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Stainless Steel Gold Jewelry: A Better Choice

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PVD Gold Plated Jewelry

Stainless steel gold jewelry is a rising star in the jewelry market for both its durability and budget-friendliness. While many still have doubts on whether stainless steel is a good enough material for jewelry, we will unveil its secret in the following content.

In this article, we will share everything you need to know about stainless steel gold jewelry, its characteristics, differences from other jewelry types, and some caring & maintenance tips.

What is Stainless Steel Gold Jewelry?

Stainless steel is a composition of various metals, such as iron, carbon, and chromium. Every stainless steel contains at least 10.5% of chromium, which forms a protective oxidative layer on the metal surface. This makes it highly resistant to rust, corrosion, and tarnishing. Hence, it is a better choice for jewelry, especially those worn regularly or come in contact with water frequently.

Stainless steel gold jewelry, on the other hand, is formed from stainless steel that is plated with a layer of gold. This type of jewelry stands out, as it combines the durability and affordability of stainless steel with the aesthetic appeal of gold.

PVD Gold Plating for Stainless Steel Jewelry

There are several methods of plating gold on stainless steel, but the most effective and sustainable option is Physical Vapor Deposition (PVD).

Jewelry PVD technology lasts ten times longer than traditional plating methods like electroplating and it’s more sustainable, as it produces less waste and pollution. It’s popularly revered for its versatility and high-quality finish for various jewelry designs.

Different Karat Gold PVD Plating

PVD plating can use different karat to achieve varying hardness and color of stainless steel gold jewelry, such as:

  • 24K: Also known as pure gold because it’s composed of 100% gold. It’s soft and prone to scratches, but the PVD process helps to increase its durability. Overall, it has a rich, bright yellow color that blends with luxurious outfits.
  • 18K: Contains 75% pure gold with 25% other metals, such as copper and silver. Because of the mixture of metals, it’s tougher than 24K, making it a popular choice for jewelry. It has a deep yellow color that’s very appealing but not as much as 24K.
  • 14K: Contains 58.3% pure gold with 41.7% other metals. Because of the increased percentage of metals, it is stronger and more durable than 18K and 24K. This makes it a great choice for jewelry, which will be worn more frequently under extreme conditions. Overall, it has a lighter yellow color with a subtle tone.
  • 10K: Contains 41.7% pure gold with 58.3 other metals. It is the toughest and most durable karat gold PVD plating. While it can survive scratches and wear more, it’s less appealing because it contains a higher percentage of other metals.
PVD Gold Plated Jewelry

Is Gold-plated Stainless Steel Good for Jewelry?

You might be wondering: is stainless steel gold real or fake? Is gold-plated stainless steel good to make jewelry from? How does it outclass the other jewelry types I’m used to?

The answer is YES, gold plated stainless steel is real and it’s good to make jewelry. It’s the perfect material for jewelry pieces that ticks all boxes, such as beauty, longevity, affordability, etc.

Does Gold Stainless Steel Jewelry Rust?

Just like most jewelry, does stainless steel gold jewelry fade & tarnish? No, it does not fade, corrode, or rust.

First, 316L stainless steel jewelry is inherently capable of withstanding extreme conditions due to its chromium content, which forms a protective layer on the metal’s surface. This is further enhanced with PVD gold plating serving as an additional protective layer, making the jewelry completely rust-free.

Is Stainless Steel Gold Jewelry Waterproof?

Yes, gold-plated stainless steel jewelry is waterproof. However, it cannot survive long-term soaking in water.

This means it can handle occasional contact with water, such as washing hands or splashes of water. But continuous exposure to water can wear off the gold plating over time. This makes the stainless steel underneath exposed to direct danger.

Can You Shower with Gold-plated Stainless Steel Jewelry?

As a professional stainless steel gold jewelry manufacturer, we do not recommend taking a shower with your gold-plated stainless steel jewelry. This is because of your personal care products like shampoo, body wash, lotion, etc. They contain harsh chemicals that can damage the protective layer created by the PVD plating and chromium content in your jewelry, resulting in tarnishing and discoloration.

Stainless Steel Gold vs Gold-Plated

TechnicsPVD gold Gold platingGold Vermeil Gold Filled
Base MetalStainless steel Brass / SilverBrass / SilverBrass / Silver
Coating thickness0.3 < x  ≤ 0.6 micron0.03 < x ≤ 0.5 micron0.5 < x ≤ 3 micronx > 3 micron
Color & Shine Duration1-3 years6-12 Months1-2 Years3-5 Years

What about Sterling Silver Plated Gold?

Just like stainless steel, sterling silver can also be plated with gold. However, these two metals are different in many ways.

Firstly, sterling silver is a metal alloy of 92.5% silver and 7.5% other metals, such as copper. Stainless steel, on the other hand, is a composition of various metals, including iron, chromium, nickel, etc.

Sterling silver is lighter than stainless steel, making it more prone to scratches and dents. With exposure to air and moisture, it will tarnish over time.

Sterling Silver Gold-plated Chain

Stainless Steel vs. Sterling Silver

Here’s a detailed difference between both metals and how they react to gold plating:

Stainless SteelSterling Silver
Composition and PropertiesAn alloy of iron, chromium, and nickel92.5% pure silver, 7.5% metal alloy
DurabilityHighly durable and resistant to scratching and dentingProne to denting and chipping
CorrosionCorrosion-resistantProne to tarnishing over time
PriceMore affordable than sterling silverMore expensive than stainless steel
LusterSoft luster with a grayish-blue hueShinier and reflective with yellow-white undertones
Care & MaintenanceLow-maintenance careRegular cleaning and polishing practices
FlexibilityRigid and stiffMalleable and flexible
When Plated in GoldBudget-friendly, suitable for minimalist or simple designs.Costly, suitable for complex designs

Tips to Care for Gold Stainless Steel Jewelry

Caring for stainless steel gold jewelry is important in maintaining its appearance and durability. Below are some tips to help you maintain and preserve your jewelry beauty for many years:

  • Use a soft cloth dampened with water or a mild soap solution to clean the piece gently. Do not use harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners that could damage the PVD plating.
  • Ensure you keep your jewelry in a safe space where no sharp objects could cause scratches. You can store it in a segmented jewelry box or soft pouch.
  • Avoid prolonged contact with water. This includes removing your jewelry before taking a shower or swimming.
  • If it becomes dull or loses its shine, polish it with a special polishing cloth made of stainless steel or take it to a professional for efficient polishing.

Know these before Choosing Stainless Steel for Your Jewelry Line

Stainless Steel Stud-earrings

Before choosing gold-plated stainless steel jewelry for your beauty and fashion line, there are several points you should consider. They include:

Stainless Steel is NOT for Complex Designs

Stainless steel is naturally harder than brass, silver, and gold. Therefore, it is not suitable for jewelry that has complex designs. Stainless steel is not flexible, making it difficult to bend and shape into intricate patterns.

Stainless Steel is more Budget-friendly

Compared with other popular jewelry materials like gold and silver, stainless steel is more affordable. This makes it a cost-effective option for jewelry enthusiasts, especially individuals with a slim budget. Overall, it offers a look of luxury and elegance without the high price tag.

Stainless Steel is NOT Hypoallergenic without Coating

Stainless steel often contains nickel, a major metal that people are allergic to. It’s known for causing skin redness, itching, and rashes. Thus, stainless steel is not ideal for everyone, especially those with sensitive skin. But with coating, such as PVD plating, the metal surface can be entirely covered, making it safer and hypoallergenic for everyone to wear.

stainless steel rings with stones

Key Takeaway

In summary, stainless steel is the perfect raw material for making jewelry because of its friendly price and hardness. Then, when plated with gold, it becomes beautiful and lustrous.

Gold-plated stainless steel jewelry combines affordability, strength, and beauty. If you are looking for jewelry that fits all dresses and is perfect for all occasions, contact a professional stainless steel jewelry manufacturer to make you the best piece.

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