BlogWhat is Gold Plated Jewelry?

What is Gold Plated Jewelry?

Unveil the allure of gold-plated jewelry with insights on craftsmanship, durability, and style. Discover the essence of this exquisite accessory.

What is Gold Plated Jewelry?

Gold jewelry has been the standard for elegance and glamor for years, enjoying unfading popularity even as other precious metals have had their own time in the spotlight.

But gold also comes with a hefty price tag—one that not everyone is willing or able to pay. For this reason, you may think that you have to choose between one or the other: saving money or having fine gold jewelry.

Fortunately, you can enjoy jewelry with all the glitz of solid gold, but at a much more manageable price point. It’s all thanks to gold plating. What is gold plated jewelry and how does it differ from solid gold pieces? Let’s get into it.

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What is Gold Plated Jewelry Made Of?

Simply put, gold plated jewelry is made of real gold—but also other types of metal. The process of real gold plating—also called electroplating—involves enveloping one type of precious metal in a layer of gold. Depending on the underlying metal, the voltage and temperature required to create the gold plating will change.

Gold plating is a fairly involved process that utilizes specific chemicals, cleaners, and tools. Plus, everything from the selection of the underlying metal to the quality of the gold itself can impact the final product.

Fortunately, a proper jeweler will have the right tools and knowledge necessary to make beautiful gold plated jewelry.

The Pros and Cons of Gold Plating

Before deciding to dedicate money (and space in your accessory lineup) to gold plated jewelry, you may want a better understanding of its potential benefits, as well as any potential disadvantages.

As far as benefits go, gold plated jewelry can:

  • Save you money
  • Offer durable, time-tested pieces that resist tarnishing, oxidation, and discoloration
  • Provide the vibrancy and shine of solid gold pieces

Plus, it’s easy to take care of gold plated jewelry without much hassle. The maintenance is surprisingly minimal, meaning you won’t have to dedicate your time and attention to polishing your jewelry pieces daily. It’s a big time saver for the busy jewelry lover.

But perhaps the most significant benefit when it comes to choosing gold plated jewelry over solid gold jewelry is cost. And, when created by a master jeweler, gold plated pieces have a look very similar to solid gold jewelry, meaning most people won’t have the eye to tell the two apart.

Gold Plating vs. Gold Vermeil

In the process of researching and shopping around for gold plated jewelry, you may have come across the term gold vermeil—but what is it?

Gold vermeil, also known as silver gilt, is similar to gold plating in that the process involves coating a precious metalwith a thin layer of gold. However, with gold vermeil, the gold is applied over a sterling silver base. Additionally, it must be at least 2.5 microns thick compared to the less than 1 micron thickness typically found in gold plating.

The process itself is different, too. Gold vermeil plating involves electrolysis, which creates an extremely durable bond. This makes it an excellent choice if you’re looking for a jewelry piece with a long lifespan and a beautiful exterior.

However, gold plating still serves as a top option when comparing the two. This is because:

  • It’s less expensive
  • It offers a stunning look
  • It can last for years with the proper care

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Gold Plating vs. Gold Filled

Another similar option to gold plated jewelry is gold filled jewelry. This type of fine jewelry is made by welding or soldering a layer of gold directly onto a base metal, rather than using electroplating. The manual labor involved usually results in a higher price point.

This type of jewelry is also held to stricter standards than gold plated jewelry. In particular:

  • The gold used must be at least 10 karats
  • The gold needs to make up at least 5% of the total weight of the piece

However, there aren’t regulations for the underlying metal which could pose a pesky problem for people with skin allergies.

Given that the plating for gold filled jewelry is quite thick, gold filled pieces can last for years. Even still, the plating will eventually come off, and when it does, electroplating—gold plating—is the only way to re-plate it. For this reason, you may want to avoid the higher price point of gold filled jewelry and opt for gold plating instead.

How to Ensure the Longevity of Your Gold Plated Pieces

When you purchase gold plated jewelry, it’s important to understand proper maintenance techniques so that you can take care of your pieces and ensure as long of a lifespan as possible.

Fortunately, caring for your gold plated jewelry isn’t a Herculean task. Here are the basics you’ll want to keep in mind:

  • Avoid moisture – Whether it’s the pool, ocean, shower, hot tub, or even your own sweat after a workout, you’ll want to avoid moisture when wearing your gold plated jewelry. This is because water weakens the gold and makes it more susceptible to cracking, flaking, and tarnishing.
  • Don’t wear your jewelry 24/7 – Wearing jewelry to bed practically guarantees it’ll sustain damage from chafing and tangling while you sleep. On top of that, constant exposure to the oils on your skin can degrade the metal, too.
  • Don’t store your jewelry loosely – Proper storage of your jewelry is also key. Keep your jewelry in a cool, dark place—preferably in separate bags, pouches, or storage containers—to keep pieces from rattling together and chipping.
  • Apply any products before putting on jewelry – If you wear moisturizer, perfume, or any other similar products, apply them well before you put on your jewelry. The chemicals in these products can tarnish and damage the gold plating.

Following these tips can extend the longevity of your pieces, allowing you to enjoy them for many years to come.

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Cleaning Your Gold Plated Jewelry

Cleaning is another critical aspect of gold plated jewelry maintenance. For this reason, you should invest in a microfiber cloth, especially one made for use with gold plating. Cotton swabs can also help. Use the dry cloth or cotton swabs to wipe down your jewelry regularly, especially if you wear your pieces daily.

If a piece of gold plated jewelry ends up seriously dirtied for any reason, you can clean it carefully with warm, soapy water and a cotton swab. Just remember not to expose your jewelry to water for too long or you risk weakening the gold.

Should You Opt for Gold Plating?

So, should you invest in gold plated jewelry? Ultimately, it depends on your preferences, budget, and the quality of your jeweler. If you can find an expert jeweler who makes high-quality pieces and you’re looking to save money while also enhancing your accessory collection, the answer is a resounding yes.

In general, when shopping around, you can keep these differences in mind to determine the best option for you:

  • Gold plating – The best turnout for your dollar. The thin exterior layer of gold shines with a beautiful luster, and gold plated pieces can last for years with proper care.
  • Gold vermeil – A high-quality, durable option, but much pricier than gold plating due to the gold thickness, purity, and involvement of sterling silver.
  • Gold filling – An option that offers thick exterior plating, but often at a higher price point due to the manual labor involved in the creation process.
Enhance and Dazzle With Gold Pieces from Jennifer Fisher

If you want the glamor of solid gold at the best price possible, you should turn your attention to gold plating. But finding the right jeweler is a crucial step on your journey. Fortunately, you can rely on Jennifer Fisher.

At Jennifer Fisher, we ensure high-quality options no matter what you’re searching for. When it comes to gold plating, we expertly apply a thick layer of gold to the surface of prime base metals so you can be sure that your pieces will last for years to come.

Take a look at our vibrant selection of elegant gold jewelry today to get started.

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