Jewelry innovation has come a long way, and these days there is more than one way to buy gold in its various forms. Today we provide you with all the information on the various types of gold–plated, filled, and solid–that you need to make an informed decision when purchasing your next piece.
- Process: Gold plating (aka electroplating) is an electrochemical process that uses an electric current to negatively charge a non-precious base metal, like brass or stainless steel, then dips into a positively charged gold bath to deposit a thin layer of gold on top, naturally attracting the two like a magnet.
- Gold Content: Around 0.05% actual gold
- Longevity: Because the electroplating process is not the strongest technique to stick gold to other metals, plated pieces can tarnish and have a far shorter lifespan that requires more care for longevity–stay tuned for care tips next week!
- Skin Care: Those with metal allergies should keep in mind that gold plating is not the best choice--plated jewelry should always be the last thing to put on, and the first thing to take off!
- Affordability: Very affordable! Plated jewelry is typically sold by the piece, not by weight.
- Process: Using an extreme amount of heat and pressure, the gold filled process mechanically fuses then bonds a layer of solid gold to a non-precious base metal, such as copper or stainless steel–unlike plating, this process does not just create a layer that sits atop the base, rather it bonds the two, making it incredibly durable.
- Gold Content: Must have at least 5% actual gold
- Longevity: As the name suggests, gold filled is filled with real gold so it can last much longer and be worn much more frequently than gold plated–the right attention can avoid tarnishing and damage for a long time.
- Skin Care: Generally safe for sensitive skin and will not tarnish even when worn while sleeping or showering.
- Affordability: The technique ensures a much more durable product with a higher content of gold than plated--more expensive than plated but much more affordable than solid gold.
Process: Despite its name, solid gold pieces are often made by alloying, which is melting and mixing with another precious metal like silver or platinum to make it sturdy enough for long-term wear.
Gold Content: Caratage is the measurement of gold purity and denotes the “k” in the indication. 10k gold, roughly 42% actual gold, is the legal minimum in the United States to be classified as real gold, but the two most commonly used carats are 14k, roughly 60%, and 18k which is 75%.
Longevity: Different carats of gold denote different applications–higher carats are softer gold, which is not ideal for pieces meant to last forever, like a wedding ring. 24k is pure gold with no other metals, but is too soft for engravings and daily durability, so 14k and 18k are used most commonly and can last many lifetimes when treated with proper care.
Skin Care: Safe for all kinds of wear and is ideal for piercings–will not tarnish even when tested against the elements but should be treated with care to ensure lifetime longevity.
- Affordability: Most expensive option and varies in price depending on its caratage
Stay tuned next week for gold care tips!