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Article: Stainless Steel vs Gold Plated Jewellery: Which One Is Better?

Stainless Steel vs Gold Plated Jewellery: Which One Is Better?

Stainless Steel vs Gold Plated Jewellery: Which One Is Better?

In the world of jewellery, the choice between stainless steel and gold-plated jewellery is a common one. Both stainless steel and gold-plated jewellery bring their own set of pros and cons, making it difficult to decide.

In this blog, we compare stainless steel vs gold-plated jewellery. We cover each one's pros and cons and compare the differences between the two. We then offer suggestions on which would be best suited for you,

What is stainless steel jewellery?

stainless steel bracelets and chain

Stainless steel jewellery refers to any piece of jewellery made from stainless steel. This steel alloy is known for its resistance to corrosion, rust and staining.

Pros

  • Durability - stainless steel is durable, scratch-resistant, and less prone to deforming.
  • Corrosion resistance - stainless steel is resistant to rusting, tarnishing and corrosion,. This makes it ideal for everyday wear jewellery.
  • Hypoallergenic - stainless steel alloys are hypoallergenic. This is great for people who have sensitive skin.
  • Affordable - more affordable than precious metals like sterling silver, gold or platinum
  • Low maintenance - stainless steel jewellery requires minimal care. It also doesn’t tarnish and can be easily cleaned.
  • Eco-friendly - stainless steel is recyclable. More environmentally friendly than precious metals.

Cons

  • Heavy - stainless steel is a heavier metal. For some, this may be uncomfortable to wear for everyday jewellery
  • Value - not a precious metal and doesn’t have the same intrinsic value as silver precious metals.
  • Not ideal for gemstone settings - stainless steel is too hard to inset gemstones

What is gold-plated jewellery?

18k gold plated pendants and chain layered
Gold-plated jewellery consists of a base metal or alloy that has a thin layer of gold applied to the surface. This gives the item the appearance of solid gold jewellery but at a lower cost. This is often done using PVD or electroplating, with the gold layer being less than 0.5 micrometres thick. Gold purities used for the plating include 10k, 14k, 18k and 24k.

Pros
  • Affordable - more affordable than solid gold jewellery. Makes it more accessible to a wider range of customers.
  • Appearance - gold plated jewellery looks like solid gold jewellery, at a fraction of the cost.
  • Suitable for sensitive skin - gold-plated jewellery made with stainless steel is hypoallergenic. This makes it a good option for those with sensitive skin.

 

Cons
  • Care and maintenance - it requires careful maintenance. You will need to regularly wipe off chemicals, water and body oils using a soft cloth.
  • Durability - the thin layer of gold can wear off over time, exposing the base metal underneath. This wear and tear can happen quickly when worn every day.
  • Risk of allergies - If the underlying metal is made using nickel, it can cause skin reactions.
  • No intrinsic value - gold-plated jewellery has no resale value as the amount of gold is incalculable.
  • Potential for discolouration - gold plated jewellery can discolour or tarnish over time.

Differences between stainless steel and gold-plated jewellery

Materials
Stainless steel jewellery is an alloy of iron, carbon and chromium. With other elements in smaller amounts such as nickel, molybdenum and titanium.

Gold-plated jewellery on the other hand consists of gold and whatever the base metal is. Often this base metal can be copper, brass, nickel, silver and even stainless steel.

Durability
Stainless steel jewellery is known for its durability, and resistance to scratches, corrosion and tarnish resistance.

Whilst gold-plated jewellery is also durable, it still can lose its lustre over time as the layer of gold wears off.

Maintenance and care
Stainless steel jewellery requires minimal maintenance. It is easy to clean and does not tarnish easily.

Whilst gold-plated jewellery needs more careful maintenance to prolong its life. With gold-plated jewellery, you should avoid exposure to chemicals, water and natural oils.

Price
Stainless steel is more affordable than gold-plated jewellery. This is because it consists of non-precious metals.

Gold-plated jewellery can be more expensive, depending on the gold plating thickness. It offers the look of gold at a lower cost than solid gold.

Hypoallergenic properties
Stainless steel jewellery is hypoallergenic, especially if made with surgical-grade stainless steel. This makes it suitable for individuals with sensitive skin.

Gold-plated jewellery can be hypoallergenic, but it is dependent on the base metal used. Brass, nickel and copper-based base metals will not be hypoallergenic. While sterling silver or stainless steel base metals will be hypoallergenic.

Stainless steel vs gold plated jewellery: which one is best for you?

Whether stainless steel or gold-plated jewellery is best for you will depend on your preferences, styling needs and budget.

Plain stainless steel jewellery is perfect for someone looking for jewellery that offers the perfect balance between affordability, quality, durability and longevity. This is also a good option for someone who has sensitive skin.

Whilst gold-plated jewellery may be better for someone looking for an affordable alternative to solid gold chains, it still offers decent durability.

Conclusion

Now that we have compared stainless steel vs gold-plated jewellery, you should have a better understanding of the pros and cons of each. The choice between these two popular types of jewellery depends on your preferences, budget and styling needs.

Stainless steel jewellery is affordable, durable, long-lasting, hypoallergenic and doesn’t fade. Whilst gold-plated jewellery offers the appearance of solid gold, with decent durability.

Remember when choosing between the two pieces, you should always put first how these pieces make you feel and the story that they help you tell. Jewellery should be a personal statement and a celebration of your individuality.

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