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8/1/2008 | 1 MINUTE READ

THIN GOLD

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Both types of gold suffer the same discoloration. Do you have any suggestions for how to solve this problem?

Q. Our company manufactures jewelry that is used as accessories for dolls. The jewelry is gold plated but discolors when exposed to high humidity and moderately high temperature. Our plating vendors tell us that the parts are plated with either acid gold or micron gold. Both types of gold suffer the same discoloration.
Do you have any suggestions for how to solve this problem? I.M.

 

A. The type of plating you are outsourcing is of the type commonly used in the “costume jewelry” industry. The quality of the gold plate can vary greatly depending on what you specify and where the plating is coming from.

Put another way, gold plating is not necessarily gold plating! Your vendor may or may not be plating a barrier layer over the base metal castings. Classically, nickel has been used as a barrier layer but because of nickel allergies and environmental concerns other materials such as “white bronze” are now used. Also, your vendor may not be putting a thick enough deposit of gold on the pieces.

Acid gold is a type of plating bath. Micron gold usually refers to the thickness of the gold deposit. A micron gold is usually heavier than a flash gold and, all things being equal, should hold up better.

Based on the little information provided I can’t give you any definitive suggestions. Find out if your plater is using a barrier layer and the thickness of the gold deposited. It would be very helpful to know the various process steps, too.
 

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