All that shines may not be gold

Gold plated jewellery has the look of gold, without the price tag. It’s a great option for fashion accessories. Here’s what you need to know about gold plated jewellery.

Gold has been used in decorative jewellery since as early as 3000 BC. It has been a treasured metal consistently throughout history. Gold has always been expensive to buy, and gold bullion is considered a valuable and safe form of investment. In the 1800s, a technique was developed, called electroplating, which allowed items made of a different metal and plated (coated) in gold. This revolutionised the jewellery market, because plated jewellery was more affordable. It was now possible to have gold coloured jewellery at a fraction of the price.
Like all things, plating in the 21st century has progressed from the 1800s. There is a newer, more effective method used called PVD or Ion plating (IP), which is how most of our watches and fashion jewellery are treated. Ion Plating is a process where the surface required to be plated is bombarded by atomic sized energetic particles. In the case of fashion jewellery, particles of precious metals such as gold. This process creates a more durable coating than previous methods. The fabulous Pastiche range of silver and steel jewellery is plated using this method.
Gold plated jewellery is not the same as gold jewellery. Gold plated jewellery is made of a base metal, usually copper or silver, and then coated in a layer of gold. Gold plated jewellery has the same appearance as gold, without the price tag. It is a great choice for trendy, fashionable pieces that may not stay in fashion, or a piece you will only wear occasionally. Plated jewellery allows the owner to have multiple pieces of jewellery to choose from, and not wear the same thing every day!
How long does plating last? ‘How long …’ is like a piece of string. How long the plating lasts depends on how often the item is worn, how much care is taken, any perfumes, creams, make-ups and soaps it comes in contact with. The thickness of the plating influences the durability of the item – the more microns, the better the wear. Generally, the more expensive a piece of jewellery or a watch is, the better quality and thickness of the plating.
A micron is a teeny tiny unit of measurement, equal to one millionth of a metre – there are 1000 microns in a millimetre! The thickness of gold plating is measured in microns – and the more microns the thicker the plating. Gold over steel fashion jewellery treated with the IP method are extremely hard wearing and with a little care, should give many years of wear. Here at Showcase Jewellers Te Awamutu, we encourage a ‘last on, first off’ philosophy (LOFO) – your jewellery should be the last thing you put on in the morning and the first thing you take off.

Come in and see us to try on our fabulous Pastiche range.