All About Gold Plating / Micron Plating
What is Gold Plating
This is a process in which any metal or silver based jewelry is coated with a thin layer of real gold (of a particular gold carat) through electroplating or mechanical sheathing. Plating is done on jewelry to keep the product price more affordable while achieving the beautiful appearance same as solid gold jewelry. As the jewelry is only layered with real Gold, its durability completely depends on the thickness of plated layer.
Measuring Unit for gold plating
The commonly used term for discussing the thickness gold plating is "micron". One "micron" is about 40 times greater than a "micro-inch" / Gold flash.
One micro inch = one millionth of an inch
½ micron (20 micro-inches) is the minimum thickness to qualify a plating to be referred to / sold as “micron plating”
Why is plating done
- Rhodium plating on silver items is done to protect silver jewelry from oxidization.
- Rhodium plating on gold items provides shiny finish as chromium to the white gold jewelry.
- Is also done to hide welding points.
- To give silver or other metal based jewelry, a lovely real gold look/finish, which makes it more affordable option as compared to solid gold jewelry.
- To achieve any specific gold tones according to market/fashion trends (different tones of yellow gold, rose gold etc).
Types of gold plating
- Gold Wash/Flashed – When you hear term simply ‘gold plated jewelry’, this is the type of plating that’s being referred to. Gold wash/ gold Flashed jewelry items are those which are dipped in gold bath just enough to give an article a gold color and even finish. This is extremely thin coating.
- Micron Plating – When the gold coating thickness is above 0.5microns, it is referred to as ‘micron plating'. During this process the article is first given a layer of rhodium plating for a good shine & durability of the next layer (real gold). Also note that the base metal molecules can slowly get transferred on to the real gold breaking it down, so this extra layer is very important to give better grip to next layer (real gold layer). As a next step the article is immersed in real gold bath (of pre decided carat) and it remains there until a while, till the gold layer thickness as per the required micron plating is achieved. This is monitored / recorded through a device which is part of the plating apparatus. This type of gold plating can have life up to year(s), before it requires any professional maintenance / re-plating. While micron plating starts from ½ micron & above, at Nirwaana, when we refer our jewelry as micron plated, we have given it “1 micron plating” of “18 carat gold”, which is high enough in quality if you are not wearing the same piece of jewel every single day, all through the year. This form of plating can go upto 2.5microns.
- When the plating thickness exceeds to level 3-5microns, the jewels are then referred to as Vermeil Jewelry.
Metals that can most commonly be plated
Copper, Brass, Steel, Silver/Sterling silver amongst others.
Tips on how to clean, care & store your plated jewelry
You need to be extra careful while handling your plated jewelry, to be able to use it for the longest time, in its best condition.
- As any other jewelry, the first rule applies here as well. Wear your plated jewelry last, after you’ve used your perfume/ deo spray / applied your makeup or lotions & given enough time for them to get absorbed into your skin.
- Remove your jewelry while going for a workout or swimming as the body sweat, seawater (due to salt content), pool water (chlorine content) can damage the plating.
- Your plated jewelry should not come in contact with nail paints, nail paint remover, shower gel, shampoo etc as these will tarnish the jewelry. Hence plan your chores involving these products, once you’ve removed your plated jewelry.
- After every use, clean your plated jewelry with a very soft cloth to remove any dirt. If the jewelry requires deeper cleaning, use warm water. Strictly do not use any cleaners.
- To Store, put each plated jewelry piece in a air tight pouch or wrap it in cotton cloth and then place it in a separate compartment or box, separated from other jewelry pieces which can scratch the plated surface easily, causing damages.
- Your old plated jewelry that might require refurbishing, please take professional help for re-plating.
All Nirwaana styles which have micron plating, can be sent back to us for re-plating. Please refer our section “After Sales Services” for same.