All that glitters may not be gold but certainly, some are aesthetically pleasing and desirable to wear — like gold plated jewelry! If you’ve ever wondered why they are a rage these days, keep reading to know more.
Electroplating Process in Gold Plated Jewelry
In jewelry production, electroplating is the addition of a thin metal coating on top of a jewelry piece through an electric current. Thereupon, the finished product is gold plated jewelry. This is done to increase its value and enhance the finish of the design. This method is rather comparatively easy to execute and is not costly to invest in. You will only need very basic equipment and the process can be done. Furthermore, plating is a great option if you want to have a single design that is offered in two or more metal colors. The base metals that are often gold plated are nickel, brass, stainless steel, silver, and copper.
What is Gold Plated?
Gold plated jewelry has been a great contribution to the fashion industry today. It is a type of jewelry that mimics expensive, pure gold. They are such a pleasure to wear because they are fashionable and affordable to most consumers.
Does Gold Plated Tarnish?
Unfortunately, yes. Gold plated jewelry is not invincible and will tarnish over time. Eventually, it will lose its luster and brightness. It will discolor and tarnish quickly especially if the gold plating is too thin.
Environmental factors such as pollution and humidity also contribute to its tarnishing. Additionally, some pieces of jewelry are reactive to these factors, depending on which metals are alloyed. This chemical reaction is called oxidation. Certain metals react once exposed to oxygen in the atmosphere. Because of this, tarnishing is indeed unavoidable since air itself plays a part.
How to Clean Gold Plated Jewelry?
Plated jewelry does have its shortcomings. However, there are ways to clean your gold plated jewelry to keep its luster longer and looking new. For instance, you can clean your gold plated earrings by gently wiping them down after every wear to remove moisture or dirt. Skip the traditional polishing cloth and used a subtle texture instead to avoid scratching. For most worn accessories, like a gold plated bracelet, you should give it a deeper cleaning. You can do this by soaking your piece with warm water for a couple of minutes and cleaning it off with a basic soap. Do not use antibacterial soaps as they tarnish gold plating. Once done, carefully wipe them down to restore their luster.
How Long Does Gold Plated Jewelry Last?
We would say about two years. Possibly more if with proper care. If you handle your pieces properly and regularly maintain its cleaning, you can extend its wearable life and keep them bright for as long as it lasts. It depends on how to take care of it. If the plating starts to tarnish, you may consider bringing it to a jeweler to be replated. Otherwise, it will lose its luster over time.
How to Tell if Something is Gold Plated?
For transparency, some gold plated bracelets and necklaces have initial stamps indicating their metal composition. But just in case the jewelry pieces do not bear any markings, a few ways to determine if something is gold plated is through color, acid test, and magnetism.
Color — Gold plated pieces usually have an intense yellowish hue. If you happen to compare both gold plated and pure gold side by side, you can easily tell the difference. However, not everyone is equipped to determine the difference so it’s important to tackle other tests.
Acid test — A jewelry exposed to an acid test will induce a color change. The resulting color of this test will help you determine the type of gold you have. If the metal turns bright green, it means it is gold plated jewelry. Acid testing is said to be the best reliable method when determining the type of your piece.
Magnetism — A pure gold is not magnetic. Unfortunately, this method is not foolproof because some solid gold jewelry is made from alloys that will respond to a magnetic pull. The lesson here is that magnetism is useful only in conjunction with other reliable tests.
What is the Difference Between Gold Plated and Gold Filled?
When purchasing a piece of jewelry, gold plated is the least expensive type of gold jewelry that has equally beautiful designs made out of stronger metals. The trendy jewelry designs in the market today are mostly gold plated. Their function is usually meant for fashion and not intended to be used for long periods.
On the other hand, gold filled jewelry is composed of gold layers that had been pressure-bonded with another metal. It portrays the same desirable properties of solid gold but is sold more economically. Unlike gold plated, gold filled does not tarnish, will not turn colors over time, and can be worn for several years if taken cared of. This may be suitable for wearers who have sensitive skin as the gold filled pieces are not prone to an allergic reaction.
Now you might ask, is gold plated real gold? Sadly, no, it isn’t. Gold plated chains are not solid gold much as gold filled is not. The pure gold is 24-karat and is often soft and easily scratch. Because of this, some solid gold jewelry is combined with other metals or alloys to create what we have now as 18-karat, 14karat, or 10-karat gold. On that note, 18k gold plated jewelry is different. Its base metal is usually copper or silver applied with a layer of 18K gold by electroplating. In the jewelry business, an 18k gold plated is similarly forging that of pure gold, which still proves to be competitive in today’s jewelry market.
Can I Shower with Gold Plated Jewelry?
Well, you may but we would not recommend it.
We know how some people are intimate with their jewelry that sometimes we forget, or just don’t mind, wearing them off when taking a shower. However, we have to remember that these pieces are delicate, especially gold plated necklaces, bracelets, and earrings. Gold plated chains need to be treated with care to further their longevity. This includes keeping it out of water. Showering with this piece on will drastically shorten its wearable life. Not to mention the chemicals of your soap and shampoo washing the gold layer off. Remember: the longer it is kept on water, the more will the outer layer wear off.
Finally, yes, gold plated pieces have their downside. People would submissively surmise that because it is gold plated, it would easily tarnish. However, you can keep them longer if you know how to clean and handle them with care. How you pay close attention is the contributing factor of its longevity. Furthermore, you will love how favorably inexpensive they are for their function and worth. Don’t hesitate to add these gorgeous pieces to your collections. They promote individuality without having to break the bank.
FAQ about Gold Plated:
A gold plated jewelry is not genuine gold. It is plated but is certainly is not fake. It’s not claiming to be gold itself. The word “plated” is an indication that the item is not an imitation. Instead, plating, by definition, is the use of less gold or other metals to create a design for a fraction of the price. White gold is a good case in point for a plated jewelry. By using palladium plating, you get its silver color.
Yes, you can. Gold plated jewelry can handle the abuse of being worn daily. However, this might mean cleaning them more often than not. Using them every day means they are greatly exposed to environmental factors such as humidity, heat, sweat, and more.
It is both a yes and no. It depends upon the item that you have. It is a yes if the base metal of your jewelry is made of expensive metals such as silver. And no, your gold plated item is not pawnable if is made of stainless steel or other metal alloys like brass and zinc. Pawnshops will often refuse these metals.