Protective Metal Plating: 5 Things to Know

When you are buying jewelry or any other material, you may want to know what is important about the topic. Plating has a variety of purposes. Whether you are trying to protect from weathering, corrosion, or just want an item to be more decorative, plating is hugely important.

Here are 5 things to be aware of when you are trying to understand what protective plating does.

1: Keep Your Metal from Tarnishing

tarnished jewelry


Many times you will have a ring or earring that is silver, but is plated in rhodium to keep some shine on your piece. The issue with rhodium is that it can be rubbed off. The plating will make sure that the item is safe from extended tarnish.

2: Decorative Appeal

gold plated earrings


Many times the plating will just be used to get more appeal. Many times items are plated in chrome to give some extra shine and appeal. The issue with chrome is that it doesn't weather well and can cause issues.

Most of the jewelry you will see that qualifies as "costume jewelry" will be brass plated in a finer metal. This is to improve the perceived value and showiness without increasing the price. The brass underneath would get ugly, but with a gold plating, your piece looks far better.

3: Corrosion Resistance

chrome plated cookwear


When you plate a piece of metal, depending on what you use, you will get increased corrosion resistance. This helps to make sure that whatever is underneath the plating is going to stay strong and resistant to damage. Corrosion resistance as a goal is frequently used in cookware to make sure they can stand repeated use.

4: Enhance the Hardness

silver plated jewelry


This approach is frequently used in jewelry that has a softer base metal. You can use the plating for both visual appeal or you can use it for increased hardness. When the base metal is something like gold or brass, it can be useful to put a protective plate on the piece to make it more scratch resistant. The drawback here, is that the plating can usually rub off quite easily.

5 Improve Paint Adhesion

gold painted earrings


When you have a piece of metal or jewelry that will be receiving a coat of paint, whether it be functional or decorative, paint adhesion is a huge issue. For example, most aluminums are incredibly difficult to paint. While relatively cheap, if you were to use it in a purpose that requires painting, you'd want to plate the item in something that can bond more easily.


In short, metal plating is done for a variety of reasons. Most of these reasons are functional, while some are purely decorative. At Lucy Nash, everything has a base of sterling silver, and from there we will sometimes add gold plating. the purpose is to get a beautiful gold look, while preserving an attainable price range.

For example, our gold bar stud earrings are a base of sterling silver with a gold plating. This gives our customers a great base metal that is incredibly durable and added a corrosion proof, beautiful gold plating.

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