A trick of the trade
February 20th 2017
Machine made chains are one of the few things that I do not make myself. I source them from Australian suppliers where I can. I needed a 9ct yellow gold chain this week with a length of 40cm but my supplier only had 45cm in stock so I had to shorten it when it arrived. This was a great opportunity to show you one of the tricks of the trade that I am not a big fan of.
Same chain but different colour.
The chain on the right is the piece that I removed from the chain on the left to shorten it. They are the the same chain, exactly the same 9ct yellow gold alloy from the same manufacturer.
The difference is that I have polished of the gold plating from the piece I removed to expose the true 9ct yellow colour of the chain. Yes you read that right, 9ct yellow gold chain is almost always gold plated!
Why do they do that?
Purer gold alloys like 18ct yellow gold have a much richer and appealing colour to most people. Rather than show you the true paler colour of 9ct yellow gold, jewellery chains get manufacturers to flash plate the chains with a higher purity gold to make them look richer in colour.
Why are you telling us this?
Because when I make a 9ct yellow gold piece of jewellery I do not plate it. That means that when I have to order in a 9ct yellow gold chain for a pendant the colour initially does not match and the customer wants to know why.
Now rather than explain the same thing over and over again I can send my customers to this article :)
I really don`t like the practise. I leave the jewellery I make the true colour of 9ct yellow gold. I often try to quickly buff off some of the plating on the chains I have to order in but it is a big job to remove and the truth is that the plating on the chain usually wears of quickly anyway and ends up matching the true colour of 9ct yellow gold.
Any other items that are not their true colour in jewellery chains?
Yes. The one that most people know of is the rhodium plating of white gold which in most cases customers are aware of.
However almost all of the 9ct yellow gold jewellery, rings pendants etc... gets a colour enrichment treatment for the jewellery chains. After that Sterling Silver which is a slightly grey colour gets a coating of very white pure silver to make it look better. All of these platings wear off over time.
So now you know why that 9ct yellow gold and Sterling Silver jewellery you bought from the jewellery chains looked so much richer in colour when you first purchased it.