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Jewelry can be plated with gold in a variety of ways. Gold plate refers to items that are either mechanically plated, electroplated, or plated by any other means with gold to a base metal. Eventually, gold plating wears away, but how soon will depend on how often item is worn and how thick plating is.
Gold-filled, gold overlay and rolled gold plate are terms used to describe jewelry that has a layer of at least 10 karat gold mechanically bonded to a base metal. If jewelry is marked with one of these terms, term or abbreviation should follow karat quality of gold used (for example, 14K Gold Overlay or 12K RGP). If layer of karat gold is less than 1/20th of total weight of item, any marking must state actual percentage of karat gold, such as 1/40 14K Gold Overlay.
Gold electroplate describes jewelry that has a layer (at least .175 microns thick) of a minimum of 10 karat gold deposited on a base metal by an electrolytic process. The terms gold flashed or gold washed describe products that have an extremely thin electroplating of gold (less than .175 microns thick). This will wear away more quickly than gold plate, gold-filled or gold electroplate.
The Authors of the above Article, Sam and Tami Serio have been passionately involved with Jewelry and Gemstones for over fifteen-years. You are cordially invited to visit http://www.morninglightjewelry.com for a wealth of information about the fascinating world of Jewelry and Gemstones. Together they also shelter 20 abandoned and abused dogs & cats. A portion of their profits goes to the care and feeding of the animals.