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Article: Gold Coated vs Gold Plated: Which One Is Better?

gold plated cuban chain

Gold Coated vs Gold Plated: Which One Is Better?

Advancements in technology and craftsmanship has transformed how gold is used in jewellery. Two popular methods of plating, gold coating and gold plating, have become standard in the industry.

Our blog aims to compare gold-coated vs gold-plated jewellery. We cover the processes, pros and cons of each. Continue reading to learn more!

What is gold coating?

gold plated cuban chains

Gold coating involves applying a thin layer of gold onto a base metal. This process occurs through a variety of methods. The most common being physical vapour deposition (PVD).

During the PVD plating process, gold is vaporised in a vacuum chamber and then deposited on the substrate. The gold coating also doesn't use electricity like electroplating does.

Pros
  • Durability - PVD utilises titanium nitride which provides an extremely durable coating. PVD coating is resistant to corrosion from sweat as well as regular wear and tear.
  • Even coverage - PVD plating provides an even coating on the base metal surface. Even when it comes to irregular surfaces.
  • Heat resistance - gold coatings are also resistant to heat. This makes them great for jewellery worn during exercise or in hot environments.

Cons
  • More expensive - PVD gold coated pieces will cost more than regular pieces. Both to make and to purchase. This is because manufacturing PVD gold pieces requires more energy and specialist equipment.
  • Equipment requirements - PVD coating requires specialist equipment.
  • Thinner gold layer - most of the time PVD coating is thinner than. electroplated coatings.

What is gold plating?

3mm gold rope chain and 2mm gold box chain on neck

Gold plating is similar to gold coating, however uses a different process. This process is known as electroplating, which involves the use of electricity to coat the metal.

Pros
  • Affordable - electroplating requires less energy and is a more cost-effective process for gold jewellery manufacturing.
  • Thicker layer - more often than not, gold plated pieces will have a thicker gold layer.
  • Corrosion resistance - although gold plating is less durable, it is still highly corrosion-resistant.
Cons
  • Potential for uneven coating - electroplating misses coating in sharp corners or recesses. This means that certain areas of gold-plated jewellery will have less coating than others. This leads to uneven coverage.

Comparing gold-coated vs gold-plated jewellery

Cleaning requirements
The requirements for maintaining and cleaning gold-plated vs gold-coated jewellery will differ.

Gold-plated pieces require more gentle cleaning to avoid wearing the gold layer. It is advised to use a soft, lint-free cloth to avoid damage during cleaning.

Gold-coated pieces are more resilient when it comes to cleaning. They can be cleaned with a soft cloth or mild detergent for a deep clean. It is still advised against cleaning with chemical cleaners.

Durability
Gold-coated jewellery is known for being extremely durable. It has a high resistance to tarnishing, fading and scratching. This makes them a durable option for gold jewellery. This is because gold-coated jewellery is made using a process called PVD.

Electroplating used in gold-plated jewellery is less durable and more susceptible to fading and chipping.

Suitability for different uses
Gold-coated jewellery is more durable than gold-plated jewellery. This make it suitable for everyday jewellery pieces. Gold coated jewellery also lasts longer and strikes the perfect balance between price, appearance and longevity.

Gold-plated jewellery is less durable and therefore is better suited for occasional wear. This is a better choice for someone who is on a budget, but still wants the appearance of gold jewellery.

Price
Gold-coated jewellery is more expensive to buy and produce than gold-plated jewellery. This is because PVD coating has great energy requirements and requires specialist equipment.



Gold coated vs gold plated: which is better?

gold herringbone chain

Which one is better for you will depend on your budget, preferences and styling needs. Even though gold-coated and gold-plated jewellery looks the same, one may be better suited for your needs.

PVD gold-coated jewellery is better for those looking for a gold-plated piece that has greater durability and is highly resistant to tarnishing, fading, scratching and corroding. This is a great choice for someone looking for gold-plated jewellery that is ideal for everyday wear.

Electroplate gold jewellery is better for those who are on a budget and looking for maximum affordability. This is a better option for those looking for gold-plated jewellery that will only be worn on special occasions. This is because electroplated gold-plated jewellery is less durable.

Conclusion

Now that we have compared gold-coated vs gold-plated jewellery, you should have a better understanding of each one's pros, cons and differences. The choice between gold-coated and gold-plated jewellery depends on individual needs and preferences.

Gold-coated jewellery, particularly those made using the PVD process offers great durability, and resistance to tarnishing, fading, scratching and corrosion. Making them ideal for everyday wear. But, this method tends to be more expensive due to higher energy demands and specialised equipment.

Gold-plated jewellery, produced using electroplating is a more budget-friendly option and offers a thicker gold layer. It is ideal for occasional wear given it’s slightly less durable.

Understanding these differences between the two will now help you make a more informed decision that aligns with your style and budget requirements.

Want to learn more about gold plated jewellery? Read our ultimate guide to gold plated jewellery.

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