Though there are many pendants on the market labelled as ‘gold’, a significant percentage of these will actually be gold-plated. These are undoubtedly a more cost-effective option and, in the case of gold-filling or rolled gold, can still closely represent the look of pure gold. However, they do not have the same lasting quality and value of solid gold jewellery. So which is the best option if you’re looking for gold pendants?
How are gold-plated pendants made?
Gold-plating is a way of fixing a very small amount of gold on the surface of a much cheaper and more robust base metal — commonly zinc, copper or nickel. The process is done through electroplating and the resulting layer of gold is very thin. If buying a gold-plated pendant, you might want to check if the chain is also plated, as this can wear off quite quickly if it’s worn often around the neck.
What about gold-filled pendants?
Gold-filling is a slightly different process in which the gold is bonded to the surface of the base metal by applying pressure and heat, causing a permanent fusion between the two substances. The percentage of gold in gold-filled or rolled gold pendants will be higher than gold-plated alternatives, but still only amounts to about 5 % of the pendant’s weight.
However, the amount of gold qualifies gold-filled jewellery to have a carat-stamp, telling the buyer how pure the bonded gold is.
What are the benefits of buying solid gold pendants?
Pure gold pendants and gold rings will naturally be much higher in price, according to the value of the material. But it isn’t just the face
value you are paying for when you purchase solid gold. The precious metal will not get damaged as gold-plating does and with due care and attention can withstand a lifetime of regular wear. Even gold-filled jewellery cannot reproduce a pure gold finish in the same way. You can also choose from the cheaper 9-karat options right up to the purest 24-karat pieces.
Each option has its merits, depending on your priorities. Gold-filling is a good compromise if you just want a piece of costume jewellery and gold-plated items are great for the budget-conscious. But when it comes to buying a pendant as a special gift, or splashing out on those all-important gold wedding rings, pure gold is hard to beat.