Is Gold Plated Jewelry the Right Choice for You? Everything You Need to Know

Is Gold Plated Jewelry the Right Choice for You? Everything You Need to Know


Is gold plated jewelry the right choice for you? Below, we'll explore everything you need to know about gold-plated jewelry, from how it's made to how to care for it.

Is Gold Plated Jewelry the Right Choice for You? Everything You Need to Know
gold plated jewelry
gold plated jewelry
Gold ded jewelry can be used as an affordable but stylish alternative to pure gold jewelry. The two are different in many ways, so it's important to know which is the right choice for you.

Below, we'll explore everything you need to know about gold-plated jewelry, from how it's made to how to care for it.

Demystifying Gold-Plating

Gold plating is a specific type of electroplating that uses electricity to bond a thin layer of gold to the outer surface of another metal. This process makes the piece appear more like a solid piece of gold and is often used to produce inexpensive costume jewelry.

How Is Gilding Done?

The gold plating process requires the starting piece to be very clean and polished. Platers typically clean base metal pieces using an acid bath or ultrasonic bath. The piece is then buffed with a high-speed abrasive wheel and deep-cleaned with steam or ultrasonic.

Once they've prepared the jewelry's surface, electroplaters apply a thin layer of nickel to the base metal. This layer, called the "shock coat" or "glitter coat," protects the pot from contamination from the base metal. It also increases the life of the part by preventing the underlying metal from leaking through the gold layer.

During this process, an optional base layer can be applied. Finally, the workpiece is placed in a solution of positively charged gold ions. The negative charge of the jewelry attracts the positively charged nugget, which coats the jewelry with a thin layer of gold.

Is Gold Plated Jewelry Considered Real Gold?

The gold plating on gold-plated jewelry is of course considered real gold. Almost all gold jewelry is an alloy -- a combination of gold and some other metal -- so jewelry is rarely "pure gold." However, unlike jewelry made entirely of gold alloys, gold-plated jewelry must be marked "gold-plated" on the jewelry itself or on its packaging to indicate that it is not solid gold jewelry.

Will Gold-Plated Metal Fade or Lose Its Luster?

Yes, gold-plated metal will fade and tarnish faster than metal made entirely of gold alloys. Gold itself is a very soft metal and tends to wear out easily unless combined with a more durable metal. The gold itself does not tarnish, but over time this layer wears away, revealing the base metal underneath, which can tarnish.

Gold Plating Thickness: How to Measure?

Gold plating is measured in microns, equivalent to a millionth of a meter, or microinches, equivalent to one-millionth of an inch. A gold layer must be at least 20 micro inches (0.50 microns) thick to be sold as "gold plating" or "gold plating". A piece with less than 7 microinches (0.175 microns) of gold is not "gold" at all. 

On the other hand, if the jewelry is plated with a layer of gold that is 100 micro inches (2.5 microns) thick or thicker, it can be sold as "heavy gold plating" or "heavy gold plating." These pieces may bear a stamp that says "HBP" or "HEP". If the base metal of the piece is sterling silver, it is called "gilded"

Important Things to Know About Gold-Plated Jewelry

Inexpensive costume jewelry is usually made using some type of gold plating. Gilding made more valuable pieces available to those who might not have the budget for pure gold. Here's everything you need to know to decide if gold-plated jewelry is right for you.

How Much Is Gold-Plated Jewelry Worth?

It is almost always cheaper to initially purchase gold-plated jewelry than solid gold jewelry. However, it also typically doesn't hold its value, so if you try to sell it again in the future, you're unlikely to get back much of your investment.

How to Tell If Jewelry Is Gold Plated?

In general, you can tell if a piece is gold-plated without any special chemicals or testing equipment. First, the piece may be cheap compared to similar solid gold pieces. You may also notice a logo such as "GP," "HGP," "GEP," or "HGE." The logo can also tell you more about the gold layer - whether it consists of 14k gold, 18k gold, etc.

Not all gold-plated jewelry requires marking, so you must also visually inspect the jewelry. Uneven color, peeling metal, discoloration, or an unusual yellow luminance usually indicates that the jewelry is plated and not solid gold.

Is Gold Plated Jewelry Hypoallergenic?

Most gold-plated jewelry contains at least one base layer of nickel, covered only by a thin layer of gold that wears away over time, exposing the skin to the nickel layer. Even white gold can be plated with nickel and rhodium to make it appear whiter. Therefore, only gold-plated jewelry made entirely of hypoallergenic alloys can be considered hypoallergenic. It is important to be aware of this if you are sensitive to any metals.

Benefits of Gold Plating Brass

Brass gilding is the process of covering the surface of brass items with a layer of metal. This process can make brass items brighter and more beautiful, and it can also effectively prevent oxidation and prolong the service life of items. The process of gold-plating brass involves multiple steps, starting with the brass item being cleaned, sanded, and polished. Next, the item is soaked in a special electrolyte and a metal electrode is attached in the process, causing metal ions to deposit on the brass surface. Finally, the brass items are polished and sanded each time for a smoother, more beautiful finish. The benefits of gold plating on brass include increased decorativeness, resistance to oxidation, ease of cleaning, and added value.

The gold plating on brass can add decorative features to brass items, prevent oxidation, make cleaning easier, and increase their value. The gold-plated brass finish is brighter and more aesthetically pleasing, making items more visually appealing and upscale. At the same time, the metal layer formed during the gold plating process can effectively prevent oxidation and prolong the service life of the item. Items with gold plating on brass are usually more expensive than plain brass items as they look more ornate and upscale, thus increasing their value.

How Long Does Gold-Plated Jewelry Last?

Every gold-plated piece is unique and there are many factors that affect its longevity. But there are steps you can take to maximize the life of any jewelry, regardless of its composition.

While you can improve the look of tarnished gold-plated jewelry, the only true fix is re-plating. An experienced jeweler may be able to do this for you, but make sure they know how to restore the underlying base metal. Remember - gold won't tarnish, but the underlying metal can.

Gentle use and regular care will extend the life of your jewelry. Following the maintenance tips below will help you get the most out of your creations.

Tips for Caring for and Restoring Gold-Plated Jewelry

To maximize the life of your gold-plated jewelry, take care of it carefully. The following tips will help you get the most value from your work:

Wash your hands before putting on and removing gold-plated jewelry to minimize exposure to skin oils.

Try to avoid friction on jewelry. Rubbing surfaces, other jewelry, or fabrics that come into contact with your jewelry can cause the gold layer to flake off and wear down faster.

Keep cosmetics, oils, and chemicals away from gold-plated pieces.

Clean your jewelry regularly with mild liquid soap or a professional jewelry cleaning solution.

Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners, as well as brushing or rubbing jewelry while cleaning.

Wipe your jewelry every time you take it off to remove body oil, sweat, and makeup.

Remove jewelry before swimming and store it safely away from chlorinated or salt water.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Gold-Plated Jewelry

Gold-plated jewelry is not necessarily better or worse than any other kind of jewelry. However, there are some obvious pros and cons that you need to consider before you decide to buy.


Gold-plated jewelry is much less expensive than solid gold jewelry.

From drugstores to professional jewelers, you can find gold-plated jewelry in more places than solid gold jewelry.

The lower cost makes it possible for jewelry lovers to buy more gold-plated jewelry, allowing them to explore and experiment with accessories.


Gold-plated jewelry has a much more limited resale value than solid gold jewelry.

Over time, the thin layer of gold covering the base metal wears away, exposing the underlying metal.

Base metals can tarnish, resulting in a degraded appearance of the workpiece.

Gold-plated jewelry is rarely hypoallergenic.

Should You Buy Gold-Plated Jewelry?

If you are a jewelry lover who wants to wear something different with every outfit, then gold-plated jewelry might be the perfect solution for the best value for money. It's important to choose jewelry that fits your budget as well as your style. As long as you take care of your creations, they will last and provide you with tons of fun.

As a professional custom fashion jewelry manufacturer, HD Jewelry specializes in producing and exporting fashion accessories. We have a large number of designs and stocks. Can meet a variety of different needs! Besides that, our jewelry is affordable and high quality. This gives us a good reputation in this market. Best of all we're off fashion! More than 500 latest designs are produced every month. If you want to buy gold-plated jewelry, please contact us.
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