Four things to know about gold plated and solid gold jewelry | PLUM Jewelry

Four things to know about gold plated and solid gold jewelry

Hello there,

There's a question that comes up often, which is what's the difference between gold plated jewelry versus solid gold jewelry. So, here are four things to know about gold plated jewelry versus solid gold jewelry.

1) What is the difference between gold plated and solid gold jewelry?

Gold plating is a process where a thin layer of gold is bonded onto a base metal. Plating is quite common in the jewelry world, with gold and rhodium being two popular types. This process was invented by an Italian chemist, Luigi Brugnatelli in 1805, the first person to plate a thin coat of gold onto silver. 

Gold plating is commonly used for costume jewelry or to mimic more expensive pieces, and it can be done on most metals, such as nickel, brass, stainless steel, silver and copper. 

Solid gold jewelry is just as the name suggests. There are many different karats of gold, which determines the amount of gold vs alloy. Pure gold (24k) is too soft and malleable to wear in jewelry, so the gold must be alloyed with other metals to give it strength and durability. 14k solid gold means 14 parts gold (58.3%) and 10 parts alloys (41.7%). The lower the karat, the less expensive it is because it is using less gold.

Curb solid gold ring Plum Jewelry

2) Is gold plated jewelry worth anything?

There is no high value regarding gold plated jewelry, since the gold plating on most jewelry is very thin, it can be difficult to recover any of the gold. Indeed, the layer is so thin, that it corresponds to an insignificant amount of gold overall and doesn’t add much value to the piece.

3) Does gold plating fade and tarnish?

Gold plating jewelry fades and tarnishes over time, on the contrary to solid gold jewelry which remain the same. As a result, gold plated jewelry loses its its initial luster and brightness. 

4) How long does gold plating last?

Gold plating can last for up to two years with proper care, and without putting your gold plated jewelry in the water.

Solid gold is a durable jewelry piece that will last overtime, and that will not tarnish or chip. It is also safe for those with metal allergies.


There are pros and cons to all types of metals, but solid gold is generally the more superior metal because it's the most durable, valuable and least irritating to those that have allergies to base metals. It also lasts for a lifetime, so if you're looking to keep your jewelry, that's the best choice. However, solid gold jewelry will be more expensive than plated or filled metals.

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