Gold plating is a process where a thin layer of gold is coated onto a base metal to give it a gold appearance. Nearly all gold jewelry today is gold-plated, regardless of whether it is real gold or not. This is because gold often has different shades from different batches of gold, casting imperfections, and other visual blemishes. By coating the metal with a thin layer of gold, the jewelry is given a universal appearance and covers any sort of gold impurities of marks.
It is important to note that gold plating does not mean that the jewelry is fake. Real gold jewelry can and is often plated. In fact, gold plating can even enhance the look and value of real gold jewelry. Gold plating is a common practice for fine jewelry, especially for pieces that are worn frequently, as it provides a barrier that protects the underlying metal from scratches and other forms of damage.
The process of gold plating is relatively simple, and involves several steps. First, the base metal is cleaned and polished to remove any dirt, oils, or other contaminants. Next, a thin layer of gold is deposited onto the metal using an electroplating process. This involves applying an electrical current to a solution that contains gold ions, causing them to bond to the surface of the metal. The final step is to polish the jewelry to a high shine and to remove any imperfections.
Shown below is a sterling silver chain being plated. The process of plating sterling silver and genuine gold is the same. At Lirys we do not plate our sterling silver unless requested by the customer.
It is worth noting that fake jewelry is always plated, as it is not made of real gold. This is because fake jewelry is typically made from cheaper metals such as brass or copper and is coated with a thin layer of gold to make it appear to be real. When shopping for gold jewelry, it is important to know the difference between real and fake, as this can greatly affect the value and quality of the piece.
After the plating solution the chain needs to be cleaned again, in this case we use baking soda to help neutralize any remaining acids from the bath.
In conclusion, gold plating is a common process used to protect and enhance the appearance of real gold jewelry. Although it is often assumed that gold-plated jewelry is fake, this is not always the case. Real gold jewelry can and is often plated, and this can even add value to the piece. When shopping for gold jewelry, it is important to be aware of the difference between real and fake, as this can greatly impact the value and quality of the piece.