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About Gold Plating and Gold Plated Sterling Silver

What is "gold plated" sterling silver?

Our collection of silver rings are set in gold plated 925 sterling silver.  Gold plating is not the same as a pure 10, 14, 18 or 24 karat gold jewelry.    Gold-plated jewelry is made by covering a base metal (we use 925 sterling silver) with a thin layer of gold. The thickness of the gold layer may vary depending on the manufacturer but it is typically between 0.5 and 2.5 microns. We use a process called electroplating for our gold plated jewelry.  Electroplating is the most common method used to create gold-plated jewelry.  An electric current passes through a solution containing gold ions in this process. The ions are attracted to the jewelry piece, which causes them to bond with the surface of the base metal. The result is a thin, even layer of gold.  Gold plated jewelry is an affordable way to enjoy the look of solid gold without the high price tag. However, remember that gold-plated jewelry will not last as long as solid gold jewelry and may need replating over time.

Is a gold plated ring a fake gold ring?

No, gold-plated does not necessarily mean fake.  It is an affordable jewelry metal that provides you with a white, gold or rose gold layer over a hard metal.  Those hard metals are usually silver, copper, and brass. While this thin layer of gold does not have the same value as 100% pure gold, it still has a value especially if it is plated over sterling silver. The purity of the gold plating is usually measured in karat weight which can range from 14 to 18 karat.

Does gold plating eventually wear down?

Yes gold plating will tarnish, but it depends on a few factors including; improper care, the base metal, and the thickness of the plating.  Most gold plating will fade and tarnish over time eventually losing its shine and brightness.  However, the base metal (if copper or brass) underneath the gold plating may change your finger a darker color, oxidize or tarnish faster than gold plated sterling silver. 

Does a gold plated ring rust?

Gold plating alone does NOT rust however the base metal may rust once the plating wears down over time.  This is why we choose to set our CZ stones in gold plated sterling silver (not brass or copper).  It's best to carefully wear your gold plated jewelry to keep it from tarnishing rapidly.  Please read below about keeping your gold plated ring from tarnishing. 

How can I prevent my gold jewelry from tarnishing?

You can extend the life of your gold plated jewelry by properly caring for it!

1. Ideally your gold plated jewelry should not be worn when using any household cleaners or chemicals that can lead to tarnishing. This includes cosmetics, skin cleansers/cleaners, hand soap, hand cream, hand sanitizer, perfume, hairspray, or when cleaning with heavy duty chemicals and detergents. 

2. When handling any plated jewelry, it's best to wash your hands or use hand sanitizers before and insuring they have dried before placing on the jewelry. 

3. You should not expose gold-plated jewelry to any natural or pool swimming water (chlorinated or salt water)  NO gold is considered to be waterproof as even pure gold can have it's shine lessened when exposed to constant water. 

4. Any body oils, creams or even body sweat can impact your gold plating jewelry. It should be removed before exercise, or any activity that would expose your jewelry to sweat.  If you sweat at night we recommend you do not wear plated jewelry to bed.  It's best to not wear plated jewelry when spending time in the sun where you are likely to apply sunscreen or suntan oils.
5.  Carefully store your gold plated jewelry and particularly keep it from any friction with other pieces of jewelry as this will cause the piece to wear down faster.  It is best to store gold plated jewelry in dry locations without exposure to humidity i.e. your bathroom. 
6. Cleaning your gold-plated jewelry regularly will help it last longer.  If your plating is over silver you can use a gentle silver cleaner.  You can also use a light liquid soap and warm water.  Avoid using abrasive cleaning solutions or strong chemicals used for real gold jewelry as this may actually tarnish the plating.