Wondering if there are measures you could take to protect your fake jewelry or maybe just make them last longer? Or even to enhance the appearance of that fake jewelry that is starting to lose its color?
Well, this article shares insights into everything you need to know about replating fake jewelry for the pieces of jewelry to last longer.
Actionable Tips for re-plating your fake jewelry
Before look at the tips for protecting your fake jewelry, the first thing you need to know is that the best thing you could do for your cheap fake jewelry to last long would be protection. You need to keep the jewelry from conditions that would otherwise deteriorate the fake jewelry.
This is an important consideration because fake, fashion, or costume jewelry isn’t the ‘good stuff, and this kind of jewelry is prone to damage, even as exposure to the air and chemicals in your cosmetic products increase the rate at which the jewelry tarnishes, leaving you with jewelry that develops and leaves black or green marks on not just your skin, but also your clothing.
Unfortunately, nothing will stop the jewelry from eventually tarnishing. And in as much as the cheap jewelry looks all shiny and nice at the moment, the only way to protect or preserve the shine of the jewelry is through plating the jewelry in a metal that adds life to that jewelry for a few more months.
If you choose to get the fake jewelry pieces replated, here are some of the things you should know:
1.Understand the basics of electroplating
Electroplating is the process that allows for the addition of a layer of a highly desirable metal onto the base metal that makes up jewelry. The electroplating process involves the passage of current through the plating liquid and the differences in charges, along with the electronic forces, resulting in the bonding of metals like gold, rhodium, or sterling silver/ silver on cheaper base metals.
If well cared for, and depending on the thickness of the plating metal, your pieces of fake jewelry may last a lot longer once they have been plated.
Here are the main types of electroplating for jewelry:
Gold plating/ electroplating – this is a comprehensive process that is commonly used to touch up costume jewelry that was previously gold plated, giving the jewelry an improved and more lustrous appearance.
Rose Gold Plating – this involves the coating of jewelry with a very thin layer of rose gold, giving the metal being plated more color.
Silver plating – as the name suggests, it involves the addition of a coat of silver, and it’s commonly done on costume jewelry with inexpensive base metals like copper or brass.
Rhodium plating – this not only introduces a new layer of rhodium on white gold or sterling silver but also enhances the strength and the durability of the fashion jewelry, allowing you to wear the jewelry every day without worrying about the lustrous silvery metal finish wearing off.
Nickel is used in gold plating.
Electroplating jewelry is not a straightforward process, and in addition to the thorough cleaning of the pieces to be plated and the removal of all contaminants, the base metal is often bonded with a layer of platinum before the layer of gold is added. Nickel is applied to prevent the leaching of the base metal onto the gold plated layer, and it also prevents the contamination of gold by the base metal while ensuring easy bonding of the gold to the base metal. So, if you are allergic to nickel, beware of the high risk of nickel allergies once the layer of gold starts to wear off.
2.Thickness of the metal (gold) plating
In the ideal cases, the thickness of the gold plating ranges from 0.5 microns to about 1.0 microns. Most plated pieces, however, contain .17 microns of gold plating. This will last for a few months, but only if the jewelry is not exposed to rough wear.
So, to ensure that the gold-plated piece of fashion jewelry lasts longer, you might want to insist on plating with a 2.5microm layer, hence heavily plated fake jewelry. If this jewelry is worn occasionally, then it will last a long time.
3.Replating jewelry with tarnish-resistant metals
For the best value and for your re-plated jewelry to last long, it’s wise to get the pieces plated with metals that will not tarnish or be corroded easily. What this means is that you could opt for plating with rhodium because it’s non-reactive, and it will retain a lustrous finish for a long period.
If the jewelry is getting plated with gold, the use of nickel before gold plating is important, and it will slow down the rate of tarnishing or how fast the jewelry wears out. But, as mentioned above, the use of nickel means that there will be a higher risk of irritation once the gold layer starts to tarnish.
4.Effects of plating on the value of fake jewelry
22K gold plated jewelry, for example, has a very bright look, while solid gold is not bright. This is the most common way of identifying fake, gold-plated jewelry. But there’s one thing you should know about the plated jewelry – that even with the plating of the jewelry using 18k or 22k gold, the value of the jewelry won’t be much, meaning that you hardly make money from selling costume jewelry.
5.What’s the right time to re-plate your fake gold jewelry?
Well, you should get the jewelry re-plated as soon as you notice some unevenness in the color tone of the jewelry or if you notice flaking from that piece of jewelry.
Besides determining the metal to plate jewelry and its thickness, the jewelry to be plated must be cleaned thoroughly.
In case of extreme greasing or the presence of polishing compounds that might be hidden in the crevices, it’s recommended to clean the jewelry ultrasonically.
An acid bath might also come in handy where the jewelry needs to be bleached.