There are many experimental variables that must be controlled to get a very pure deposit.
Commercial silver platers convert the silver in solution into the soluble complex ion Ag(CN)2- to obtain high quality silver plate. But yes, that is cyanide ion complexed to the silver, which presents obvious safety and waste disposal problems. Don't try it. There is a safe procedure that uses ammonium acetate and no cyanide (R. J. Adams, W. J. Blaedel, Journal of Chemical Education, 36, 286 (1959).
You might browse through a jewelry supply catalog before trying to reinvent silver plating yourself. You might also check with your local astronomy club- plating silver onto mirrors using silver nitrate is an essential part of telescope making.
One warning. Silver nitrate is a strong oxidizing agent. It is easily reduced to silver by organic material. Paper, clothing and skin are very good for reducing silver nitrate to microscopic, jet-black particles of silver; in fact, silver nitrate was a component in some indelible inks. The black stains that result from careless handling of silver nitrate solutions usually can't be washed off, so wear gloves or wash your hands often during this experiment.
Author: Fred Senese email@example.com
Copyright © 1997-2010 by Fred Senese
Comments & questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
Last Revised 02/15/10.URL: http://antoine.frostburg.edu/chem/senese/101/redox/faq/print-ag-from-agno3.shtml