You’ve just bought gold plated brass jewelry. or you want to buy one. You’re now considered how long it will last. Here, we’re going to answer some commonly asked questions about this kind of jewelry.
What does gold plated brass mean?
First, let’s get into what plated means, given that is the keyword here. Plating is a process where a piece of jewelry made from a metal or alloy and put another layer of metal on it.
Therefore, here, brass is the metal underneath, and gold is the metal that covers it. That is what we mean by gold plated brass. When you see something is plated, like here, it doesn’t mean that it is half gold and half brass. The layer of the gold put is quite thin.
That makes the jewelry cheaper than buying the actual thing. You might not be able to afford a gold bracelet, but you can provide a brass one with a layer of gold added.
That process is known as electroplating. For an item to be considered gold-plated, according to the Federal Trade Commission, is 0.5 microns of gold, while heavily gold plated stands at 2.5 microns.
After, the item gets shot with an electric current, causing an electrochemical reacting that then deposits the layer of gold on the item. The primary reason people purchase plated jewelry is that it is somewhat of an imitation of the real thing, and unless there’s fading, no one can ever know that it’s not real gold.
While that all sounds perfect, there is a drawback with plating. It is guaranteed that the metal coating the metal at the base will eventually wear away.
That is why you want to invest in plated jewelry that has a thicker layer of, for example, gold. That way, you’re able to wear it for long before the lower layer becomes apparent.
If it’s a beloved piece of jewelry, you want to spare it for special occasions so that you keep it newer for longer.
Can brass be gold plated?
It is common practice for those in the industry to use nickel or copper to plate the brass to give it strength and reduce the tarnishing consecutively.
If you have brass jewelry that you want to be plated, you can take it to the jeweler, and they’ll be able to do it for you. It is easier for them when the item has not been plated before.
You can talk to them about the thickness that you need to achieve the desired effect. That does mean parting with more money than you might anticipate.
The price of gold is not low, so you have to do your budgeting with the jeweler.
Do note that even when that happens, you have to know that it will not hold as well, for example, like silver or titanium.
Therefore, you have to decide if it is worth the investment to gold plate your nickel or do that to another metal instead.
Does gold plated brass fade?
As mentioned, the gold plated brass jewelry will fade, or rather, tarnish. Gold itself does not tarnish, but when it is plated, it does tarnish over time.
The metal at the bottom will eventually show after a while, and it too will begin to discolor. The reason for the tarnishing is because the molecules of the base metal transfer to the gold and thus causing the layer to break down.
Gold plated brass does not only fade, but it can also get starched or chipped.
Gold alone is not strong; 24k gold is soft and not best for making jewelry because it is too malleable. That is why the recommended karats you ought to go are 18k and 14k.
They are alloy gold with copper or rhodium that strengthens the metal enough to withstand everyday wear.
That said, the gold you have will start to chip or flake off because it is naturally soft. The other reason is that the gold is thin and also not durable.
You might want gold plated jewelry, but you have to be aware that it is soft, and any mishandling or excessive wear with cause it to tarnish.
For it to last, you might have to opt for a gold alloy plated brass mixed with stronger metals for durability purposes.
How long does gold plated brass last?
How long your jewelry will last depends on a couple of things. The first is how then the layer of gold is.
If it is heavily plated, then it will last longer than the 0.5 microns of gold. You may want to ask the jeweler or manufacturer how much gold has gotten used to plate the item.
If you’re going to have the brass plated, you then want to ask for a layer of more gold to get added for the piece to last.
The other factor that will determine how long the piece lasts is how often you wear it. Gold plated jewelry, as we have already established, is soft and prone to chipping and scratching.
You, therefore, have to be mindful of when and where you wear the jewelry to. They are perfect for a fancy occasion where you want to show off your pieces.
Otherwise, you want to store them away in Ziploc bag or a soft jewelry bag by itself.
Does gold plated brass turn skin green?
Yes. It happens. Brass is a combination often of copper and zinc, the former of which known for making your skin turn green.
Initially, your skin will not change color because of the plating. However, after oxidation and overall tarnish, you’ll begin to notice the green color.
Is it gold plated brass worth the investment? That entirely depends on what you’re looking for. However, before it begins to tarnish, it would have given you excellent service.