Is Gold-Plated Jewelry Good?

ELVIRE Ring by Agape Studio


Whenever we see new faces on our site, getting to know our products, we inevitably get asked, 'Is gold-plated jewelry good?' Yes, gold-plated jewelry is good. More than good, we would say.

To address the common misconceptions regarding this type of jewelry, we decided to write a blog with everything you wanted to know about gold-plated jewelry.

Is Gold Plated Jewelry Good?

Gold-plated jewelry is a fantastic alternative to costly solid gold jewelry because it looks the same. There is no difference in the gold shine, yet it has an unbeatable price tag in comparison.

Also Read: Does Gold-Plated Jewelry Fade In Time?

How Do I Know if My Jewelry Is Gold-Plated?

Unless you are buying from a trusted producer like Agapé, you should always check for indications of gold plating through marks on your jewelry.

ZEPHIR Earring by Agape Studio

ZEPHIR Earrings

Your jeweler will always indicate whether the gold is plated, but here are the common signs to identify for yourself:

  • GP – gold plated
  • GEP – gold electroplated
  • HGE – heavy gold electroplate
  • HGP – heavy gold plate

Not all manufacturers are obliged to have these markings, so you may not even find them on some gold-plated jewelry as it's not the standard. However, with gold-plated jewelry, the price is the surest giveaway.

Gold-plated jewelry does use real gold, but because it is a 3 micron layer, it is more affordable, while solid gold pieces hardly ever go below $500.

Also Read: Do Gold-Plated Earrings Tarnish?

What Gold Is Used in Gold-Plated Jewelry?

Gold-plated jewelry is coated with either 22K or 24K gold. This is how we can create the bright golden look that holds that allure gold has on everyone.

When asking, "Is gold-plated jewelry good?" keep in mind that even most solid gold pieces have 18K or under, so they never get that bright golden color, so gold-plated jewelry has a higher purity of gold as the top layer.

Is Gold-Plated Jewelry Hypoallergenic?

ANATOLE Bracelet by Agape Studio

ANATOLE Bracelet

Not all gold-plated jewelry pieces are hypoallergenic. It depends on:

  • Who is making the jewelry
  • The thickness of the gold plating
  • The base metal under the gold layer

The industry standard, something you will see in most gold-plated jewelry, is a layer of 0.5 microns of gold. This is a very thin layer that will undoubtedly fade away and expose your skin to allergens once you start wearing your jewelry more regularly.

On the other hand, at Agapé, we use six times more than that or 3 microns of gold over our hypoallergenic metal base. This makes our jewelry more resistant to scratches and daily wear and tear.

Our jewelry is nickel and lead-free and has been galvanized before the gold plating process so that there is no risk of rusting or causing any allergies. However, you should still check if you are allergic to brass which is the metal base we use in case of any severe skin reactions.

Thanks to the thickness of the gold, your skin won't come in contact with it, but it is better to be safe than sorry.

Before you buy gold-plated jewelry online, check the metal alloys in the piece. Avoid metal allergens like copper, nickel, and lead if you have metal allergies.

Also Read: What Are Gold-Plated Earrings?

Why Does Gold-Plated Jewelry Fade?

ALBA Earring by Agape Studio

ALBA Earrings

Many ask, "Is gold-plated jewelry good?" because they have heard of the potential fading or tarnishing. It is true that can happen, but only if you don't take good care of your gold-plated jewelry.

Before we discuss tips to prevent tarnishing, let's tackle why it occurs in the first place. Gold plating is a thin layer of gold applied to the base metal. This gives the gold firmness and solidity, while the gold, as the least oxidative metal, gives the brass base resilience to the elements like water, humidity, salt, and other chemicals.

Gold-plated jewelry is optimal for stacking different pieces and wearing something different with every outfit. This way, by regularly changing your jewelry and not sticking to just one item, you will be able to get your gold-plated jewelry to last a lifetime. With proper maintenance, of course.

If you don't take good care of your gold-plated jewelry, as we'll discuss below, the base metal will eventually come to the surface, causing the metal and the gold to discolor. Being exposed to water and oxygen, the base metal in this process will break down the gold and tarnish its shine.

The issue arises when the base metal hasn't been galvanized correctly and, as such, is prone to rust and oxidizing. With daily wear, the molecules of the base metal will move into the gold. If the gold layer is of 3 microns, then it won't be affected and will look tarnished quickly. However, if it's thinner, like in more jewelry producers, it will get discolored and affect the shine.

Luckily, there are tips to prevent gold-plated jewelry from tarnishing, so it keeps its luxurious look.

Also Read: Are Gold-Plated Rings Worth It?

How to Keep Your Gold-Plated Jewelry Shiny Longer?

As mentioned above, this leeching can be avoided if the jewelry is first galvanized and passed through with an alkaline tube. This will keep the base metals from affecting the appearance of the gold. The gold is unlikely to tarnish or fade if this is done during the plating process.

  • Store your gold-plated jewelry away from chemicals, oils, and makeup. Some chemicals in your products can react to gold or base metals, so it's always good to put on your jewelry last after applying hairspray, perfumes, and makeup.
  • When you're at home, take off your gold-plated jewelry. Especially if you are cleaning or cooking. The chemicals in soaps, detergents, and cleaners can impact the plating. Also, certain foods like lemon, vinegar, pineapple, and similar acidic fruits can tarnish the gold.
  • Don't go in pools, hot tubs, or the sea with your gold-plated jewelry Exposing it to chlorinated or salty water may cause flaking of the gold in time.
  • Skin oils and sweat can also eat away the gold plating in time. To prevent this, after each time you wear your accessories, take them off and wipe them clean to get rid of the residue.
  • From time to time, our experts at Agapé would say every month, use a mild soap solution to deep-clean your jewelry. Doing this regularly is essential to prolong its life. Put some mild liquid soap or a professional jewelry cleaning solution in a bowl with lukewarm water and soak the jewelry for 10-15 minutes or until the dirt starts falling off.
  • Avoid harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners when wearing your gold-plated jewelry. These, over time, will cause the gold plating to flake, exposing the metal below.
  • Don't brush or rub the items but gently wipe them after you've soaked them in the soapy solution.
  • Rubbing can also happen when you store gold-plated jewelry in the same poach or box, and they rub against each other. It's best to store the piece of jewelry by itself.

Also Read: Are Gold-Plated Earrings Good?

Where Can I Buy Good Gold-Plated Jewelry?

At Agapé, we have collections of gold-plated jewelry made with love to be worn with love.

We create sustainable golden pieces that look wonderful on you while saving the environment. If you want to learn more about who we are and why we do it, click here.

So, is gold-plated jewelry good? Visit our store in Paris and see for yourself how good we are (wink)