Gold Plated vs Solid Gold – What’s the Difference?
Solid gold, as the name suggests, is the purest form of gold. The purity of gold is measured in Karats or carats. The purest form of gold is 24 carats, which is the most valuable in price as well. Whereas, Gold Plated is jewelry made by depositing a layer of solid gold on a less expensive metal. It is done through chemical or electrochemical plating. To know the difference between Gold Plated vs Solid Gold, Scroll Down!
The Difference Between Gold-Plated vs Solid Gold
Gold plated jewelry has just a layer of gold deposited on the outer surface of cheaper metal, most commonly silver or copper. The process of gold plating is pretty simple, a base metal is taken, mostly brass or copper, after the base metal is washed properly, a layer of nickel is used for the process of bonding the base metal and the gold plating together. It gives your jewelry the exact look a piece of solid gold jewelry would give. Making it very famous amongst the ladies. However, only a thin layer of gold is applied on the metal’s surface. Jewelry with .5 microns – 2.5 microns of the gold layer is labeled as gold plated by the Federal Trade Commission.
Whereas solid gold is just gold, but the purity varies. We already know that solid gold’s purity is measured in karats/carats. The purest form of gold is 24K but this cannot be used in making jewelry due to its soft texture. Hence, gold is mixed with other hard metals to make it more durable, which affects the purity of gold. 22k, 18k, 14k means that only a certain amount of gold is present in the jewelry and the rest is another metal.
How Can You Tell Gold-Plated from Solid Gold?
There are a lot of methods to test if your jewelry is made of pure gold or is it just gold plated. One way to tell gold plated from solid gold is to look at the marking on your jewelry item, usually, it is mentioned on the jewelry whether it is gold or gold plated. The most common mark used in gold plated jewelry is GP. The marking on solid gold usually determines its purity, hence it is marked with either 24k, 18k, 14k or 10k Other most reliable method is “Acid Testing”. For this, you would need an acid testing kit, which is easily available at the jewelry stores and even online
# 1 Method to Test whether it’s Solid Gold or Gold Plated
Take the jewelry item that you need to test, put a tiny scratch on its surface or somewhere that is not visible on the outside, with the help of a dropper, put a tiny drop of acid on the scratched part, if the area where you have applied acid, changes its color then it is surely not solid gold.
You can also do a float test on your gold jewelry, just take a glass of water and out your jewelry in it, if it floats then the jewelry is gold plated but if it sinks down in the glass then it is solid gold. Another easy method to test your gold jewelry is to do a vinegar test on it. Pour a drop of white vinegar on your gold jewelry to determine its purity, if the color of the jewelry changes then it is gold plated.
Natural methods to test whether its gold plated vs solid gold.
There are also more natural ways to tell if your jewelry is gold plated or solid gold since solid gold is a precious metal, it is everlasting. It might become less shiny over time, but the color never changes. Also, the price difference is a very prominent feature. Solid gold jewelry will be much expensive depending on its purity than the gold-plated jewelry.
How long can gold plated jewelry last?
Gold plated jewelry does not last for much longer. This is a downside of gold plated jewelry, it tarnishes over time and would need frequent polishing to keep up the quality. Gold plated jewelry also starts to scratch and wear off when worn a few times. The value of gold plated jewelry is not much considering just a little amount of actual gold present in it. It needs a lot of care considered not being a very valuable item. You cannot take your gold plated jewelry in water, which means whenever you have to shower or wash or do anything related to water, you will have to take it off.
However, It can last for a longer time if you take extra steps to care for it. Such as, avoid using perfume on your gold plated jewelry, keep it in a soft cloth when not wearing it to avoid scratching. Do not apply creams and lotion directly on your jewelry. Clean it carefully after every use, using a cotton ball only.
Is it Worth Buying Gold-Plated Jewelry or Should You Just Buy Solid Gold?
If you are crazy about jewelry, but not so crazy about spending too much money, we would say buy the gold plated! Sure, it has its cons but there are a lot of pros as well. Like, it is cheaper, which means you can tons of jewelry items and frequently change things up without worrying about money. It looks exactly like gold and is more durable being made with harder metal. Even if it tarnishes, it can still pass on as an antique jewelry item
If you have the budget and not afraid to spend a significant amount, then go with solid gold. Buying solid gold jewelry is a lifelong investment, as gold is an everlasting metal, its value in the market is never going to depreciate. You can always get the same amount or even higher amount back if you decide to sell it. However, gold jewelry makes the best family heirloom that remains in your family for generations to come. The choice is yours. If you are willing to spend much, then buy the solid gold, but if you are looking to get something to wear just a few times, then we would suggest getting the gold-plated jewelry.
Read our Blog on How to Test Gold at Home? | Complete Jewelry Guide