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Is Plated Jewelry Worth Buying?

Written by Annabelle
May 7, 2020

Plated jewelry is easily the most available form of jewelry on the market at the moment, and with good reason. This type of jewelry allows for you to wear designs that look like solid gold without throwing out even close to a quarter of the cost for actual fine jewelry. However, is plated jewelry worth buying? Read on to learn more.

What is Plated Jewelry?


A ring before and after plating.

Plated jewelry is the general term referring to jewelry that has gold, silver, rhodium, or any type of precious metal plated over the base metal. As a result, this means that the item is not “solid” gold; it is similar to a cover of paint over another material.

Plated jewelry is very popular for designers due to its lower manufacturing cost, which also allows them to sell their items at a more affordable price point. This has significantly increased the availability of plated jewelry on the market.

Pros of Plated Jewelry

Aside from its great price, plated jewelry has a wider range of available designs due to its low manufacturing cost. Designers are more likely to produce and experiment using plated jewelry, giving you more options to browse from. In addition, the plating of fine metals over base metals such as brass, copper, or other commercial alloys can make plated jewelry hypoallergenic for certain people with jewelry allergies, as there is a buffer between the skin and the actual base metal that’s causing the irritation. 

Cons of Plated Jewelry


This gold-plated tungsten ring is showing the metal's color under the engraving. This metal cannot be sized.

Repairing plated jewelry can be more of a headache than it’s worth. The gold plating process is very expensive and may be far more than what you paid for the item. In addition, sizing or doing any kind of metal work to plated jewelry will remove the plating. This means that not only do you have to pay for the repair, but you also need to pay for the plating cost after the repair in order to restore the original look of the item. 

In addition to that, some metals that are gold plated are not even conducive to metalwork. Cheap costume jewelry that contains zinc, lead, or pewter are extremely difficult for a regular jeweler to solder and the job often can’t be done. 

Should You Buy Plated Jewelry?

After weighing the pros and cons, here’s our take on whether or not plated jewelry is worth it. If it’s a good thick plating over a credible metal such as sterling silver and you’re careful about maintaining the plating, it’s worth buying if you really like the design. As with all fragile jewelry, you just need to remember that plated jewelry requires maintenance and care due to its construction. 

For items like earrings and necklaces, we recommend buying these over items such as rings and bracelets. Items worn on your hand will wear out much faster than earrings and necklaces due to constant exposure to abrasion from all the objects you touch.

Now you’re up to date on whether plated jewelry is worth buying. If you have something you want to get fixed, comment below and we’ll help you out!

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