Gold plating is a technique where jewellery makers cover another base metal, such as copper or silver, with a thin layer of gold to achieve a look very similar to solid gold at a fraction of the price?
Great, right? Not exactly..
Because the standard of gold jewellery isn’t regulated, there are no specific requirements that manufacturers need to adhere to. Which means many brands will do the bare minimum by using cheap base metals with only the thinnest layer of low carat gold over the top. The thinner the layer, the shorter the lifespan of the piece.
Is Gold Plated Jewellery Cheap?
Gold plated jewellery can be more affordable than solid precious metals but there is a different price to pay. The cheaper the piece, the more likely it is that a low-quality base metal, such as nickel or copper, has been coated. It also means the layer of gold plating is likely to be very thin so it won’t be long before it wears away exposing the base metal underneath. Not only is this unsightly, but it can be problematic for those with sensitive skin.
Luckily, there is a cost effective alternative.
Stainless steel jewellery is a much more affordable yet durable alternative to solid gold and with modern PVD coating techniques, such as those used on our extensive range of gold stud earrings, you can still have that on-trend gold look.
Is Gold Plated Jewellery Durable?
Gold plated jewellery is not as durable as the thin layer of coating is susceptible to knocks and scratches. Plus, it might not be long before it distorts out of shape depending on what base metal has been used. In fact, in just a few short months, a gold-plated piece of jewellery can show signs of wear and tear or lose its original shine needing to be replaced.
Does Gold Plated Jewellery Tarnish?
Yes. One of the biggest disadvantages of gold plated jewellery is that it can become dull or even rusty over time. That’s because plated jewellery is more susceptible to tarnishing than say stainless steel or titanium jewellery. This tarnishing happens when either the gold alloy layer itself or the base metal underneath reacts with the oxygen in the air, causing it to turn an ugly black or even a green colour.
PVD coated stainless steel jewellery, however, is extremely tough and will not tarnish overtime so if you’re thinking of treating yourself to one of best-selling gold chains – like our gold box chain or beaded gold choker – you can be confident that it will stay looking it’s best for years to come.
Is Gold Plated Jewellery Water Resistant?
Again, no. Gold plated jewellery is not water-resistant. If you wear gold plated jewellery whilst showering or swimming, the water can damage and discolour the gold layer until it eventually wears off and exposes the metal underneath. This is further exacerbated by chlorinated water or salt water; even your sweat. So you should avoid wearing a gold plated necklace or other gold plated jewellery in things like steam rooms, saunas or when you go to the gym.
Stainless steel jewellery, however, is completely sweat and water resistant meaning you can wear it all day, every day without having to worry. In fact our gold rope chain necklace is the perfect complement to your gym look!
Does Gold Plated Jewellery Turn Your Skin Green?
Your skin turns green when the metal in jewellery reacts to oils in your skin. The main culprit is usually copper which is often used as the base metal for gold-plated jewellery. Once the layer of gold wears away, the skin comes into contact with the copper below and that dreaded green colour appears. Lower carat gold plating can even have copper lurking in the gold alloy itself which can cause the green discolouration as soon as you wear it. Luckily, you’ll never have to worry about one of our PVD coated gold rings turning your finger green as stainless steel does not react to skin in this way.
Is Gold Plated Jewellery Bad For The Environment?
Sadly, the effects of gold plated jewellery go far beyond our skin as it’s also bad for the environment. Not only are harmful chemicals, such as cyanide, typically used in the plating process but the disposable nature of the jewellery means it’s often not long before it ends up as landfill releasing harmful toxins. This is why people are choosing more sustainable options like stainless steel, which is 100% recyclable and lasts a lifetime, instead.
Is Gold Plated Jewellery Hypoallergenic?
No. Gold plated Jewellery is not hypoallergenic. As already discussed, if the jewellery has only been plated with a thin layer of gold, it won’t be long until that wears away and your skin comes into contact with the base metal underneath. In all gold plated jewellery, including gold plated earrings, this base metal can be made of anything including alloys containing nickel. This can cause bad allergic reactions for those with sensitive ears.
But even a thick layer of gold plating can still cause issues for those of us with sensitive skin. If the gold used in the plating itself is of low quality, it can contain problematic metal alloys that cause allergic reactions. So gold plated jewellery really isn’t your friend if you have sensitive skin. 316L grade stainless steel, on the other hand, is one of the most hypoallergenic metals on the market and is the same grade used for medical implants.
Is Gold PVD Coated Jewellery Better Than Gold Plated Jewellery?
Unlike gold plating which simply applies a thin layer of gold to another metal, Physical Vapor Deposition, or PVD, is a vacuum coating process with a brilliant finish. It uses titanium nitride to vaporise the solid gold material in a vacuum chamber before forming an extremely durable coating onto jewellery.
Stainless steel pieces go through this PVD coating process for a hypoallergic gold finish that’s 10x thicker than gold plating meaning it won’t fade or tarnish. PVD coatings are also water resistant and sweat resistant so your jewellery will stay looking fantastic however much you wear it.
Where Can You Buy Gold PVD Coated Jewellery?
The vast majority of Solace’s full range of hypoallergenic jewellery is available as silver or gold PVD (Physical Vapour Deposition) options. Meaning you can choose which is right for your look.
So whether you’re after a showstopping gold pendant necklace and matching gold bracelet, or a pair of stylish gold huggie hoops, Solace has got you covered.
We have a 100% happiness guarantee, in the unlikely event you have a reaction, or simply don't like the earrings after trying on you can send back for a refund.