Silver Plating On Copper, Bronze And Brass
Silver has generally been valued second only to gold from at least as early as 2000BC. A material which is highly prized becomes a status symbol and cheaper imitations find a ready market. Craftsmen very early developed methods of applying thin layers of silver onto base metal as an economical use of precious metal, whether for its decorative effect or, particularly in the case of plated coins, to deceive the customer. Unfortunately, silver plating is less commonly preserved than gold plating, and corrosion at the interface between the silver and base metal may destroy the evidence of how the plating was applied. The situation is complicated because many of the white metal surfaces on pieces labelled as ‘silvered’ are in fact produced by tin, or more rarely, by arsenic. Nevertheless, there are still sufficient surviving examples to indicate that silver plating has a long history during which techniques were developed to give better results and to allow more economical use of the precious metal.