It stands to reason that if you buy gold-plated jewelry, you can buy a lot more of it with the same amount of money. Why? Because there is much less gold in gold-plated than in a solid gold piece - almost nothing (about 0.045% real gold to be precise).
But is it a good idea? Here are the pros and cons.
How Is Gold-Plated Jewelry Made?
Let’s say you are interested in buying a gold-plated ring. This is how it was made. The ring is first formed out of some metals alloyed or mixed together – say nickel and zinc. Then the ring is coated with a very thin layer of a gold alloy, meaning gold mixed with another metal to harden it. Pure gold by itself wouldn’t hold up and it would soon wear off of the ring or have scratches and dents in it.
The ring, to the untrained eye, looks and feels like solid gold. Its price, however, should be a lot less than a solid gold ring, because the gold content is a extremely low percentage of the overall weight of the ring. To give you an idea, if you had big gold-plated Miami cuban chain weighting 2 kilos (2,000 grams) - less than 1 gram of that would be real gold.
How Often Will You Wear the Jewelry?
If your answer is that you will wear this piece very occasionally, then you may be better off buying the plated jewelry because of its lower cost.
If you plan to wear this jewelry every day, then you definitely want the solid gold version, even though you will pay more for it. The reasoning is that the plating will wear off and expose the underlying metal. And when it does, your ring is not pretty anymore and may even cause a rash on your finger due to an allergy to nickel or other metals.
You could have the piece replated, but that could run into some money. It’s better to spring for the better quality in the beginning.
Get the Facts Before You Buy
Ask what the underlying metals are if you are considering a plated piece. It’s important for you to know that in case (or when) the plating wears off.
You are the one that has to be satisfied that the ring is what you want and like, so the best idea is to ask a lot of questions and get the answers. If you can’t get the answers you need, it’s better to go somewhere to talk to a more knowledgeable person even if you have to pay a little more, so don’t be afraid to shop around.