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Article: Gold Bonded vs Plated: What's The Difference?

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Gold Bonded vs Plated: What's The Difference?

When choosing between gold bonded vs plated jewellery, it is important to understand what each one means, their pros and cons and how they differ.

In this blog post, we go into detail about these two popular forms of gold jewellery. We’ll cover their pros, cons and differences. Then at the end, offer you suggestions based on the different factors you need to consider.

What is gold bonded?

Gold-bonded jewellery pieces feature a 925 sterling silver base. The requirement for gold-bonded jewellery pieces is that the amount of gold must be above 5% and closer to 10%. The base metal for gold-bonded pieces should also be made from 925 sterling silver.

Often, gold-bond jewellery is confused with vermeil, gold filled and gold plated jewellery however it is slightly different. The gold in gold-bonded jewellery is thicker than in plated and filled jewellery.


  • Value - gold bonded jewellery has a greater value than gold-plated jewellery. This is because it has significantly more gold.
  • Durability - the layer of gold on gold-bonded jewellery is thicker. Making it more durable and resistant to fading over time.
  • Hypoallergenic - the thick gold layer makes it more hypoallergenic. This is great for people with sensitive skin.
  • Cost - more expensive than other types of gold jewellery as it has more gold.
  • Heavy - heavier than gold-plated jewellery as it features a thicker layer of gold
  • More prone to scratches and dents - the thick gold layer makes this type of jewellery more susceptible to scratches and dents.


What is gold plated?

Gold plating is a process of electroplating a thin layer of gold to a base metal. This base metal is usually nickel, brass, or stainless steel. Plated jewellery does not need to have a minimum percentage of gold.


  • Affordable - much more affordable than other types of gold jewellery. Makes it more accessible for everyone.
  • Appearance - looks just like real gold, filled or bonded pieces at a fraction of the cost.
  • Lightweight - gold plated pieces tend to be lighter than other types of gold jewellery. This is because these pieces have less gold.


  • Durability - thin thin layer of gold is more susceptible to wearing off when exposed to chemicals and water. This can also lead the base metal to become exposed.
  • Maintenance - Gold-plated jewellery requires more careful maintenance to prolong it’s life.
  • Lower value - there is almost no resale value for gold-plated pieces as the amount of gold is incalculable.
  • Less hypoallergenic - once the thin gold layer wears off, the base metal will become exposed. Depending on the type of base metal used, this can cause skin allergies for some.


What is the difference between gold-bonded and gold-plated?

Method of application
Gold-bonded jewellery involves bonding a layer of gold to a base metal using high pressures and heat. This creates a strong bond between the gold and the base metal.

Gold-plated jewellery is made by applying a thin layer of gold onto the base layer. This is done through an electroplating process to bind the gold to the base metal.

Gold layer thickness
The gold layer in gold-bonded jewellery is thicker than in gold-plated pieces. The thickness of gold-bonded pieces is a few microns thick, whilst plated jewellery has less than a micron thick layer.

The thicker layer of gold in gold-bonded jewellery makes it more durable than plated jewellery. It is overall less likely to chip off, fade and tarnish over time.

Gold-bonded jewellery is more expensive than gold-plated jewellery. This is because gold-bonded jewellery has more gold than gold-plated jewellery.

Gold-bonded jewellery has greater value than gold-plated jewellery. This is because it has overall more gold.


Gold bonded vs plated: which one is best for you?

Whether gold-bonded or gold-plated jewellery is better for you depends on a variety of factors. These include personal preferences, budget, intended use and considerations around durability and maintenance.

Gold-bonded jewellery is great for someone looking for a piece that is longer lasting, has a heavier feel and is overall lower effort to maintain. This is also a great choice for those looking for a jewellery piece with a greater resale value.

Whilst gold plated jewellery is great for someone who is looking for affordable gold jewellery that is hypoallergenic and lightweight.



After comparing gold bonded vs gold-plated jewellery, you should be aware of each one's pros, cons and differences.

The choice between gold-bonded and plated jewellery depends on factors including gold content, durability, allergy considerations, price, maintenance requirements, suitability for different uses and value retention.

Ultimately the choice between the two types of gold jewellery will depend on your own personal preferences, budget and purpose.



Is bonded gold better than plated?

Neither type of gold jewellery is better than the other one. Bonded gold jewellery may be superior in terms of durability and resistance to wear and tear, but, gold-plated jewellery is much more affordable. Which style of gold jewellery is better will depend on your personal preferences, budget and how you plan on styling the jewellery piece.

How long does gold-bonded jewellery last?

How long bonded jewellery lasts depends on the thickness of the gold layer, base metal and how well you take care of it. However, in general, gold-bonded jewellery can last for many years with proper care.

Does gold bonding fade?

Yes, over time gold bonded jewellery can fade. However, it will take years before you see any significant fading and tarnishing because the layer of gold is still quite thick.


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