18K Gold-Plating: What does it really mean?

Real gold, gold plating, gold-plated or gold-colored jewelry: When buying jewelry, these seemingly similar terms can quickly lead to confusion. What do these names mean and what do they reveal about the quality? The following guide provides clarity.

18K gold plating? All that glitters it not gold

Whether ring, earring or chain: the golden color alone is not enough to be able to draw conclusions about the quality. Because gold is not just gold! There are three different quality categories on the market that everyone who loves buying jewelry should know. Because this is the only way we can protect ourselves from bad purchases.

Category 1: Fine gold jewelry

The most expensive jewelry category includes pieces that contain real gold in their base material. In addition, a carat number is always given in order to be able to assess the fineness of the gold in relation to the total mass. The range starts at 8 carats and ends at 24 carats. The total mass is always given as a twenty-fourth. That means: 8 carat gold jewelry contains 8 parts of gold and 16 parts of other metals. If it is 24 carats, there are 24 pieces of gold and no other material - that would be pure gold jewelry. Gold is rare - this is why jewelry made from real gold is also very expensive. A single piece can cost hundreds to thousands of Euros. That is not an option for all of us. But if you decide to do so, you can look forward to very durable, robust and waterproof jewelry. 18K gold plating: chain on the table -


18K Vergoldung: Kette auf dem Tisch

Category 2: Gold plated jewelry / gold plating

Costume jewelry usually does not consist of fine gold, but is provided with a coating of fine gold. This is then indicated as gold-plated jewelry, gold placement, or gold finishing (with the appropriate carat number). The description is then for example: bracelet with 18K gold plating. As a result, the manufacturer expresses that not the main material, but the plating is made of real gold. Since this coating is very thin, gold-plated jewelry can convince with a much cheaper price than jewelry made of real gold.

The main material of gold-plated jewelry can be very different. Mainly brass is found, which is then convincing with a gold layer. Much more expensive is sterling silver, which can also be coated with fine gold.

So if you like the idea of ​​pure gold jewelry, but don't want to pay so much, you should opt for gold-plated pieces. They convince with a beautiful shine and a long shelf life. However, the gold plating should not come into contact with salt water very often, because this accelerates the abrasion. The best quality in this category would be gold-plated sterling silver - pay attention to the number of carats here too.  

Category 3: Gold colored jewelry

Some pieces of jewelry do not contain real gold at all – neither in the base material nor in the coating. Then it is gold-colored jewelry. Here the main material, mostly brass, was colored with a golden color. Gold-colored jewelry is very cheap, but it has a few disadvantages. The pieces quickly lose color, fade and lose their shine. If you want to try out a trend, gold-colored jewelry is well advised. However, if the jewelry is to look beautiful for months and years, a gold plating or real gold would be the better alternative.  

Real gold, gold plating or gold-colored: all three jewelry categories have advantages and disadvantages. With this know-how, you can make the right decision for yourself on your next shopping trip. 

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