So, you’re trying to decide if micro-plated jewelry is better than electroplated jewelry? Both have their pros and cons, but which one is right for you? Here’s a breakdown of the differences between micron plating and electroplating:
WHAT IS MICRO PLATED JEWELRY?
Micron plating 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 micro plating include :
1. It is tarnish resistant. This plating process prevents oxidation from occurring on the surface of the jewelry, preventing tarnishing and corrosion, even in harsh environments.
2. It 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?
Electroplating 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.
CAN MICRO-PLATED JEWELRY BE REPLATED?
Many people ask if micro-plated jewelry pieces are able to be replated. The answer is yes, they are easily replated. However, the quality of the replating may not be as good as the original plating if you come across a plating house that only uses flash plating techniques. It is always a good idea to have your micro-plated items replated by a professional jeweler specializing in micron plating techniques in order to avoid this.
CAN A MICRO-PLATED RING BE RESIZED?
Yes, a micron-plated ring is easily resized. Just like solid gold, silver and platinum jewelry it should not break if you take it to a professional jeweler for resizing.
Most jobs are completed in a day or two, so that your ring(s) are ready by the next business day. The length of time depends on the number of rings being resized, the change in size and intricacy of their surface designs.
CAN MICRO-PLATED JEWELRY GET WET?
Yes, micro-plated jewelry pieces can get wet; however, you will want to avoid submerging it in water for an extended period of time.
HOW TO CLEAN MICRO-PLATED PIECES?
To clean your micro-plated items, simply use a soft polishing cloth to wipe away any dirt or debris.
IS MICRO PLATING MORE EXPENSIVE THAN ELECTROPLATING?
The cost of micron plating is typically more expensive than electroplating. The reason for this is that the micro plating process requires more time and effort to complete, resulting in a higher cost overall. However, the end result is a more durable and longer-lasting finish, making it a better investment in the long run.
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 micro 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 pieces.
HOW LONG DOES ELECTROPLATED JEWELRY LAST?
The lifespan of electroplated pieces varies depending on the type and thickness of the plating. Most pieces will last for a few years before the plating begins to wear off. However, micro-plated lasts for much longer with proper care.
HOW TO CARE FOR ELECTROPLATED JEWELRY?
To take care of your electroplated pieces, avoid wearing them in water or exposing them to harsh chemicals. It is best to use a soft cleaning cloth and wipe dry after each use. Place your piece in a sealed poly bag or airtight box when not wearing it.