What Is Silver Plating?

silver-plating Credit: Xuan Che/CC-BY 2.0

When something is silver plated, it is covered in a thin layer of silver. Most often, silver plating relates to jewelry, but other items can also be covered in silver.

Silver plating may be done for a variety of reasons. Coating an object in silver can inhibit corrosion, decorate an object, improve paint adhesion or give a high-gloss finish to jewelry. Plating objects as small as atoms is actually possible. Therefore, silver and gold plating is sometimes used in nanotechnology. Silver plating has been used since the 18th century where it provided people with less expensive household items that, in their pure silver forms, would be too expensive for everyone to afford. An example of this is cutlery.