Buying Guide: What does Gold Plated Mean?

worth-couture-spring-2011-gold-dress-gallery
Imagine how heavy a solid gold dress would be? 

Some of our most loved pieces are gold plated. Because gold is expensive, a lot of designers – especially young ones, experiment with gold plated to keep their costs low. For the wearer, there isn’t too much of a difference at first glance since both are pure gold on the outside.

If a piece is labeled gold plated, that means the jewelry made of a base metal or sometimes silver that has been finished with a thin layer of gold on top.

Gold plated jewelry will never be worth as much as solid gold, but you can still buy very high quality pieces this way. In our mind, the main deterrent for purchasing gold plated jewelry is that the gold can wear off. This is especially true on high-impact pieces such as bracelets or even necklaces.

How To Know if you’re buying gold plate jewelry:

Look for the following markers:

  • 14KGP: A base metal covered with 14k gold. You might also see other numbers such as 10K
  • Bonded Gold: Just means gold plated.
  • 14K HGE: Stands for 14K Heavy Gold Electroplate, which refers to the process for plating the metal called electrolysis.
  • Vermeil: Is usually found on older vintage pieces and refers to gold plate over sterling silver, instead of the more common copper.

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