I have gold plated with acid solutions for about ten years and never had any problems whatsoever. I never plated any stainless but there is a stainless prep solution that I have and I am sure it works just fine, Steel needs to be copper coated first then nickel plated then gold plated. It...
Another good way is Cerakote matte clear. The scene within the gold frame is coated with Matte clear Cerakote. I masked it off with scotch tape. No chemical will remove it. I even tried aircraft paint stripper on it to no avail.
Thanks Mike and Rodger. I do a lot of heat treating in my shop so annealing is not a problem.
I was a little worried about cutting down the cylinder to remove the engraving though but if Mike has it done it must be OK. It is probably no deeper than .010" anyway.