About Platings, Your Jewellery's Finishing Touch

Most jewellery, if not fashioned from a precious metal, is produced using a jeweller's alloy, which is then plated to give it durability, shine, and a more luxurious appearance. Plated jewellery items are cheaper than items crafted entirely of solid gold, silver, or platinum but can look just as good, especially when looked after well. But how do you define each different kind of metal plating, and how do you take care of it? Here's what you need to know about precious metals and platings.

Gold Rings On A Bar of Pure Gold Bullion

What is plating?

Plating – or electroplating to give it its full name – refers to the process of applying a thin layer of precious metal to a base metal (to discover what metals and alloys jewellers use see our blog "What Metal Is That?"). Depending on the thickness, plating can eventually wear away over time but it provides a viable finish to costume and fashion jewellery for special occasions, and creates a premium look for a fraction of the cost. Why is jewellery plated? Jewellery is plated for a number of reasons.

  • It keeps prices down. Jewellery plated in a precious metal has the look of the real thing without the price tag.

  • It evens out the tone of the base metal (even if that base metal is gold!) and provides a uniform finish and colour.

  • It adds strength to softer base metals such as 24k gold.

  • It hides blemishes that are part of jewellery manufacture, i.e. solder marks and joins.

  • It changes the colour of the alloy to something more desirable, i.e. copper to rose gold or rhodium.

So what metals are used in jewellery plating