If a few years ago, offering a gold-plated bracelet, baby medal or gold-plated birth plate was a sign of a small budget with this choice of a common metal, today gold-plated jewellery shows, displays and scrolls on the red carpets on the arms and necks of the most beautiful celebrities.
What exactly is gold-plated?
Technically, everyone knows that gold plating is a very successful reproduction of real gold, which makes it possible to make equally beautiful and inexpensive jewellery. Gold plating is suitable for men and women of all ages.
In the first place, what was known as “gold plating” was a technique used in art goldsmithing and cabinet making, for furniture and watches.
Then this technique spread to the jewellery industry, giving access to affordable jewellery that was offered for communion, baptism, as not everyone had the budget to offer solid gold jewellery.
There would also be the gold filled used by English jewellers, another goldsmithing technique applied notably on copper.
In recent years, gold-plated jewellery has become a fashion accessory. These jewels, equipped with a state-of-the-art plating technique, allow the reproduction of the most beautiful jewellery, and of haute couture jewellery which until now has often been unaffordable.
And given its appearance, effect and manufacturing cost, it is not uncommon to see it on very elaborate and even voluminous, sophisticated jewellery.
With gold-plated jewellery everyone can enjoy themselves at low prices and change with the latest fashions and trends.
But what is it really?
The secrets of gold-plated manufacture
Rings, earrings, necklaces and other gold-plated jewellery sets are basically made of a metal such as copper, nickel or zinc. Some craftsmen opt for a silver base instead.
But it is the final step that makes all the difference: the deposition of a beautiful layer (usually 3 microns) of gold by electrolysis. 1 micron is worth 1/1,000 millimetre and corresponds to a layer of gold. This process is called electroplating.
The European standard is 3 microns, sometimes a layer with a higher density of 5 microns is used, giving it an incomparable hold and beauty, especially when it is a ring set with stones, for example.
Differences between gold-plated and gold.
A plating carried out according to the rules of the art easily leads to confusion. If you see, for example, Creole earrings from a distance, it will be difficult to tell whether they are made of real gold or not.
How to recognise gold-plated gold?
The hallmark is the first reliable indicator. It is a tiny mark that is similar to numbers or symbols indicating the number of carats for the precious metal.
The hallmark of gold plating is square and often bears the initials of the manufacturer and sometimes the number 18, or 14, or 10, 20, which correspond to the carats of gold used.
The hardness of the material, hardness of gold compared to gold-plated gold
Another tactic often used: Bite the jewel. It sounds extravagant but the teeth leave a trace on the real gold which is often softer.
Gently biting a gold medal leaves a trace, if you do the same with gold plating, there will be no trace, the alloy and plating make it a rather harder and heavier material.
Loss of radiance over time and contact with the acidity of certain skins
Gold-plated jewellery can lose some of its lustre over time, mainly on areas in contact with the skin due to the acidity of the skin. But none of this can be seen at first glance anyway. And caring for the jewellery avoids all these inconveniences.
But the best way to be sure of this is to pay a visit to your jeweller.
Why choose gold-plated?
Having fun without breaking your budget is already an excellent motivation.
Let’s not forget that plated jewellery sets contain gold, even if in small quantities.
What’s more, the result is impressive. The fact that gold-plated jewellery does not retain its eternal lustre is also advantageous. This makes it possible to change rings and other jewels as you wish. Remember that gold-plated jewellery is generally twelve times cheaper than real gold. And they do not require regular maintenance at the jeweller’s.