Alternatives to Gold Jewelry

Gold is one of the most desirable precious metals used in fine jewelry and has been since ancient times. There just hasn't been another metal that can produce quite the same rich yellow hue. Though people love the look of gold jewelry, there may be some cases where regular karated gold just simply won't work for a particular design, whether it be an issue of affordability or flexibility.

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As a solution, several methods have been created to utilize gold in alternative ways. Ross-Simons is proud to offer a variety of gold designs to fit your particular needs and tastes.


Gold Plate

Typically found in fashion jewelry, as well as watches, gold plate is a base metal that is coated with a certain percentage of gold. Gold-plated jewelry will usually have a primary base of zinc, copper, nickel, or aluminum and sometimes brass or stainless steel. But is gold-plated jewelry good? Well that really all depends on what you want. Gold plate is a bit more fragile, but it does create the same look of a karated gold piece at an incredibly affordable price!

Most of our gold-plated jewelry is created through a process called electroplating. This method involves coating a base metal with .175 microns of gold, 10kt or higher, through an electrolytic process. Gold plate can also be achieved through mechanical plating and other techniques. The longevity of the plating depends on how thick the layer of gold is and how often the jewelry is worn.


Gold Over Sterling Silver

In fine jewelry, the most desirable kind of gold plating is gold over sterling silver, sometimes called "vermeil." Just as is sounds, vermeil is sterling silver that has been plated with a 14kt or 18kt gold in yellow, rose, or white. Gold over silver jewelry is more affordable than regular gold, but still provides a high-end look and feel.

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Gold Filled

Gold filled jewelry involves a sheet of karated gold which is bonded to a base metal through a mechanical process involving intense heat and pressure. It is fairly durable, resistant to tarnish, and costs much less than regular gold. Unlike gold plating, law requires that gold filled jewelry be at least 5% (1/20) karated gold.

Gold overlay and rolled gold plate (RGP) are alternate terms for the same gold filling process. Jewelry created with this technique will always be marked with the karat of gold used, as well as one of the terms (ex: 14kt RGP). If the layer of gold is less than the required 5%, the fraction of gold present should also be stamped on the piece (ex: 1/40 10kt gold overlay).


Bonded Gold

Bonded gold is a sheet of 14kt-18kt gold that has been permanently fixed to sterling silver through a special heat bonding process. Bonded gold is quite strong and long-lasting. Some people may choose bonded gold jewelry because is more affordable than regular gold, but is more durable then gold-plated or gold-filled jewelry.


Gold Over Resin

Our collection of gold over resin is called Andiamo 14kt gold jewelry. It is a true karated gold with a copper-plated resin core. This core makes the jewelry more durable and resistant to denting.


Gold Over Silicone

Gold over silicone jewelry is a karated gold or vermeil with a silicone core. Silicone is a rubber-like synthetic polymer, which gives slight flexibility to a piece of jewelry. Italy uses silicone in their flex gold jewelry, wrapping 14kt gold wire around a supple core of lightweight materials. Flex gold jewelry can be twisted and formed for ultimate versatility.


How to Clean Gold-Plated Jewelry

Gold plated jewelry should be handled with more care than regular gold jewelry. Avoid any chemicals or abrasives and clean simply a cotton swab. Shine with a microfiber cloth. Gold-plated jewelry with a sterling silver base should be cleaned regularly, as it could tarnish. Do not use any jewelry cleaners or brushes, as this could damage the plating. When you are not wearing your gold-plated jewelry, remember to store it safely in a fabric-lined jewelry box or its own Ross-Simon's presentation box.

The learn more about gold, visit our Gold Jewelry page.