Gold plating is not meant to last forever. Unfortunately. However if you cannot afford solid 14ct, 18ct or 22ct gold then it is the perfect alternative. It gives the appearance of gold without the hefty price tag to go along with it. Gold plating is layered onto your base metal, usually brass or sterling silver, using microns.Each micron is approximately one years life, we at Jewel Heritage use two microns of 18ct Gold. The industry standard is two or three depending on the size of the piece. Microns can start from 1/2 and go upto 10 microns. Anything above four microns is not recommended for jewellery but for larger items such as door handles, bath taps – yes believe it or not people gold plate such things. With consideration and care when wearing your jewellery there is no reason why gold plated items cannot last several years.
18ct Gold plated - 2 microns
Black rhodium is another finish we use here at Jewel Heritage. It is a very unusual finish and quite controversial in the Jewellery industry as it does not have the flexibility or longevity of gold plating. Firstly you can only ever plate upto 1/2 a micron with black rhodium, whereas with gold plating as explained previously you can plate upto 10 microns. The beauty of black rhodium is that the ring is gold plated first and then the black rhodium is placed on top, this is how we do it at Jewel Heritage. So once general wear and tear starts to appear if any, you will get a beautiful gold contrast which will make the piece even more individual to you. Below is what is called selective plating or a two part finish, where you select what you want in rhodium and what areas you want in gold – or whatever finish you desire.
Black rhodium and 18ct gold plating
Plating is not limited just gold or black rhodium. Everything from silver to platinum can be achieved. We have been experimenting with ‘Ruthenium’ plating which is very much like black rhodium but the finish is a coal like black. It is more expensive but ruthenium is more hard wearing than rhodium therefore will have a longer life. As we grow as a brand, we will be experimenting and bringing new finishes to our pieces not only to satisfy our own curiosities but to give our customers something new and exciting each time they purchase a piece from Jewel Heritage, that will hopefully be a staple piece in their trinket box.
We hope this gives you a small insight as to how gold plating works and why we as a brand decide to gold plate most of our jewellery.