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In present day, most people consider gold chains a luxury – reserved for those able to afford their outlandish price tags. When gold plated chains were initially introduced, it appeared as though the doors had opened for those unable to afford traditional chains. It turned out that the situation was anything but picture-perfect. A large number of the consumers who had originally purchased the plated chains complained of discoloration after regular use. Such discoloration was absolutely unacceptable, for it revealed the underlying metal which the chain was actually composed of.

Fortunately, some chain manufacturers decided gold plating   to clean up their act and equip their chains with a thicker plate. This thicker plate completely eliminated tarnishing problems and provided consumers with a long-lasting, authentic looking chain. Moisture buildup and temperature changes were no longer issues that plagued plated jewellery owners.

There a plethora of different gold plated chains currently available on the market, however, 18k gold plated chains allot consumers the most “bang for their buck.” For starters, these chains feature a plate made of very pure gold. The alloy which is used to plate these chains contains a very high concentration of gold in addition to a smaller concentration of another metal. Since gold is soft by nature, the presence of another metal works to increase the rigidity and durability of the plating. In the overall scheme of things, this equates to longer-lasting jewellery which consumers can enjoy on a constant basis – without fear of running into problems.

The high karat rating of these chains also translates into more color depth. You will find that your plated chain will, in many instances, look better than an actual gold chain. Most people will have an extremely difficult time trying to differentiate your 18k gold plated chain from an actual chain manufactured of gold.

Gold plated chains come in an array of different styles to please a spectrum of different tastes. Some popular chains feature the curb, figaro, marina, rope, and belcher styles. Regardless of what style you choose to sport, your 18k gold plated chain will look shockingly similar to a gold chain of a comparable style.

Gold plated chains have allotted many consumers the opportunity to experience an expensive, and sadly overlooked luxury. 18k gold plated chains leave the dazzling look of gold well within the financial reach of those who’ve always wanted to adorn timeless pieces of gold jewellery.

Solid gold is often not an option as it is so expensive, but gold-filled or gold-plated findings and earwires, which are more economic, are widely used by artisan jewellers. Gold-filled jewellery became popular in the early twentieth century, and its popularity increased again during the 1930s and 1940s as gold became scarce during the War. Gold-fill is sometimes referred to as ‘rolled gold’ or ‘gold-overlay.’ Gold-filled jewellery findings and earwires will stand up to a lot of wear and tear, whilst looking as good as solid gold.

The gold content is labelled as 10/20, 12/20, or 14/20 depending on the karat used, which in effect means that the outer 5% of the wire may be 10, 12, or 14 karat gold, which has been bonded to a base metal, such as brass, by heat and pressure. This results in high quality jewellery pieces that are economical to buy compared with solid gold, and much more durable than gold-plate.

Gold-filled jewellery pieces require no special care apart from carefully washing them in warm water occasionally, and wiping them clean with a soft cloth. Avoiding chlorine, salt water, and detergent liquids and soaps will also help to maintain the jewellery.

A thin layer of gold is added to the base metal, usually copper or silver, by an electrochemical process. If nickel is also added to the base metal it produces a stronger item that is slower to tarnish. However, many people are allergic to nickel and so care should be taken when buying a piece of gold-plated jewellery for a friend or family member.

As the layer of gold plate is thin, the finished piece will be less durable than the gold-filled option, and the jewellery will not stand up to as much wear and tear. It is suitable for making earrings and necklaces, but maybe not so good for bracelets and rings.

There are also different shades of gold plate, some of which are very ‘yellow’ and shiny. I use a lot of ‘champagne’ gold plate in my jewellery as this is a lovely soft shade of gold, halfway between gold and silver in colour. It looks very subtle and allows the beads to become the focus of attention, whilst also being an economical option.



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