Gold Plated Brass vs. Sterling Silver (Which One Should You Choose?)

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Gold Plated Brass vs. Sterling Silver (Who Wins?)The search for the best jewelry and metals used in jewelry making can be a little confusing, especially if you are particular about what goes into your body, what you are paying for, and whether the jewelry is worth much.

To make sure that you make the right choice, you have to understand what metals are used to make the jewelry.

Today, we’ll take a look at two of the most common metals used in jewelry making, specifically, sterling silver and also gold-plated brass, and what the differences are, also which of the two is a preferable option.


What is gold-plated brass jewelry?

Brass is one of the most popular cheap metals used in jewelry making, and it has been used for decades across the world in making not just jewelry but also some of the most outstanding ornaments.

Gold Plated Brass vs. Sterling Silver

Brass is, as a result, a staple in the jewelry-making world. It is forged out of copper and zinc, and the resultant natural alloy is strong, durable, and its natural luster makes it one of the most unique but common metals used in jewelry.

Once it’s polished, brass doesn’t tarnish, hence easy to maintain. And given its inexpensiveness and the durability of brass, it’s used commonly in bridge or fashion jewelry.

But like all other metals used in jewelry making, brass isn’t hypoallergenic, and it’s not a good fit for individuals with sensitive skin. This metal alloy causes skin rashes and reactions, whether polished or unfinished. Hence the development of the gold-plated variants.

Through gold plating, which is a process that involves the addition of a metal or alloy on another metal, brass has a gold-plating meaning that a layer of gold is added to the brass. Just keep in mind that the gold layer added to the brass is ultrathin.

Thanks to the design of the gold plated brass, these plated pieces are affordable, and you can easily afford an 18k gold plated brass piece. Electroplating allows for the addition of a gold layer, specifically, 0.5 microns of gold and, if heavily-plated, 2.5 microns.

Therefore, as the name suggests, the gold plated brass jewelry refers to brass jewelry dipped in a gold bath, then bonded together when an electric current is passed through. The resultant electrochemical reaction is what causes the gold to be deposited on the brass.


What is gold-plated silver jewelry?

Gold Plated Brass vs. Sterling Silver

Gold plated sterling silver jewelry can be defined as jewelry that features a gold layer on top of sterling silver. This jewelry is made with a layer of gold layer over the sterling silver. The thickness of that layer of gold will vary based on the desired effect.

The gold plating process for sterling silver along with other silver alloys is a process that results in a material referred to as gilt silver. That said, covering silver objects with gold completely also creates a product called gold vermeil.

For gold-plated pieces and vermeils, vermeils apply only to plated pieces with a minimum of 10k gold with a 2.5-micron thickness. The gold will be applied to the silver surface through electroplating – and a product only qualifies as vermeil if the base metal is silver or sterling silver.

Keep in mind that gold-plated pieces with plating only on specific parts are known as parcel gilts.


Pros and cons of gold plated brass.

Gold Plated Brass vs. Sterling Silver


  • Beautiful and elegant
  • It looks just like the real thing.
  • Affordable
  • Plated pieces made with higher karat gold last a while


  • It turns the skin green.
  • It will tarnish after a few months.
  • Pros and cons of gold plated silver.


Pros and cons of gold plated silver

Gold Plated Brass vs. Sterling Silver


  • Beautiful
  • It looks like the real thing.
  • Valuable


  • It will wear off after some time.
  • It develops a black tarnish and fades.


Choosing between the two?

Gold Plated Brass vs. Sterling Silver

While there is a high likelihood of these types of jewelry tarnishing and even turn your fingers green, one is a preferable option to the other.

If you are looking for a type of gold plated jewelry that will last longer and maybe even allow you to pawn it off when needed, the gold plated piece might be a preferable option because you would be buying a piece of jewelry made of two precious metals that are valuable. Although the gold layer is too thin, it still adds value to the jewelry, as long as it’s made of high-quality sterling silver.

But if you want a piece that looks great, even if it’s not worth much, but is affordable, then the gold-plated brass pieces would be a great option for you.



At the end of the day, you have many options, but your decisions are driven by your preferences, and in most cases, budget.

Gold plated sterling silver is worth more and costs more, as a result, and it would be a great option for you if you need something simple but valuable.

If you want to save money on gold-plated pieces, then the gold-plated brass jewelry would suit you.

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