What is Gold Plating And Understanding Gold Purity

Gold plating is a process where a thin layer of gold is bonded onto a base metal. Plating is quite common in the jewelry world, with gold and rhodium being two popular types. This process was invented by an Italian chemist, Luigi Brugnatelli in 1805, the first person to plate a thin coat of gold onto silver. 

Gold-Plated Jewelry Findings vs Real Karat Gold Plating

1K Gold = 4.166% Pure Gold
“K stands for karat and refers to the percentage of gold in an alloy”
Our 18K gold plated jewelry findings are not made of solid 18 karat gold only, the base metal is usually brass or zinc alloy or sterling silver or stainless steel. 18k gold plated jewelry findings are made by electrochemical plating or chemicals to deposit a very thin layer of 18k gold over the base metal, the gold layer as thin as about 0.01~0.03μm. There is real gold on the jewelry findings, even if it’s just a thin layer of it.
The production principle of Real Platinum Plated and Real Rose Gold Plated jewelry findings are the same as 18K gold plated, they are also made by electrochemical plating or chemicals to deposit a very thin layer of 18k gold over the base metal. The only difference is the color of 18K gold, the factory will combine 25% of precious metals according to the needs of the product and determine the color of 18k gold according to the different contents of precious metals in the 25%. Rose Gold is made up 75% Gold+25% Copper+Silver+Zinc, Platinum (White Gold) is made up 75% Gold+25% Silver+Nickel+Zinc (Nickel does not exceed 0.3%).

Is gold plated real gold?

Yes, gold plating is real gold but because of how little gold is used, such jewelry doesn’t hold the value of gold.
The purity of the gold used in gold plating ranges just like solid gold. The lowest purity is usually 10K and the highest is 24K gold. When it comes to gold plating, the main difference in these types of gold is the color it produces rather than in the value. The higher the purity of the gold, the more gold-like the color is. However, the value doesn’t change much because of how little gold is used, regardless of the purity levels.

Does gold plating fade and tarnish?

Gold plating can fade and tarnish over time, losing its initial luster and brightness. This is common and can happen regardless of the quality of the piece. However, many people wonder why gold-plated jewelry tarnishes. After all, isn’t gold an inert metal that doesn’t rust or corrode?

The problem is often not with the plating itself but with the base metal which is prone to corroding and oxidizing. Over time, the molecules of the base metal eventually move into the gold layer, affecting its appearance. If the gold plating is very thin, it will discolor and start to look like tarnish quickly.

How long does gold plating last?

Gold plating is meant to be permanent, but like all types of plating, it doesn’t handle rough exposure well. Gold plating wears out over time and can flake off, exposing the base metal underneath. It also loses its luster and fades with time. In general, plating can last for up to two years with proper care.

The best way to deal with tarnished pieces is to have the piece re-plated when required. How often you need to do this depends on the thickness of the plating, the quality of the piece, the color of the base metal and how much wear and tear the piece sustains.

How do I look after and restore gold plated jewelry?

By taking proper care of gold-plated jewelry, you can extend its life and keep it bright and beautiful. Here are some steps to take:

  • Keep gold plated jewelry away from chemicals, oils and makeup. It’s a good idea to always put on your plated jewelry last, after applying makeup, hairspray and perfumes. When doing chores, take off gold plated jewelry as the chemicals in soaps, detergents and cleaners can impact the plating.
  • It’s a good idea to keep your hands clean when handling gold plated jewelry so try to wash them before putting on and taking off your jewelry.
  • Don’t expose gold plated jewelry to chlorinated or salty water. This means taking off the jewelry before swimming in pools, hot tubs or the sea.
  • Body oils and sweat can impact gold plating. To counter this, wipe the jewelry down or clean it frequently to get rid of these pollutants.
  • Cleaning your gold-plated jewelry regularly is important to prolong its life. Use a mild liquid soap or a professional jewelry cleaning solution and warm water when doing this. Avoid any harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners. Avoid brushing or rubbing the plated jewelry, as this can make it flake, exposing the metal below.
  • Keep gold plated jewelry from rubbing and friction as this will cause the piece to wear down quickly and to flake off. This can happen when you layer gold plated jewelry and they rub against each other. It’s best to wear the piece of jewelry by itself.

Real 18K Gold Plated VS Gold Plated

We have two kinds of gold-plated jewelry findings, which includes real gold plated (Real 12K Gold Plated, Real 14K God Plated, Real 18K Gold Plated, Real 24K Gold Plated) and other gold plated findings. Below is a brief comparison of Real 18K Gold Plated and other Gold-Plated findings.

 

Plating Durability Usually 6-12 Months  Usually 3-6 Months
Karat Gold Layer About 0.01-0.03μ Without Real Gold
Gold Layer Material 18 Karat Gold Other Gold Plating
Maintenance Avoid contact with water and sweat Avoid contact with water and sweat