Yates - Bird 'Gold Plater' machine, $40.

Gold plating machines like this Yates - Bird are used in the dental industry for plating various of the pieces and parts that are intended to reside in the mouth permanently. They're also used in the jewelry industry to gold plate pieces of jewelry.

Gold is perfect for dentistry because it's hypo-allergenic and impervious to leaching or corroding in the oral environment. But in many cases, the particular appliance doesn't have to be made from solid gold - plating often does the job as well, and is much more affordable.

Gold plating is great for enhancing restorations, including recreation of gold inlays on crowns and bridges. And by sealing the metal underneath a gold plating, you eliminate tissue sensitivity problems, galvanic reactions, nickel leaching, and discoloration or greening by the metal underneath. As a matter of fact, this machine is indeed intended for use in the dental industry.

But besides the dental applications, wouldn't this machine also be of interest to jewelry makers? Of course, I'm not talking about making cheap gold plated trinkets, but for something more practical and cost effective. Let's say you're a jewelry maker and you're going to cast an expensive piece of gold jewelry for a customer, but you want to make sure they like it before you commit yourself to casting the real thing. You cast the piece in a base metal, throw on a thin layer of gold, and work with that piece until you get to just what the customer wants, then you can do the real gold.

I know, this is an unusual entry, but you'ver got to admit - this is an unusual item. Always remember that the key to profits in this business is not to limit yourself to the stuff that everyone and his brother know about, because that stuff is likely to be gone before you ever have a chance to see it. The better you are at figuring out the merchandise that has other people scratching their head, the more opportunities will come your way.

This Yates & Bird GOLD PLATER currently sells for around $700 new, not including any accessories. This one sold on eBay for $255.

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