A common question that we see among new customers is "What is the difference between Micron Plated and Electroplated Jewelry". We have developed this guide to help you understand the differences. There are a lot of variations in plating quality, techniques, processes and looks; as such it is not always easy to explain.
WHAT IS MICRO PLATED JEWELRY?
Micron plated jewelry is the process of applying a fine layer of micron-sized particles to a substrate using an electrochemical process. The term literally means "one micron thick" and refers to the thickness of the coating.
Benefits of micron plating include :
1. Tarnish resistance – this prevents oxidation from occurring on the surface of the jewelry, preventing tarnishing and corrosion, even in harsh environments.
2. Maintains a bright lustre – the application of micron plating enhances the brightness of metals. This is due to removing potentially dark-colored molecules or by creating an ultra smooth surface for light to reflect off of, creating a brighter finish with deeper shine (vs matte finishes).
WHAT IS ELECTROPLATED JEWELRY?
Electroplated jewelry is a process of applying thin, even layers of metal onto materials. An electrodeposition process deposits high quality, pure metals onto flexible and rigid substrates by passing a direct current through an electrolyte containing the metal to be deposited.
Benefits of electroplating:
Electroplating creates very thin, even coatings of metal which come in a large variety of thicknesses resulting in different lustre and brightnesses. This process is often used for surface finishing to create designs or patterns on jewelry.
WHAT IS ELECTROPLATED GOLD?
Electroplated gold is an electrodeposition process which uses gold as the metal deposited. The plating is very thin and even, resulting in a fine lustre finish.
DOES ELECTROPLATED JEWELRY TARNISH?
The answer is that it depends on the quality of the plating. High quality electroplated gold uses a very thin and even coating, which prevents oxygen from being able to reach deep into the metal and oxidize (rust) it. The plating is also 'sacrificial' in nature, meaning that any material lost through oxidation or wear is the plating, not the metal underneath.
DOES ELECTROPLATED GOLD TARNISH?
Similar to micron plated gold, it depends on the quality of electroplating. High quality electroplated gold uses a very thin and even coating which prevents oxygen from being able to reach deep into the metal and oxidize (rust) it – unlike low quality electroplated jewelry.
DOES ELECTROPLATED SILVER TARNISH?
It depends on the quality of electroplating. The thickness, quality and evenness will determine if your piece rusted or not.
HOW LONG DOES ELECTROPLATED JEWELRY LAST?
The answer is that it depends on how well you take care of it! Just like any other products, with proper care your plated jewelry item should last a long time.
To take care of your plated jewelry, avoid wearing it in water or exposing it to harsh chemicals. It is best to use soft cleaning cloth and wipe dry after each use. Place your piece in a plastic bag or airtight box when not using it.