Why we do not sell gold plated jewellery

I am often asked if I sell gold-plated jewellery – being a cheaper alternative to my solid gold work. Although gold-plated jewellery is exceedingly less costly than solid gold work ( especially in the weights I use) I explain below why it is such an inferior form of jewellery and should be avoided.

What Is Gold-Plated Jewellery?

Gold-plated jewellery refers to jewellery that has a thin layer of gold applied to the surface of another metal. These metals can be silver, brass, or copper. This is the least expensive of the gold options. Gold plating is a method of covering up another type of metal with a very thin layer of gold via electroplating. This method results in only about 0.5-1 microns of gold on plated jewellery, meaning that these pieces don’t offer much in terms of longevity. Additionally, it is not always good for those who are allergic to different types of metals, as the gold rubs off. There are a few different ” varieties” of gold-plated jewellery, as discussed below.

Gold-filled has a heavier plating than standard gold-plated jewellery, making it slightly more durable. Created differently, with two to three layers of gold being bonded to a base metal (such as jeweller’s brass). This may last you somewhat longer than a standard gold-plated piece, but still, it will show wear and tear within months. Don’t be fooled into thinking “gold-filled” means solid gold!

Gold Vermeil
Gold Vermeil sounds fancy because it is essentially a fancier version of gold-filled. It differs in that the base metal must be sterling silver, and that the gold used is often 10 carat or above. The gold layer is typically a gold leaf or powder and must be at least 2.5 microns thick. But it also wears off over time.

Does gold-plated jewellery have any value?

Quick answer NO.

In summary, just don’t do it

Unfortunately, all these variations of gold plating have often been known to turn human skin green, or worse still cause allergies. They also frequently end up in the trash, being cheaply made and mass-produced. Gold plating has all the hallmarks of fast fashion, get the look, forget about longevity. The gold plating process involves the chemical ‘Potassium gold cyanide’. Cyanide is toxic to humans! There are cases of deaths in third-world countries, that do not have safe work practices.

Cyanide waste is also incredibly expensive to manage, and I shudder at how much of it possibly ends up unmarked in landfills.

My advice at the end of the day would be to save your pennies until you can commit to the real thing!