Do you want solid gold jewelry but cannot afford it? Are you interested in buying a piece of gold-plated jewelry or already have one but don’t know how to properly care for it? Do you want to know how long your gold-plated jewelry will last?
Then this article is just for you. Read below to learn about gold plating and gold-plated jewelry.
How Long Does Gold Plating Last?
Gold plating is the process of coating a base metal (usually brass, copper, or stainless steel) with a thin layer of gold. This process is used in jewelry making as people who cannot afford solid gold jewelry opt for a gold-plated one.
Gold is used to coat jewelry due to its unique properties. It is hypoallergenic. This means it’s unlikely for it to cause an allergic reaction. Additionally, it doesn’t rust or corrode making it very suitable for coating other metals to make jewelry.
If properly taken care of, gold-plated jewelry can last more than two years. Although, it would require you to take active steps to make sure it lasts. The thickness of the gold layer is one of the major factors that determine how long it will last.
How to Care for Your Gold-Plated Jewelry
1. Always Clean After Use
You should always clean your gold-plated jewelry after using it. You can dampen a small cotton ball with a few drops of soap and little water, then use it to clean the jewelry after use. This would help to remove sweat or oil that has come in contact with the jewelry.
Use this method especially when the jewelry has a precious stone embedded in it, so as not to make the glue joining it becomes loose.
2. Don’t Expose to Moisture
Always remove your accessories before entering the pool or any body of water. Because the chlorine used to clean pools interacts with the base metal used to make the accessory, making the gold plating starts flaking and eventually falls off.
In addition, make sure you remove them before vigorous workouts or any activity that can make you sweat. This would prevent your accessory from coming in contact with salt.
3. Accessorize When You’re Done Dressing
Only wear the jewelry after you’re done dressing. Makeup products, hairsprays, body oils and lotions, and even perfumes should be applied and allowed to dry up before wearing your gold-plated jewelry.
Doing this prevents the jewelry from coming in contact with wet chemicals that can make it fade or tarnish.
4. Use Microfiber to Clean
If your jewelry has come in contact with oils or chemicals, you can use a microfiber material to clean it. This would help reduce the oil without scratching the jewelry.
You can also use a microfiber material to dry your jewelry after washing. Microfiber materials are the best type of material to use to handle your accessories.
5. Store in Plastic Bags
Ensure you safely keep the jewelry in a plastic bag, and if you have more than one, make sure you keep them in separate plastic bags. Storing in separate plastic bags will prevent them from scratching each other and retain the beauty of the jewelry.
6. Remove Them Before Strenuous Activities
Always remove your necklace, bracelet, earring, and rings before carrying heavy objects or engaging in strenuous activities. This would prevent them from rubbing against hard objects and interacting with sweat.
Why Does Gold-Plated Jewelry Tarnish?
Water that contains chlorine or salt harms your jewelry in a long run. Swimming in pools that have been purified with chlorine or in salt-water lakes without taking off your jewelry will eventually make it tarnish.
This happens because the chlorine or salt reacts with the base metal used to make the jewelry causing it to fade.
2. The coating can wear off
The amount of gold most manufacturers or jewelers use for the coating is very thin and sometimes of low quality. Moreover, gold is known to be a soft metal, and this makes it easy for the jewelry to be scratched and tarnished over time.
Wearing jewelry during extreme workouts or vigorous activities makes it come in contact with sweat and it can make the gold layer gradually come off. By allowing it to interact with sweat, you’re not only exposing it to water but also salt.
4. Contact with hard objects
Wearing your gold-plated rings or bracelets while carrying hard objects causes both the jewelry and the object to rub against each other. This can lead to the gold coating on the jewelry to flake and ultimately tarnish.
Why Do People Use Gold-Plated Jewelry?
1. It is affordable
People choose to buy gold-plated pieces of jewelry because it is more affordable. Pieces of jewelry made purely from gold are quite expensive while gold-plated ones are less expensive.
2. It is easier to buy
Gold-plated jewelry is easier to find and buy than original gold jewelry. You can easily walk into a jewelry store to buy gold-plated jewelry without having to worry about buying fake. Gold-plated jewelry is readily avail
3. It looks just like solid gold
Gold-plated jewelry is preferred by people because they are mostly designed to mimic solid gold jewelry for lesser value and cost.
Difference Between Solid Gold and Gold-Plated Jewelry
Gold plated jewelry can withstand constant use due to the base metal used to make the accessory, while sold gold jewelry can not. This is due to the malleability of gold. Gold is a very soft metal and can easily break.
If you can afford to buy a piece of solid gold jewelry, do not use it for your everyday activity so it won’t damage easily. Always remember, the higher the karat the easier it is for the jewelry to break.
In addition, gold-plated jewelry attracts magnets while solid gold does not. You can know the difference between both of them by placing your jewelry close to a magnet and checking it attracts.
Gold is a metal that does not attract magnets but the base metal used to make gold-plated jewelry will attract magnets. This test would not work only if the base metal is non-magnetic.
If you’re sensitive enough you can know the difference just by looking at the color. Gold-plated accessories are usually very dull and sometimes have uneven colors due to flaking or scratching.
Besides, some jewelers try to use high karat gold to coat metals used to make jewelry so it looks more appealing to buyers. These pieces of jewelry are usually sold for lesser prices, and you can tell it’s gold-plated. Always ask for an acid test when you’re not sure.
Moreover, an acid test is the most reliable way to determine the properties and purity of solid gold jewelry. It can also detect if the jewelry is gold-plated or not and the type of metal present in it.
This test is best done by professionals and can be used to determine the karat of gold used to coat a piece of gold-plated jewelry.
How can you identify solid gold jewelry from gold-plated jewelry?
Gold-plated jewelry is always affordable, whereas gold pieces of jewelry are expensive. The gold-plated ones usually have stamps like GP or GEP, while the original ones do not.
In addition, you can check if it’s flaking or tarnishing. Solid gold jewelry doesn’t flake and has a bright shiny color.
Is gold-plated jewelry hypoallergenic?
It depends. Gold-plated accessories are not hypoallergenic for people who have metal allergies. Metals like nickel and brass are used for gold plating and some people have allergies to these metals, which makes them react to when they come in contact with it even though they’re not allergic to gold.
Is gold-plated jewelry valuable?
No, it isn’t. Gold-plated jewelry is not valuable because it is usually coated with a thin layer of Gold. And the gold used is not always of high quality and is not reusable. Therefore, it doesn’t really have value.
Is solid gold the same as pure gold?
No, it isn’t. Because pure gold is soft and can easily break, other materials are added to it when making jewelry to make it strong and durable. Compounds like silver, copper, and even zinc are added to gold to make it stronger and useable for jewelry. When combined they are called a gold alloy.
Although gold-plated jewelry is affordable and easy to buy, they tarnish over time. You can use them to accessorize without having to worry about looking cheap because they look just like solid gold jewelry.
Always keep in mind that the key to making gold-plated accessories last long is how you care for them. If you become careless with your jewelry, it will tarnish faster than it should.
However, if you care for it as you should, you will enjoy it. Nonetheless, you can re-plate them when they start to wear off to maintain their beauty and durability.
Thanks for reading.
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