Gold Plating Jewelry Guide: How Much Does It Cost?

Gold Plating Jewelry Guide: How Much Does It Cost?

Are you wondering how long the gold plating on your new piece of jewelry will last?

You have come to the right place!

Here we shall give you answers to questions like:

  • Which is better? Solid or gold plating?
  • Is gold plating jewelry cheap or expensive?
  • How do you make gold plating last longer?

What is Gold Plating?

Gold plating is the commonest way of getting affordable gold jewelry if solid gold jewelry cannot fit in your budget. The jeweler electroplates a thin coating of gold over the base metal used to make the jewelry.

Electroplating means bonding the molecules of the base metal to another metal coating using electric current. The commonest metals used for plating include surgical steel, regular stainless steel, gold on sterling silver, and copper.

The gold used for plating is real gold and can be 18K, 14K, or 10K. there is no gold plating higher than 18K. 24K is the purest gold, usually very soft and malleable, so a thin layer of that would get off easily especially if the jewelry is worn every day.

Gold plating is a coat of real gold but does not make the jewelry expensive. the recommended layer of gold is .5 microns thick, but it can be thicker than that. The price of a gold-plated jewelry is determined by the base metal used to make the jewelry.


  • Cheap
  • Real gold coating
  • Gold coat prevents tarnish


  • Gold plates fades away
  • Replating is expensive

How Long Does Gold Plating Last?

Many people thick that high-quality products are meant to last for a long time. This may be true for other products but not jewelry pieces. Most jewelry on the market is made using natural materials such as precious metals and real gemstones.

Pure gold cannot be made into commercial jewelry for sale in retail shops.

It is so soft that it can easily get scratches, nicks, and dents. You can find 24K gold being sold online and in other countries other than the US if you are determined to have it. Because it is very fragile, 24K gold is rarely used for gold plating.

When gold is plated on top of another metal, the coating will wear off after some time because of some reasons such as environment, chemistry and care. The thickness and quality of gold makes a difference too.

Most plated gold is .5 microns thick. If the plating is thick, the jewelry will last long.

If you are interested in gold plated jewelry that will last long, you are better of asking how many microns thick it is. The most likely thing is that most gold-plated jewelry descriptions will not give that much detail for a cheap piece of jewelry.

If you really want to have the best quality of gold-plated jewelry, you should look around for a reputable gold plating business that creates customized plated items. By doing this, you get the highest quality of gold plating.

The lifespan of gold-plated jewelry varies but we have a general estimation. On average, the gold plating can last a few years with regular wear.

How to Make Gold-Plated Jewelry Last Longer

Gold plating will fade, that is a fact but do you know you can increase its lifetime? Here are 4 tips to help you.

1.  Wear only when appropriate

Wearing your gold-plated jewelry regularly is the greatest contributor to fading. Make sure you wear the jewelry only when it is necessary. Do not go with it to the shower or swimming pool.

Also, finish getting ready first before putting on the necklace. This means apply all the lotion you want, do make up and spritz on perfume first the put on the necklace.

You must remove all the gold-plated jewelry before engaging in any physical activity.

You may feel like the gold-plated earring studs to not cause any issues when you go for a morning jog. They may not be causing any issues for you but you are causing them issues. The sweat and dirt will make the gold coat wear out fast.

If you must put on gold-plated jewelry with every other outfit, consider buying several pieces so you have unlimited choice to avoid wearing out one piece.

2.      Clean the jewelry

Assuming you do not wear the necklace or earrings every day, you must clean when you are ready to put on and after wearing.

Do not use any commercial grade jewelry cleaners on your gold-plated jewelry. While gold plated jewelry can be cleaned in any jewelry cleaning solution, gold plated is an exception. The chemical component might be safe to use on the gold plate but corrosive to the base metal.

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The easiest and safest way to clean gold plating is to use a soft cloth to wipe dirt and grime from the jewelry surface. If need be, you can dip the jewelry in a cleaning solution and let it soak for a few minutes but be cautious if it has already started to fade. If the base metal is silver, moisture from the solution can cause the metal to tarnish, you must dry it well.

If you prefer to DIY, use a small brush with soft bristles, mild soap and water to scrub the jewelry. The brush should be handy in removing dirt from the crevices and cracks.

3.      Safe storage

Gold-plated jewelry may not be a huge investment but you still need to store it properly to avoid premature wearing. For it to last long, you must store it in a good place, a jewelry box is the best.

Safe storage is important especially for people who have a large collection of jewelry in other plated forms. When you store all jewelry in one box, the sterling silver pieces start to tarnish. If you have a few gold-plated sterling silver jewelries that has started to fade, they will tarnish other pieces too.

4.      Buy lower gold karat

The price difference between  10K, 14K, 18K, and 24K gold plated jewelry is almost insignificant. All of them have high price tags. Gold karats on the higher side usually tarnish and fade the fastest.

Keep in mind that pure gold is soft and it is more likely to wear out faster than all the others. 10K gold plate will take the longest time to start fading because it has the least gold content and looks less yellow. When you think in terms of lower karat gold, 14K is the best option for gold plating jewelry.

Is Gold Plating Jewelry Expensive?

In most popular jewelry stores, you will find a small gold-plated ring retailing at $50 or less. Most gold plating is done over cheap base metal options like stainless steel which is readily available.

More expensive pieces tend to have gold plated over precious metals like sterling silver. The price may also go up if the jewelry has gemstones or the option for engraving like bracelets or necklaces.

Men's Curb Chain Necklace Yellow Ion-Plated Stainless Steel 24"
Men’s Curb Chain Necklace Yellow Ion-Plated Stainless Steel 24″


Should You Buy Gold Plated Jewelry?

There is no definite answer to this question. Whether you should buy gold plated jewelry or not depends on the reason you are thinking of. Such kind of jewelry is good for a time gold-plated adornment.

As you have already known, wearing gold plating everyday greatly reduces its lifetime. Everyone has at least owned a gold plated chain at one point.

Gold plated jewelry carry a low-price tag and that makes it easy to buy several pieces without injuring your wallet so much. If you want to buy this kind of jewelry, let it be for fashion.

Have a collection to switch between, in case one fades you will have backup.

Gold plated jewelry is also a good way to train your children on jewelry care. You can give your child a look of solid gold without worrying about loss or damage. You only need to make sure that you are buying pieces that are age-appropriate for your child.

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If you have sensitive skin, you need to be careful when wearing gold plated jewelry. You could react from the base metal when the gold plate starts to come out.

Nickel was widely used as the base metal for gold plating in the past but when it became the commonest metal allergy many manufacturers discontinued its use.

When purchasing, you must check the product description to know which base metal was used. You are likely to get a reaction from unnamed base metal alloys. In most cases, it is a combination of not so good metals plated.

Go for metals like sterling silver and stainless steel, they are hypoallergenic. Gold plated silver and gold plated steel is the best for people with metal allergies.

Be careful with jewelry advertised as nickel-free, they just don’t contain nickel but they are not hypoallergenic. Other metals like copper and cobalt also cause allergic reactions.

With that in mind, if you want to buy wedding bands or engagement rings, gold plated pieces are not the best option. You already know that the ring will fade in no time due to environmental factors and skin oils.

You cannot control body chemistry and the jewelry is more potent while on the body, especially the hands. You touch many things throughout the day including water, food, lotions, dust and so on. All these things contribute to the gold plate fading at a faster rate.

Best Place to Buy Gold Plated Jewelry

The best place to buy gold-plated necklaces, rings or earrings is online at one search brings endless results in different styles and designs. Yours is to read the product descriptions carefully before buying.

One major drawback with Amazon is that most of non-brand jewelry are ranked by keywords. This means they can input several search related terms in the product title just so that they can pop up when searched.

A good approach would be to read the customer reviews about the jewelry first. Look out for the most recent review. In fact, you should be considering gold plated jewelry that has 4 and 5 star ratings only.

If you look keenly, you might notice that the product has great reviews but 20 people who bought it recently have nothing good to say about it.

But generally, Amazon is a good place to find gold plated jewelry of different designs to suit your preference.

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Best Metal for Gold Plated Jewelry

When it comes to the base metal, sterling silver should be your number one choice. It is also referred to as vermeil or gold vermeil jewelry. Gold plated over sterling silver is the most expensive and will last longer than any other metal.

Sterling silver can also be resized without difficulties. Steel cannot be resized. When the gold fades, the silver will start to tarnish, so you should find a jeweler that can do high quality micron plating.

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Difference Between Gold Plated and Gold-filled Jewelry

Gold filled and gold-plated jewelry is the same thing with a slight difference in the plate thickness. Gold filled jewelry normally has at least 5% or 1/20 real gold. If you look at a 14K gold filled ring, you will see a 1/20 14KGF stamp for a 14-karat gold filled. You will find more gold-filled jewelry in costume jewelry trends.

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