policing purity...

That being said, as long as the term 'plated' is included, to show that the silver layer is shallow, would that be an issue? The citation that Ed gave was from an eBay guide, which is hardly definitive. Is there a concrete, legal, trade definition of Sterling which precludes it being referred to in reference to plating? Coudn't a .925 plating layer, however thin, be considered a 'sterling plate'?

Back to the case study, re the embossing: Physical proximity appears to be the key. A verbal or written misrepresentation that is not appended to the item does not fall within the statute. The implication is that Congress was concerned with physical markings because such markings are presumed to be accurate in the trade and are presumed to be regulated by law. Physical markings, thus, have more credibility than mere representations.

There was a significant lack of precedence as well - so I suppose that the issue would be a 'dearth of cases' upon which to compare.

I'm not a lawyer, and know nothing about the fine details of US law, but at the very least, it was an interesting read! I find it interesting that precedence favours so heavily - wouldn't some case always have to be first, by definition?

Thanks for the interesting read, Smitty!
 

edstreet

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That being said, as long as the term 'plated' is included, to show that the silver layer is shallow, would that be an issue? The citation that Ed gave was from an eBay guide, which is hardly definitive. Is there a concrete, legal, trade definition of Sterling which precludes it being referred to in reference to plating? Coudn't a .925 plating layer, however thin, be considered a 'sterling plate'?

The first link and quote was to the ebay guide. The second and third was actual direct link to Cornell law, actual legal text. Very much definitive.
 

lwalper

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That being said, as long as the term 'plated' is included, to show that the silver layer is shallow, would that be an issue? The citation that Ed gave was from an eBay guide, which is hardly definitive. Is there a concrete, legal, trade definition of Sterling which precludes it being referred to in reference to plating? Coudn't a .925 plating layer, however thin, be considered a 'sterling plate'?
Well, now that it's been hashed over a bit -- I think I read somewhere along the line in the foregoing posts that silver plate is not "sterling" -- it's silver plate. Silver plate is pure silver plated from a solution of potassium silver cyanide - KAg (CN<sub>2</sub>) electropated over a base metal with a plating thickness of around 1.5 - 5 microns (not very thick - maximum around 0.0002").

Will silver tarnish? Absolutely, regardless of how thick it may be. Will silver alloys (i.e. "sterling") tarnish? Absolutely. Why don't sliver plated pen parts tarnish? Because they're coated with something else preventing tarnish. That seems easy enough. And yes, the suppliers selling "sterling plated" components should rethink their advertising. There ain't no such critter.

An interesting resource is the Metal Finishing Guide
 
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Smitty37

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Migliori v. Calise, 750 F. Supp. 57 (D.R.I. 1990) :: Justia

The problem with that case is they did indeed receive what was listed, it was just not in bars like the buyer was assuming or wanting.
The important part of the decision Ed was not the decision it was the courts interpretation of the law and the legislative intent behind the law and the courts citation of other cases - that would have been the same regardless of the case outcome. The intent of the legislation itself was to protect honest jewelers from unfair competition of dishonest jewelers. The wording of the law not-with-standing, courts interpret the law with the legislative intent in mind -- legislative intent can only be found by finding information that is available but not included in the law itself such as the congressional debate surrounding passage. I suppose we could find that if we knew how to search for it. But one of the common name for the law included the words Jewelers Protection....It was aimed at the jewelery industry. To get the law enforced one would have to either get a US Attorny interested, or bring a law suit (allowed under the law since 1970) themselves, in my opinion neither is likely to happen for pen kits...if a private suit is brought the plaintif would need to prove damages to collect anything to cover their cost of bringing suit and I doubt that anyone making pure pen kits is suffering any damages from plated pen kits the prices are far enough apart that they really don't compete.
 
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avbill

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If you are buying a necklace for your girl-friend or wife do you buy a chrome necklace or a sterling silver necklace. Which has the higher value to it?
 

edstreet

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I would like to take this time and thank Bereahardwoods for doing the following, it shows good intentions and you have to have respect and admiration for this.

It would seem that the website has been scrubbed all references to the word 'sterling' .

Sedona Silver Rollerball Pen Kit Making Supplies Berea HardWoods

Here is the link.

Here is the cached copy to show the before/after changes.



I am not sure of what is going on behind the scenes but I do know they have been watching this thread. I am also not aware of any of the sub-vendors changing their lineup but I am assuming they will be following suit soon.


As for updates on this project I have acid based test kits for silver, platinum and gold on order and they will be here this weekend. I will also be posting results for everyone to see.
 

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OKLAHOMAN

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Berea is showing that the major Vendors do watch us and will do the right thing given the opportunity and I'll bet they'll ask their resellers to do the same.
 

jttheclockman

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Berea is showing that the major Vendors do watch us and will do the right thing given the opportunity and I'll bet they'll ask their resellers to do the same.

Oh that is a true statement. This site is watched by many people that are behind the scenes. What happens here does make a difference. Many sales are generated from this site so they need to watch. Trends are fashioned from here as well. We do not know who actually is watching but be assured you are being watched. Good , bad , or indifferent this site is in the cross-hairs and on the map.:)
 

Quality Pen

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While that is good to correct something... how long have these been for sale? How could they let something so important go unaddressed?

More importantly i look forward to following the development of this.
 

edstreet

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While that is good to correct something... how long have these been for sale? How could they let something so important go unaddressed?

More importantly i look forward to following the development of this.
Any type of reply, other than directly from the source would be pure speculation.

My current working speculation is that there is a language barrier, a culture barrier between the US and Taiwan. When the plating was done the materials they purchased to plate with would be listed indeed as "sterling silver". However, breaking it down from that, platting it onto other metals weakens the word "sterling". Those who are fluent in that would be legal department and silversmiths. Simply they could not have known about that and listed it as what the main ingredient was, sterling silver.
 

Quality Pen

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My second thought was that... don't they have a legal team? Didn't want to break off the main point Because this is a valuable thread. Indeed we will have to wait and see what they say.
 

Spanx

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Kudos to Berea Hardwoods for taking action in addressing this issue.It shows that they care what we think.
 

Smitty37

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Kudos to Berea Hardwoods for taking action in addressing this issue.It shows that they care what we think.
That could be....and in their research into it they might well have discovered that their Silver plating exceeds the standard for Sterling and that by using the word Sterling they were implying that they were down grading their plating.
 

edstreet

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Preliminary results from the acid test shows there is no silver and not platinum present. Will move forward to the atomic absorption (AA) spectrophotometer testing.
 

Smitty37

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I've never used the acid test myself but just read about 200 or 300 reports of those who have and based on the results they were getting, I don't think I would. Testing of solid items (i.e. silver coins) seemed to be pretty accurate but plated seemed to be all over the lot. It will be interesting to see the AA results.

I'm not sure what you are trying to get at though?

Silver plated kits are usually among the lower priced finishes, but higher than Chrome so I stay with Chrome because it has much better wear characterstics.
 

edstreet

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Looks like exotics has updated the listings for the 'sterling' kits, which is good. The plating link still shows it as sterling however.

I am unable to locate a sedona kit in rhodium plating, anyone have a source for some of those? I may just have to break down and get a baron instead.
 

edstreet

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Turns out the AA spectrometer is a no go. That requires the material to be in solution. However they can put it in the mass spectrometer. The lab is shut down for two weeks. Should give me enough time to possibly run other samples. Perhaps the fabled 22kt gold?
 

Smitty37

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Turns out the AA spectrometer is a no go. That requires the material to be in solution. However they can put it in the mass spectrometer. The lab is shut down for two weeks. Should give me enough time to possibly run other samples. Perhaps the fabled 22kt gold?
I'm still interested in how the acid tests were performed.
 

Smitty37

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Turns out the AA spectrometer is a no go. That requires the material to be in solution. However they can put it in the mass spectrometer. The lab is shut down for two weeks. Should give me enough time to possibly run other samples. Perhaps the fabled 22kt gold?
I'm still interested in how the acid tests were performed.
FYI, My supplier applies their silver plating 20 microns thick over zinc (the base part is copper or bronz) and it is then coated with a clear epoxy coating. This is typical for the industry. That is a very thin coating but silver plated jewelry is often even thinner. The zinc is used because it is less reactive than copper or bronze and increases resistance to tarnish.

I also read elsewhere that epoxy clear coats will show a reaction to the acid used for testing silver.

My supplier did tell me that some of their customers refer to items that are chrome plated as silver or gray metal. They did not mention if any of those customers were US Based.
 
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Smitty37

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Turns out the AA spectrometer is a no go. That requires the material to be in solution. However they can put it in the mass spectrometer. The lab is shut down for two weeks. Should give me enough time to possibly run other samples. Perhaps the fabled 22kt gold?
I'm still interested in how the acid tests were performed.
FYI, My supplier applies their silver plating 20 microns thick over zinc (the base part is copper or bronz) and it is then coated with a clear epoxy coating. This is typical for the industry. That is a very thin coating but silver plated jewelry is often even thinner. The zinc is used because it is less reactive than copper or bronze and increases resistance to tarnish.

I also read elsewhere that epoxy clear coats will show a reaction to the acid used for testing silver.

My supplier did tell me that some of their customers refer to items that are chrome plated as silver or gray metal. They did not mention if any of those customers were US Based.
Just to give you an idea of how thin that is there are 25,400 microns to an inch. You are looking at about 8/10000th of an inch.
 

SteveG

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That plating thickness of 20 microns might be easier to conceptualize by describing it to be just slightly less than 1/1000 inch thick, or alternatively: just slightly less than 0.001 inch.
 

Smitty37

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That plating thickness of 20 microns might be easier to conceptualize by describing it to be just slightly less than 1/1000 inch thick, or alternatively: just slightly less than 0.001 inch.
Or I could also havd said .0008 in. A micron is 1/1000000 of a meter....I actually thought, until I looked it up that micron was an Amercan rather than a metric unit.
 

SteveG

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I was just putting the dimension into something many of us work with regularly. If a pen turner is working toward a "nice fit and finish", then he (or she) will be using the DC's and working in the +/- .001 or .002 inches of a target finish dimension, which is right at the thickness spec for the silver plate. Btw, 20 microns is a fairly heavy coating of silver (even acknowledging that the metal is soft and susceptible to brassing, unless there is a good clear coat applied for protection).
 

Smitty37

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I was just putting the dimension into something many of us work with regularly. If a pen turner is working toward a "nice fit and finish", then he (or she) will be using the DC's and working in the +/- .001 or .002 inches of a target finish dimension, which is right at the thickness spec for the silver plate. Btw, 20 microns is a fairly heavy coating of silver (even acknowledging that the metal is soft and susceptible to brassing, unless there is a good clear coat applied for protection).
I understand what you were doing Seve. I wasn't sure about how heavy that coating is for Silver, I knew it would be heavy for Rhodium and the Titaniums because making them much heavier can cause problems with brittleness. Still compared with the weight of metal in the whole item it is a very small percentage. I think almost all kit manufacturers do use a clear coat of epoxy.
 

Cmiles1985

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Ed, are you saying that you don't have a setup for acid digestion at your house? :biggrin:

I'm not exactly sure what the clear coat would be made of, but I would think an organic solvent (acetone, toluene, dimethylene chloride, etc.) would strip it off. Certain mineral acids will react differently with the metals in question. Nitric will dissolve some metals, but not others. Hydrochloride may dissolve some that nitric won't, but wave some that nitric will in tact. Same thing with sulfuric. Thus, the playing material *should* be able to be solubilized without carrying the base metal.
GC will still require a solution, but will likely not handle the acidic solution required to dissolve the metals. If you can find someone that can run XRD or SEM, that may be your best bet.
 

Smitty37

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Ed, are you saying that you don't have a setup for acid digestion at your house? :biggrin:

I'm not exactly sure what the clear coat would be made of, but I would think an organic solvent (acetone, toluene, dimethylene chloride, etc.) would strip it off. Certain mineral acids will react differently with the metals in question. Nitric will dissolve some metals, but not others. Hydrochloride may dissolve some that nitric won't, but wave some that nitric will in tact. Same thing with sulfuric. Thus, the playing material *should* be able to be solubilized without carrying the base metal.
GC will still require a solution, but will likely not handle the acidic solution required to dissolve the metals. If you can find someone that can run XRD or SEM, that may be your best bet.
I didn't ask specifically for silver but have been told previously that the clear coating used is usually an epoxy. There are several different possibilities for the acid formulation. Without knowing what kit Ed used it's impossible to say. Most of the kit acids will react with epoxy but some will react only on the surface and not penetrate to the metal.
 
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BradG

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wowsers.. that was alot of reading. are you guys intentionally trying to give yourself a headache here?

If the point of all of this is to see if kits are being fraudulently advertised, then it sounds like you've all worked that one out. As one post correctly said, its marketing. People presume sterling just means of really high excellent shiny quality and never get too drawn in with the technicalities of it. It's only the advanced turners who would even contemplate questioning this.

Ed, what you're referring to is chromate film, not resin :wink: which stops tarnishing.

There are general requirements for all types of surface engineering. With Silver, falling under Federal specification QQ-S-365D (Because I know you all love factual codes :biggrin: )

Matte (type I)
Semibright (type II)
bright (type (III)
and with chromate filme (grade A)
Without film (Grade B)

The minimum thickness of 13μm

Then there's all the types which begin with AMS, which is used in aerospace which is obviously of a higher standard and stricter tolerances

Then there's ISO standards.



With regards to the plating process itself its almost exclusively done in a cyanide solution. They've exhaustively tried less toxic alternatives but struggle to match the overall results.

Firstly, it's not just a metal in these plating solutions. they're recipes to give the desired effect. I would put money on that these "sterling kits" simply contain a carbonate to aid conductivity and act as a brightener to make them extra shiny. (I will tell you all about carbonates and trisodium phosphate's in a few months ;) People who own metal lathes will love this stuff - don't ask, it's all secret for now :tongue: )

A typical recipe commercially used for plating silver decorative parts is

Silver as KAg(CN)2 g/L 15-40
Potassium Cyanide g/L 12-120
Potassium Carbonate g/L 15


if you think that's bad... just wait until you dive into gold and "chrome" ;)

half the time chrome isn't chrome
and ive seen pinkish coloured gold labelled as 24ct which is impossible. It's the cobalt hardener they add which turns it to a pink hue and cannot be classified as 24ct as a result of it. Also not very cheap solution either. costs me £290 per litre, for 6g/L


Smitty, you're in the right ball park with the zinc plate. It stops the copper based alloys from leaching through the silver plating.
 
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