If you are contemplating buying gold plated charm bracelets or other plated jewelry but aren’t quite sure how the pros weigh up against the cons, then you’ve landed on the right page. Here, we’ll investigate the most important aspects to answer the question: Should you buy plated jewelry?
- What is Plating?
In general, plating is the process of covering the surface of a metal or alloy with a layer of another, typically more rare and expensive type of metal, e.g. A copper ring with a gold layer on top would be sold as gold-plated.
Another example is white gold, which you’ve probably heard of. It’s an alloy of yellow gold and a white metal such as palladium. However, since this allow usually looks yellowish, it is plated with rhodium to get its pure white color. When this is done, with wear over time, the rhodium becomes eroded to reveal the yellow-tinted material underneath.
- Benefits of Buying Plated Jewelry
The most significant advantage of plating is that it is a much more cost-effective option. Instead of making jewelry or other items completely from an expensive material, plating allows for much less of that material to be used, and is therefore less expensive, without any discernable difference in appearance.
- Downsides of Plated Jewelry
As you might expect, there are also disadvantages to picking the cheaper option. Inevitably, the layer of coating that covers the jewelry will eventually wear away, and the thinner the outer layer, the quicker this will happen. When this happens, it is possible to get the accessory re-plated at a jeweler, however, this costs more money and some metals like gold and rhodium are very pricey. This is why you should avoid buying plated jewelry that has moving parts, as these not only erode faster, but are also more difficult to re-plate.
In addition to this, it is hard to predict when the plating will wear away. The time length depends on the thickness of the coating, how frequently you wear the item and lastly, the design.
Another downside is if you happen to be allergic to nickel, and the alloy that makes up the lower layer contains nickel, then as soon as the plating wears away, your skin would be exposed to the allergen. So make sure that there is no nickel in your jewelry and only buy high quality metal.
While plated jewelry has its shortcomings, it may still be the right option for you if money is an important consideration or if you don’t intend to wear the piece on a daily basis. You should simply keep its limitations in minds when making a purchase decision so that you can be best equipped to later deal with it, such as by re-plating the adornment.
It depends on the scenario: If, for example, you want a gold ring that you will only adorn on special occasions, there’s no reason why you should not go with a gold-plated one, and you will benefit by having extra cash in your pocket.
Alternatively, if you are looking for the kind of item to wear all the time, then choosing something solid will be more practical, and may even save you money in the long term, as you don’t have to worry about frequently recovering it.
Before buying any kind of jewelry, be sure to ask how the piece is made and what its contents are, so that you can consider your options to decide what is best for you; the more you know, the better.