You might have noticed most of our trophy cups are nickel plated rather than silver plated. Quite likely you’re wondering which is the best choice. We’ve done some research ourselves that we’ll share with you in this article.
Nickel plated trophy cups are more robust
A nickel plated trophy cup does not tarnish like silver trophy cups. They are less susceptible to the effects of exposure to the air which causes dullness and discolouration. This means they require less cleaning and maintenance.
Silver plated trophy cups are a traditional choice
For many years silver plated cups have been the popular choice. People like to stick with tradition. It’s part of human nature. In the past, manufacturers made trophy cups with a thicker silver coating which could withstand many polishes. However, today trophy cups are much cheaper which has led to some manufacturers taking shortcuts. Many only have a thin layer of silver plating which is not immediately obvious. However, it will become obvious when the plating wears through with overpolishing with harsh products. This has led to nickel plated cups being more popular.
Do silver plated and nickel plated trophy cups look different?
As you can see from the picture – no they don’t. The trophy cup on the left is nickel plated, while the other cup is silver plated. However, these are new trophy cups. Over time they will look different. The silver plated trophy cup will become tarnished when it is exposed to moisture. But once it is polished with trusted cleaning methods it will be restored to it’s original shine. The nickel plated trophy cup won’t tarnish and can be easily wiped with a cloth. No need to worry about using silver polish.
How can I tell if the trophy cup is nickel or silver plated?
It will not be immediately obvious if your trophy cup is silver or nickel plated. However, over time the silver plated trophy cup will tarnish if exposed to moisture while the nickel plated trophy cup will stay nice and shiny. Normally when you buy a new trophy cup, the seller should be able to tell you if it is nickel or silver plated. We have put our silver plated trophy cups and nickel plated trophy cups in separate categories so that you can make an informed choice.
Conclusion – it all depends on personal preference
The decision to buy a nickel plated or silver plated trophy cup is entirely up to you. If you like the traditional silver trophy cup which has been the tradition for centuries then that is what you should buy. Nickel plated trophy cups will save you a lot of work when it comes to cleaning and polishing. They are also the best choice for damp environments that cause silver to tarnish quickly.
Yes silver plating can wear off. Some people will have had the experience of seeing silverware that has worn through. Others might not even realise it’s possible. Or else they don’t realise that the brassy colour showing through is the metal that was once covered by the silver plating.
Why does silver plating wear off?
Because trophy engraving is our main line of work, we see a wide range of silver trophy cups in various conditions. Some are only a few years old and the silver has worn through. We also see trophy cups that are very old and the silver hasn’t worn through at all. So we’ve done a bit of research to find out just why this happens. The silver plating can wear through on trophy cups for a number of reasons.
Firstly, don’t use toothpaste or any novel cleaning ideas
You’ve tried some novel idea and think you’ve got stunning results
You might have used toothpaste to clean your silver and not had any problem. So you’re wondering what the fuss is all about. But toothpaste can contain grit and abrasive substances that will wear the silver down over time. Each time you clean your silver using these novel methods you will be removing a small amount of the silver plating. Spare a thought for future winners. They will still want the silver plating on the trophy cup when their turn comes around.
Only use cleaning formulas that are made for the purpose
Keep the toothpaste for teeth. That’s what it was made for. The toothpaste manufacturers never intended their product to be used for cleaning silver. Therefore it has not been formulated with silver in mind. Silver cleaning products such as Goddard’s or Hagerty’s cleaners and polishes have been tested and developed over many years especially with silver in mind.
Cheap trophy cups have a fairly thin layer of silver plating
We often see trophy cups coming in to be engraved that have the silver worn through when they are only a few years old. It makes you wonder how they have deteriorated in such a short time. Even if they do have a thin layer they should last longer. We now believe those cups are the victim of cheap or novel cleaning methods such as toothpaste.
Trophy cups were made with a thicker layer of plating in early days
We’ve engraved a few cups that date back to the 1930’s that are in better condition than the ones that are only about 10 years old. In the early days trophies couldn’t be acquired so cheaply like they can today. They were made to high standards and built to last. Many of these older trophies would have come from England where only the best is acceptable.
Silver plating can be redone
If you’ve been unlucky enough to wear the silver through with harsh cleaning methods they can be replated. Professional electroplaters like Progressive Polishers and Electroplaters will replate your trophy cups with a heavy and durable thickness of 20 microns of pure silver. However, it is quite an expensive process that you’d probably only use for trophy cups of great value.
Finally, the best advice we can give you is to only use tested and proven cleaning methods. With proper care you should be able to make the silver plating last longer. Fortunately there are expert electroplaters available to restore your valued trophy cups if they’ve been the victim of misinformed cleaning methods.
Humid conditions and exposure to the air for long periods it will cause silver to tarnish quickly. We keep our trophy cups packaged in tissue paper and plastic until we sell them. However, most people will want to show their trophy cups off. It is best to display your trophies in a glass cabinet. Putting a little bit of silica gel in the cabinet will help to reduce moisture levels.
How to keep silver trophy cups clean and shiny
Unfortunately there is no magic solution to keeping your trophy cups untarnished. But fortunately there are some wonderful products specially designed to restore them to a beautiful shine. We recommend Goddard’s or Hagerty’s Silver polishing formulas. They contain a tarnish resistant barrier so you won’t need to polish so often.
Use silver polishing cloths instead of polishing formulas
It is important not to use silver polishing agents too often as they can wear through the silver coating. The tarnishing can usually be removed with a special silver polishing cloth. These cloths are specially designed to gently polish your silver without the need of harsh polishing agents.
Only use polishing formulas as a last resort
Some trophy cups can be so badly tarnished that they need a silver polishing formula. It is best to use the silver polishing cloth first. Then use a specially formulated silver polishing liquid for the stubborn areas.
Use a separate cloth for polishing formulas
Obviously, you won’t want to use your special silver polishing cloth to apply silver polish. You should have 2 polishing cloths for cleaning your trophy cups. Keep your silver polishing cloth especially for silver that doesn’t need any extra treatment with polishing formulas. Any soft cloth will do for applying polishing formulas.
What to do if the silver has worn off
Trophy cups can be restored by professional electroplaters like Progressive Polishers and ElectroplatersThey will replate your trophy cups with a heavy and durable thickness of 20 microns of pure silver. However, it is quite an expensive process that you’d probably only use for high value trophy cups. Therefore it is best to prevent the need for replating by using reliable trophy cup cleaning methods.
Nickel plated trophy cups
Today most cups are made with nickel plating rather than silver plating. They look just like silver cups but they don’t tarnish. All they need is a wipe clean with a cloth. Nickel plated cups are a good choice if you don’t want to spend ages cleaning them.
The life of your trophy cups all depends on using trusted cleaning methods and the right formulas. If you’ve been unlucky enough to wear through the silver plating it’s not the end of the world. There is a solution… at a price![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_separator color=”mulled_wine” style=”shadow” border_width=”8″][/vc_column][/vc_row]
Just want to say a huge thank you to Award Engravers & Framers for the plastic dog tags I purchased. I am so happy with the look of them and their quality. They sit lovely against their other rego tags and we no longer have the rackety jangle of their old metal tags. I was also super impressed with the speed at which Award Engravers & Framers contacted me and the lollies in the bag were a welcomed surprise! I have recommended Award Engravers & Framers to all my friends with dogs.
We purchased a designer pet tag from Award Engravers & Framers a year ago for our cat Holly and it's been fantastic. No wear on it at all and still as vibrant as first day so now want one for my husband's dog Levi and my cat Lexie.
My personalised beer mug arrived this morning, safe and sound. Thank you so much for doing such a wonderful job, I am sure my husband will love it. Award Engravers and Framers have been an absolute pleasure to deal with. I will definitely use this company again in the future and recommend them to my friends and family.
Award Engravers and Framers went above and beyond what I was hoping for and even did a 2 day turn around for me. Thank you so much. This is what all NZ businesses should strive to be like.
I asked Linley to do a medal for our family Patriarch and Matriarch. Very very pleased with the results. Linley was able to use a very old photo as background so it is much more personal. Great communication and service with very quick delivery. Thank you, they will be around for a very long time.
WOW!! I cannot thank you enough for the trophy that was done for our family tennis day. It was made to specifications and your business was really accommodating to ensure I had the product I desired. The communication was friendly, prompt and so easy to correspond. The turnaround was fast and the product was packaged extremely well. THANK YOU. No hesitation to do business with you again.
I would happily recommend Award Engravers. When NCMA used Award Engravers to create sponsor plaques for all our seats in the Auditorium, Linley was extremely efficient and timely in response to my initial questions. She has an eye for detail, so dealing with 300 plaques in one go wasn’t an issue and she completed the job to meet the deadline and to a very good standard.
Robyn ShevesNelson Centre of Musical Arts
Highly recommend Award Engravers, The Team went out of their way to complete our trophies in exceptional turnaround time. It’s five stars from us Riwaka Under 10 rugby team.
Lindsay & Genie BradleyPromote You
We have used Award Engravers & Framers for all our engraving and trophy work since Linley started her business and have found her very friendly as well as being extremely quick and efficient in meeting our requirements and deadlines. She always offers helpful advice and we would recommend her to any other organisations requiring this type of work.
Lyn BaigentTarget Shooting Nelson
As a regular customer of Award Engravers & Framers we are pleased to recommend them highly; Their product is professional grade, backed by excellent very helpful service.
John WhymanWhyman Controls Ltd
Linley has recently obtained and engraved medals for our senior prize-giving. I found her to be courteous and professional to deal with, and she worked accurately and within a tight time frame. I would not hesitate to make use of her services again in future.
Kathy SherwoodNayland College
I recently had the pleasure of Linley constructing a trophy which was not the norm. She managed to decipher all my emails and delivered a professional looking trophy completed to a high standard. With the added bonus of an insert being made from a file we sent. It was a great pleasure made easy with fast responses to emails, highly recommend to others.
Natasha OlynsmaAir Training Corps, NZ Cadet Forces
Linley has framed my art and needlework for some years now. I always find her knowledge and advice great in helping me select the frames and mat boards for the best effect and at a reasonable price. I would not hesitate in recommending her to anyone.
Linley has engraved our trophies for several years now. Her service is always extremely efficient; often having the job completed by the following day. We’d highly recommend using Award Engravers & Framers for engraving.
Andy ColleyWaimea Intermediate School
Our club has been delighted by Linley’s warm and friendly approach. It’s a fantastic skilled service, that’s good quality and great value. Golden Bay Football Club wouldn't hesitate to recommend Award Engravers & Framers every time.
Adge TuckerGolden Bay Football Club
"Working with you to provide custom engraving and picture framing, designed for your unique needs."