Gold jewelry has an appeal that is hard to resist. It gives any outfit the charm and attraction nothing else can. But solid gold can often be costly, so people started looking for alternatives and came across a process called gold plating. But does gold-plated mean fake?
That and more questions will be answered in this blog. Let’s get to it!
Does Gold Plated Mean Fake?
No, gold-plated does not mean fake. Gold-plated jewelry uses the same gold for its golden layer as solid gold jewelry. The only difference is that solid gold is made entirely of gold and alloys, while gold-plated jewelry has a metal base that is covered in gold.
However, that’s not the only difference we’ll discuss today. While gold plated jewelry is real gold, there is still a difference between various types of gold plating.
For one, and maybe this is the most critical difference to pay attention to, some gold-plated jewelry is made with 0.5 microns of gold, while at Agapé, we use 3 microns of gold.
The micron is the size of the layer above the metal base. The thicker it is, the more resistant to scratches, tarnishing, and fading. If it’s only 0.5 to 1.5 microns, it won’t be as durable.
That being said, this is why people get the false notion of gold-plated being fake. It isn’t, but if the gold plating is too thin, it will tarnish and fade quickly, giving the impression of bijouterie and fake gold.
To understand this question a bit better, let’s dive into the noble process of gold plating.
Also Read: Does Gold-Plated Fade In Time?
What is Gold-Plated Jewelry?
Gold plating is a process where a thin layer of gold is applied to a base metal.
There are various base metals, but the best jewelry is nickel and lead-free, so it doesn’t oxidize fast and does not cause any allergies.
At Agapé, we use a galvanized brass base that guarantees no rusting, and as such, it is hypoallergenic. Gold is the least oxidative metal, so when we apply our thick layer of 3 microns, it seals the brass base and protects it from the elements.
Also Read: How Long Will Gold-Plated Jewelry Last?
How is Gold Plating Done?
In our creation process, gold-plating is a technique that requires several steps. After we are done with the 3D modeling of each piece, we cast its brass base. The base is then thoroughly cleaned and scraped of all pollutants.
If you want to create a gold plating that sticks well to the base, the cleaning process is of utmost importance. Any dirt and oil on the base might keep the gold from bonding, and so it will fade sooner than it’s supposed to. We use ultrasonic cleaning to clean the base metal to produce the best results.
The clean base is then galvanized to prevent rusting and protect the gold layer from being impacted by the base metal. Otherwise, the metal might leech into the gold layer or even contaminate the gold liquid in the containers used for the plating process.
Finally, the jewelry is ready to receive its gracious treatment in gold. At this point, we apply a positive electrical charge that helps fuse the gold onto the base metal.
Once we’ve reached 3 microns of thickness, the jewelry is left to dry.
What Other Metals Can Be Gold-Plated?
Gold-plated jewelry can be made of nickel, brass, stainless steel, silver, and copper. And even modern metals such as titanium are also frequently gold plated. However, as we mentioned earlier, nickel and copper, as the most reactive metals, should be largely avoided as they are allergy-inducing as well.
We use galvanized brass that gives the gold its solidity while being hypoallergenic at the same time.
Is Gold-Plated Real Gold?
Real gold is used for the gold plating of jewelry. So, yes, gold plating is absolute gold. However, if you want to melt your pieces and get some gold value from them, it won’t do because such jewelry doesn’t hold the value of gold.
The purity of the gold used in gold plated jewelry is the same as in solid gold jewelry. It ranges from 10K, and the highest is 24K gold.
When it comes to gold plating, the most notable difference is what thickness is used for the layer of gold. Anything above 2.5 microns and Agape’s 3 microns of gold are known as heavy gold plated. The main benefit is that the plating lasts longer when it’s thicker.
Also Read: Do Gold-Plated Earrings Tarnish?
Does Gold Plating Fade and Tarnish?
Indeed, without the proper care and maintenance, gold-plated jewelry can tarnish or even fade away. The initial luster and shine can be lost. However, this depends on the thickness of the golden layer and how you take care of it.
Just as a reminder, these metals, including gold in solid-gold jewelry, are reactive to chemicals. So even solid gold can turn black or lose its shine if you apply perfume to it or certain chemicals from makeup, chlorine from pool water, or salt water.
These are all things to protect your gold-plated jewelry and prolong its lifespan.
How Long Does Gold Plating Last?
Gold plating is made to be permanent thanks to the extensive processes of creation it goes through. However, just like all types of plating, it needs to be protected from rough handling and exposure to elements and chemicals.
Your Agapé jewelry, with regular wear and tear, can last up to 6 years. We even offer a 2-year warranty with our products. That is double the amount of warranted time other brands in the industry offer. That is how confident we are in our gold plating.
Also Read: Are Gold-Plated Earrings Good?
Does Gold-Plated Mean Fake? Final Word
We hope we were able to answer your question, “Does gold-plated mean fake?” and help you understand the difference between solid gold and gold plating and the different types of gold-plated jewelry.
Everywhere in the world, for centuries now, wearing gold jewelry has been a sign of success and wealth, and gleaming gold jewelry remains highly popular. Gold-plating is a fantastic alternative because it looks like real gold but doesn’t cost a fortune.You can read our other blogs to find out how to properly care for your gold-plated jewelry and extend its lifespan as much as possible.