Gold alternatives. Why we are against gold plated, gold-filled, or 9K and 10K gold jewellery
Updated: Aug 17, 2019
Gold plating is a method of covering another type of metal (base metal) with a very thin film of pure gold by electroplating it. There is usually around 0.5 - 6 microns of gold on plated jewellery... which is in fact an ultra thin layer! The main downside of plated jewellery is that the gold finish won’t last – sometimes just weeks – and can chip, fade and tarnish easily. Sometimes all it takes is a finger swipe once or twice to remove the gold. Often, however, even brand new plated items are not made well enough to pass for solid gold items, which makes them look fake and reduce their lifespan even more. The gold on plated items is in fact so little, that it is immeasurable, making gold plated jewellery virtually worthless. As a result, plated items are usually the most affordable (some brands, however, may charge you nearly as much for gold plated jewellery as other brands charge for solid gold jewellery). Importantly, while it is very cheap to make, it is still not free for customers to buy. However, such jewellery will have to be thrown away very soon because its appearance becomes inappropriate. Generally, because of its very limited lifespan gold plated jewellery cannot be considered a wise investment. Additionally, it creates a lot of unnecessary waste for the planet.
Gold-filled jewellery is jewellery composed of a solid layer of gold (typically constituting at least 5% of the item's total weight) mechanically bonded to a base metal. The related terms rolled gold plate and gold overlay may legally be used in some contexts if the layer of gold constitutes less than 5% of the item's weight. Most high quality gold-filled pieces have the same appearance as high karat gold, and gold-filled items, even with daily wear, can last 10 to 30 years though the layer of gold will eventually wear off exposing the metal underneath. Gold-filled jewellery may sound like a good idea but in fact it can be so pricey that for slightly more one could afford a solid gold piece. Gold-filled jewellery doesn't last forever, can't be passed on to new generations or remade into new jewellery, so eventually it will drop its value to 0 and end up like gold plated jewellery on a landfill.
9K and 10K gold jewellery is an alloy of pure gold with other metals (see this article). It's cheaper than higher karat gold (e.g. 14K or 18K), but still quite pricey and the main drawback is that due to small content of gold, pieces made of 9K or 10K gold will tarnish. We consider 9K and 10K gold to be a waste of pure gold, because while it contains some gold, it doesn't behave like one. There are base metals that can also give a look similar to gold (e.g. brass), why to waste gold? 9K and 10K gold may also look cheap and doesn't hold its value.
Solid 14K or 18K gold jewellery is the most valuable form of jewellery you can buy (together with platinum). Purity of gold is expressed as karats. The purest form of gold is expressed as 24K and it is very yellow in colour and very soft in texture. Due to softness, pure gold is often mixed with other metals to make it more durable for the purposes of wearing it as jewellery and 14K or 18K gold is created. Gold is one of the most valuable resources in the world and will last you a very long time as long as it's cared for properly and will hold its value for years to come. Solid gold is generally the more superior metal because it is the most durable, valuable and least irritating to those that have allergies to base metals. However, solid high karat gold will be more expensive than plated or filled metals or lower karat gold, the reason why those alternatives were created in the first place.
Because we offer very attractive prices on solid 14K and 18K gold jewellery and want our pieces to be the highest quality and the most exquisite, we do not want to accept cheaper alternatives to gold. In fact, not all jewellery can be called fine jewellery, as a definition, 'fine' means to be of superior or best quality and we truly aim to make only fine jewellery. We also know how very sad it is when your favourite piece of jewellery changes its appearance and turns into worthless ugly piece. We do not want our customers to have such experience. Additionally, we are against waste of gold and other metals, so we only use solid 14K or 18K gold because we want our pieces to last a lifetime and beyond.