All gold fashion jewelry is not created equal. Depending on how it’s manufactured, some cheap jewelry turns the wearers skin green, may cause an allergic reaction, or quickly lose its appeal; higher quality costume jewelry gives their owner many years of pleasure. What are the differences?
Gold fashion jewelry, or costume jewelry as it is sometimes known, is intended to be an attractive, but cheap jewelry alternative that reflects the broader current fashion trends. Because of its low price, people are able to afford a wide variety of fashion accessories to complement their wardrobes for a variety of occasions.
Trendy clothing fashion designs often require equally trendy fashion jewelry accessories which tend to go out of style as rapidly as they arrive. Many people feel it doesn’t make much sense to spend a lot of money on jewelry that will only be worn for one fashion season.
Cheap jewelry alternatives are not limited to the mainstream – the rich and famous wear them as well. It’s not unusual for them to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a piece of fine jewelry. To avoid theft, and to keep their insurance company happy, they often have a replica made of their expensive jewelry for everyday wear, while keeping the original safe in a vault.
Gold Fashion Jewelry Terms
Retailers in the USA who use the word “gold” to describe gold fashion jewelry are inaccurate, and in violation of federal law. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulations reserve the word “gold” for jewelry that is 24 karat (pure) gold. If the jewelry is not pure gold, then the purity must be disclosed next to the word “gold,” as in“14 karat gold.”
The correct, legal way to describe gold fashion jewelry, gold costume jewelry, and other types of gold fashion accessories is gold colored , gold plated, gold washed, gold flashed, gold electroplate, gold-filled, rolled gold plate, or gold overlay, depending on the manufacturing process that was used.
Gold Colored Fashion Jewelry
Gold colored jewelry is made from an alloy of different metals that are blended in a way to create a gold colored metal. This is very cheap jewelry that will like not endure long. Depending on the acidity level in the wearer’s skin and the metals used, it may stain or irritate the skin very quickly; if it gets wet, it could rust.
Gold Plated Fashion Jewelry
Gold plated jewelry is made from a base metal that is plated by any number of manufacturing processes with a layer of gold that has a purity of at least 10 karat. It’s a general term that encompasses all kinds of plating processes.
Gold washed and gold flashed jewelry is the thinnest gold plating possible. It’s often used in children’s jewelry and other cheap jewelry items that are considered “throw away.” The thickness of the gold plating is less than .175 microns, or about 1/100th the thickness of tissue paper. If worn often, this extremely thin gold layer will wear away quickly, causing skin stains or possible allergic reactions on the skin of those with allergies.
Gold electroplate jewelry is a step above gold washed and gold flashed. Its 10 karat gold (minimum purity) thickness is about three times the thickness of gold washed or gold flashed. It’s slightly better, and may last a little longer, but carries the same disadvantages of gold washed and gold flashed jewelry. Some gold electroplate is much thicker and designated as heavy gold electroplate (HGE). HGE is 2.5 microns thick, or about 1/10th the thickness of tissue paper.
Gold Filled Fashion Jewelry
Gold-filled, rolled gold plate, and gold overlay all produce the same result – a fairly high quality piece of gold fashion jewelry. The amount of gold contained in this type of jewelry is measured by the weight of the gold in proportion to the total weight of the jewelry. If a piece of Gold fashion jewelry is sold as gold-filled, rolled gold plate, or gold overlay the weight of the gold must be 1/20th of the total weight if the jewelry. If it is less than 1/20th, the jewelry must be marked with the actual percentage.
Gold-filled, rolled gold plate, and gold overlay jewelry is sold at the high end of the gold fashion jewelry price range and will often come with a warranty from the manufacturer.
Gold Plated Fashion Accessories
Gold colored, plated, and filled fashion accessories are a necessary part of the overall fashion world. The availability of this kind of jewelry makes one’s wardrobe more versatile and unique. Different gold fashion jewelry items can be combined with the same outfit to produce different effects, or two people can wear the same outfit, but accessorize them differently for a radically different look. Perhaps most importantly, because of the variety of gold fashion jewelry available, shopping for clothing is only half the fun. Once that perfect outfit has been purchased, the fun of accessorizing it for a variety of occasions is the icing on the cake.