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Article: Gold Plated Stainless Steel vs Gold Plated Sterling Silver: Which One Is Better For You?

gold plated pendant and chain

Gold Plated Stainless Steel vs Gold Plated Sterling Silver: Which One Is Better For You?

When purchasing gold plated jewellery choosing the right base metal is essential. Two popular base metals used in gold plated jewellery is stainless steel and sterling silver.

In this blog we compared gold plated stainless steel vs gold plated sterling silver. We cover what each one is and their pros and cons. We’ll also go over the main differences you need to know about the two.

What is gold plated stainless steel?

8mm gold plated Cuban bracelet on wrist

Gold plated stainless steel refers to a stainless steel base metal being coated in a thin layer of gold. This layer tends to be less than 1 micron thick. This is applied using either PVD or electroplating.

The stainless steel base metal itself is composed of chromium, nickel, molybdenum and a small percentage of carbon.

Pros

  • Durability - highly resistant to denting and damaging due to its density.
  • Hypoallergenic - stainless steel contained low amounts of nickel compared to other types of metal. This prevents this metal from causing skin allergies when used as jewellery.
  • Cost-effective - stainless steel is a common and easy material to manufacture. This makes it an affordable material for jewellery.
  • Low maintenance - easier to clean and maintain. Less likely to fade and tarnish overtime. Can be cleaned using a soft cloth.

Cons

  • Less valuable - stainless steel is a cheaper material to use than precious metals like sterling silver or platinum. This means it has less intrinsic value.
  • Heavier feel - stainless steel is much heavier than other types of metal like brass and sterling silver. Stainless steel has q density of 8g per cubic centimetre

What is gold plated sterling silver? 

18k gold plated tennis chain 

Gold plated sterling silver, also known as gold vermeil is made in the same way as gold plated stainless steel. The only difference is the base metal.

925 sterling silver is made using 92.5% silver and 7.5% other metals. This other metal is usually copper.

Pros

  • Authentic - both base metal and gold plating are made using precious metals. this gives it a more authentic feel
  • Value - being made from both gold and silver precious metals, gold plated sterling silver has greater value.
  • Lightweight feel - has a lighter feel than most other metals commonly used as a base metal for plated jewellery.
  • More versatile - sterling silver is a softer metal, easier to manipulate into different shapes and to create cuts and details into.

Cons

  • Tarnishing - once the gold plating is gone the base metal of sterling silver will tarnish when exposed to water, oils from skin or chemicals from soaps and perfumes
  • Allergies - some people may have allergies to copper and nickel. This is usually present in higher amounts in sterling silver compared to some metals like stainless steel.
  • Cost - because gold vermeil is made using only precious metals, it tends to be more expensive.
  • Durability - sterling silver is a much softer metal. This makes it prone to denting, bending and damage.

Differences between gold plated stainless steel and gold plated sterling

3mm herringbone chain gold plated

Durability

Stainless steel is a much stronger and harder material than sterling silver. In addition to this the chromium present in stainless steel forms a protective layer which prevents it from tarnishing, fading and rusting. This makes it more durable from a longevity standpoint.

Hypoallergenic properties

Stainless steel is a more suitable material for those with sensitive skin to wear as jewellery when compared to sterling silver. Stainless steel has lower contents of copper and nickel, which are common materials that cause skin allergies with jewellery.

Tarnish resistance

Chromium present in stainless steel forms a protective oxide layer that prevents it from tarnishing, fading and rusting over time. Even when exposed to water, chemicals and oils from skin.

Sterling silver does not have chromium, and therefore is much more susceptible to tarnishing over time.

Weight

Stainless steel is a denser material than sterling silver. This gives gold plated stainless steel jewellery a heavier feel, which to some may feel of higher quality.

Price

Sterling silver is more expensive than stainless steel. This is because it is found naturally, is less in abundance and is considered a precious metal. Gold played pieces that feature a sterling silver base will be more expensive than played stainless steel.

Intrinsic value

Sterling silver had a greater intrinsic value than stainless steel. This is because it is considered a precious metal.

 

Gold plated stainless steel vs sterling silver: which is best for you?

Gold plated budded cross pendant

Whether gold plated stainless steel or sterling silver is better for you will depend on a number of factors. These include your styling needs, preferences and your budget.

Gold plated stainless steel is a great option for someone looking for gold plated jewellery that is affordable, is hypoallergenic, doesn’t tarnish and is durable for everyday wear.

Whilst gold plated sterling silver is a great option for some looking for gold plated jewellery that has greater intrinsic value and has a lightweight feel.

Conclusion

Now that we have compared gold plated stainless steel vs sterling silver, you should now understand each one’s pros and cons. You should also have a better understanding of the differences between the two.

Gold plated stainless steel jewellery is super affordable, hypoallergenic, resistant to tarnishing and is extremely durable. Whilst gold plated sterling silver jewellery has greater value and a lightweight feel making in comfortable for everyday wear.

Ultimately the choice between these two styles of gold plating is up to your personal presences and needs

shop our gold plated jewellery

 

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