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Gold Alternatives. Why We are Against Gold plated, Gold-filled, or 9K and 10K Gold Jewellery

Updated: Apr 25, 2023

Gold plating is a method of covering another type of metal (base metal) with a very thin film of pure gold by electroplating it. There is usually around 0.5 - 6 microns of gold on plated jewellery, which is in fact an ultra thin layer! The main downside of plated jewellery is that the gold finish won’t last - it can chip, fade and tarnish easily. Sometimes all it takes is a finger swipe once or twice to remove the gold. Often, even brand new gold plated jewellery is not made well enough to pass for solid gold, which makes it look fake. The gold on plated items is so little, it is virtually worthless. As a result, gold plated jewellery is usually the most affordable (some brands, however, may charge you nearly as much for gold plated jewellery as other brands charge for solid gold jewellery). So, while it is very cheap to make, it is still not free for customers to buy. However, gold plated jewellery will have to be thrown away very soon because its appearance will become inappropriate. Generally, because of its very limited lifespan gold plated jewellery cannot be considered a wise investment. Additionally, it creates a lot of unnecessary waste for the planet.

Gold-filled jewellery is jewellery composed of a solid layer of gold (typically constituting at least 5% of the item's total weight) mechanically bonded to a base metal. The related terms rolled gold plate and gold overlay may be used if the layer of gold constitutes less than 5% of the item's weight. Most high quality gold-filled pieces have the same appearance as high karat gold, and gold-filled items, even with daily wear, can last 10 to 30 years, but the layer of gold will eventually wear off exposing the metal underneath. Gold-filled jewellery may sound like a good idea but in fact it can be so pricey that for slightly more one could afford a solid gold piece. Gold-filled jewellery doesn't last forever, can't be passed on to new generations or remade into new jewellery, so eventually it will drop its value to 0 and end up like gold plated jewellery on a landfill.

9K and 10K gold jewellery is an alloy of pure gold with other metals (see this article). It's cheaper than higher karat gold (e.g. 14K or 18K), but still quite pricey and the main drawback is that due to small content of gold, pieces made of 9K or 10K gold will tarnish. We consider 9K and 10K gold to be a waste of pure gold, because while it contains some gold, it doesn't behave like one. There are base metals that can also give a look similar to gold (e.g. brass), why to waste gold? 9K and 10K gold may also look cheap and doesn't hold its value. 

Solid 14K or 18K gold jewellery is the most valuable form of jewellery you can buy (besides platinum). Purity of gold is expressed as karats. The purest form of gold is expressed as 24K and it is very yellow in colour and very soft in texture. Due to softness, pure gold is often mixed with other metals to make it more durable for the purposes of wearing it as jewellery and 14K or 18K gold is created. Gold is one of the most valuable resources in the world and will last you a very long time as long as it's cared for properly and it will hold its value for years to come. Solid gold is the most superior metal because it is the most durable, valuable and least irritating to those that have allergies to base metals. However, solid high karat gold will be more expensive than plated or filled metals or lower karat gold, tat is the reason why those alternatives were created in the first place.

We only make solid 14K and 18K gold jewellery and sell it at very affordable prices. We want our pieces to be the highest quality and the most exquisite but still affordable. Not all jewellery can be called fine jewellery, as a definition, 'fine' means to be of superior or best quality and we truly aim to make only fine jewellery. However, price does not have to define quality and we are fully aware of that. What high price usually means is that one pays for the brand name and marketing expenses of the brand. Brands could also choose to be more customer friendly and charge a "fairer" price, most of them don't, however, Valeria's Secret is fundamentally different. We do not want to offer cheaper alternatives of gold to make jewellery more affordable either because we know that they are not ethical and were created to cut the costs of manufacturers rather than with care for the planet and customers. We also know how very sad it is when your favourite piece of jewellery changes its appearance and turns into a worthless ugly piece. We do not want our customers to have this experience. We are against the waste of gold and other metals, so we only use solid 14K or 18K gold because we want our pieces to last a lifetime and beyond but it does not have to cost you a fortune!

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