What is Gold Plated Jewelry: Things You Need to Know

Do you want to start or boost your own jewelry business but don’t know where to start? Then how about launching gold-plated jewelry? Gold plated jewelry offers a budget-friendly selection to the masses compared with buying pure gold jewelry. More than that, it is available in a wide range of designs that can match the sophistication of authentic, pure gold. Read this blog to know more!

Sophisticated gold plated jewelry ring with tiny glass cut diamonds
Source: Pixabay

What is Gold Plated Jewelry

You’re fully aware of what gold jewelry is, but do you know what it means for a jewelry piece to be gold plated? Plating can make a significant difference in the jewelry tag price since you can buy plated pieces at a low cost compared to solid metal ones.

What is Gold Plating

Generally, gold plating is when a piece of jewelry made from a specific metal or alloy is coated with a gold metal layer. There are two main processes used for jewelry gold plating: electroplating and vacuum plating.

  • Gold Electroplating

Gold electroplating is putting a layer of gold paint on a jewelry item. The method works by depositing a thin gold layer onto the base metal of the jewelry piece electrolytically. This process has been around for some time and is used for smaller quantities of jewelry, such as replating a family heirloom.

  • Gold PVD Coating

On the flip side, the gold PVD (physical vapor disposition) coating method molecularly bonds the gold to the base metal; thus, it creates a stronger bond. However, this process is more costly than electroplating. Therefore, PVD coating is commonly applied in the mass production of jewelry to reduce costs. 

What Metals Can be Gold Plated

A silver, copper, brass, or any low-end metal bracelets, necklaces, earrings, and rings with a layer of gold would be sold as gold plated jewelry. Although the gold used for coating gold-plated jewelry is authentic, the entire jewelry item comprises a base metal or alloy that’s not gold. This is why gold-plated jewelry costs less than a solid gold piece.

Gold plated gemstone rings in different designs
Source: Unsplash

Is Gold Plated Real Gold

Gold-plated pieces of jewelry are real gold. However, due to the little amount of gold incorporated in the piece, such jewelry doesn’t possess a high value compared to pure, authentic gold jewelry.

The Purity Ratings in Gold Plating

As we have mentioned above, gold applied in gold plated jewelry is authentic gold, but the ratings of gold vary. Remember, the lowest purity of gold is about 10K, and the highest is around 24K gold. So in terms of gold plating, the significant difference is the color the piece produces instead of its value. 

Keep in mind that the higher the purity of the gold, the more gold-like the jewelry piece’s color. Still, its value won’t change much because of the little amount of gold applied, even if its purity level is 24K.

Is Gold Plated Jewelry Hypoallergenic

Generally, gold plating is not hypoallergenic and can even cause skin reactions in individuals with metal allergies, including nickel, cobalt, and zinc. This is due to the metal or alloy content coated by gold. Once the gold layer tarnishes or wears down, the base metal of the piece comes into contact with your skin, which causes reactions.

Hence, verify the metal used in the jewelry piece before buying gold-plated jewelry to avoid metal allergens.

How to Produce Gold Plated Jewelry

Gold plating is an easy method, but one must ensure that the procedure is done step-by-step to get the best plating results. Here’s the guide:

Polishing  Gold plated jewelry in a jewelry-making facility
Source: Pixabay

1. Surface Preparation

The surface layer of the metal needs to be plated should be clean, dirt-free, and must be polished. Surface preparation may include stripping, sandblasting, polishing, tumbling, etc. The use of solvents, water, abrasive materials, acid etch, alkaline cleaners, or a combination can be applied. The usual methods to clean include a high rpm rouge wheel for polishing and acid or non-acid ultrasonic bath. There are two primary reasons for the methods:

  • To increase adherence
  • To maintain the plating tanks contaminant-free

2. Cleaning

The next step is to perform ultrasonic cleaning, electro-cleaning, or steaming once the surface is prepared and finished a visual inspection. This extended cleaning procedure should be done to ensure the metal is oil- and dirt-free. Ensuring a thorough cleaning helps produce better and exceptional plating results. 

3. Rinse

The metal piece is thoroughly rinsed with water to clear away any cleaning agents.

4. Strike

A strike layer, also known as a flash layer, adheres to a thin layer of quality nickel plating to the base metal or alloy. A buffer layer is being applied between the two to enhance the bonding between the surface and plating.

5. Rinse Again

The jewelry piece is rinsed thoroughly with water to remove any cleaning agents.

6. Base Coat

If a base layer below gold is used, it is typically a nickel element. Note that there can be several layers of plating done on one specific jewelry piece. For instance, a gold-plated silver piece is usually a silver substrate with layers of nickel, copper, and gold deposited as a topcoat.

7. Final Coating

With the help of time, voltage, and temperature carefully maintained, the item is submerged into the plating solution to draw ions of gold that will show as the last layer or coating. You can control the plating thickness by adjusting the immersion time in the plating tank.

8. Final Rinse

Rinse off the jewelry piece with water, then hang it to dry.

9. Drying

To dry quickly, ensure to hang the jewelry piece or pieces (if you gold-plated several items) separately.

10. Repeat

If required, you can repeat the steps in the immersion stage to increase better bonding between the plating and the underlying surface. Then rinsing and drying are next.

How Long Does Gold Plated Jewelry Last

The good thing about the gold plating process is that it’s meant to be permanent. However, if the jewelry piece can’t handle rough exposure well, it will eventually flakes off. Hence, gold-plated accessories wear out and lose their luster over time. 

Generally, gold plating can last as much as two years, with great care, of course. So the best way to deal with tarnished jewelry pieces is to have them replated when needed. The frequency will depend on the plating’s thickness, the base metal color, the quality, and how much wear and tear the jewelry piece can sustain.

How to Maintain Gold Plated Jewelry

Wearing quality gold plated jewelry is almost as good as having the real thing, so it’s essential to upkeep your jewelry to avoid tarnishing. Here are some things you can do:

  • Remove your gold-plated jewelry before exercising or swimming because sweat and chlorine can create a chemical reaction that can lead to tarnishing.
  • Wear gold-plated jewelry after cosmetics were absorbed or dried entirely on your skin to avoid blemishing your accessories.
  • Don’t spray perfume or cologne while wearing gold-plated jewelry to avoid staining.
  • Clean your gold-plated jewelry regularly and buff it with a microfiber cloth.
  • Store your gold-plated jewelry in a plastic bag. Removing excess air because of lack of oxygen can make gold-plated jewelry shiny and vibrant.

Pros and Cons of Gold Plated Jewelry

Let’s list the advantages and disadvantages of buying gold-plated jewelry.


  • Gold-plated jewelry looks like real gold.
  • They are affordable.
  • They make great accessories.
  • Gold-plated jewelry is durable.
  • Gold plated accessories are easy to make, and you can create more designs.


  • Gold-plated jewelry tarnish over time.
  • This type of jewelry can be chipped or scratched.
  • Since the amount of gold is minimal, it only has lesser value than pure gold jewelry.
  • Don’t wear gold-plated jewelry when exercising, swimming, spraying perfume, sanitizer, etc.

Is Gold Plated Jewelry Worth Buying

Gold plated jewelry is an excellent investment that can help individuals, especially women, look chic along with their wardrobe without spending much. Gold plated jewelry business will definitely appeal to your target market because they are classy, durable, and affordable. Once your clients realize that gold-plated jewelry collections last long for many years as long as they are maintained well, your business will be a hit!

Where to Buy Gold Plated Jewelry

10K gold-plated necklace pearl necklace in a simple chain design
Source: TTT Jewelry

You can easily find gold-plated jewelry online with just a click. You can check out tons of designs at affordable prices from reliable manufacturers and suppliers. You can check out TTT Jewelry to see a vast collection of gold-plated jewelry designs.


In a nutshell, gold plated jewelry are accessories that the masses can greatly enjoy, especially if you try to maintain a budget. What’s more, there’s an extensive array of jewelry designs when choosing this kind of jewelry that your customers won’t have a hard time finding which suits their taste and personality. Check out TTT Jewelry for good deals if you wish to see some gold-plated jewelry designs.

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