What is Gold CLAD? – Things you should know

You might have seen gold-clad coins which makes you curious to know more more about what is gold clad, and whether are they real gold or not.
Actually, Gold Clad is a different word used for gold-plated Jewelry or products. Metals such as silver, brass, copper, and others are coated with an immensely thin gold layer called gold clad. Pure gold is metallic yellow, but when it is mixed with a different metal, the color difference can be seen. 

Usage of Clad Gold 

Clad gold is mostly used to make gold-plated coins as it allows us to combine desirable characteristics of different metals and alloys into a material system. Some important reasons it is used to plate and manufacture coins, jewelry, decorative pieces, and other products are : 

  1. Highly Durable
  2. Electrical Properties 
  3. Corrosion Resistant 
  4. High density 
  5. Wear resistant 
  6. Great appearance 
  7. Cost effective 
  8. Magnetic properties 
  9. Is easily weldable, joinable, and has great brazability

Why are Gold Clad Coins hyped?

Gold Clad Coin

Anything that has the term ‘Gold’ is always hyped. Beware because gold-clad coins are misleading. People may think these coins are made of solid gold, but it is not true. The clad coins have a thin layer of gold on the outer surface; beneath this precious gold layer lies a cheaper metal. 

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Why is gold used for plating different metals?

Gold plating can be done on different metals because gold is malleable. It is stretchable and soft, so pure gold can be beaten into thin sheets. Also, pure gold cannot react or discolor.  

It is soft, so it is mixed with other strong metals to make gold coins or Jewelry. The mixture of gold with other metals is known as an alloy. The amount of gold in an alloy is the standard way to measure purity, and it is measured in Karats.

Gold is widely used for plating because of specific properties such as:

It does not oxidize.

Corrosion occurs because of oxygen, but gold does not oxidize. Because gold is the least reactive, it is a superb repellant to high temperatures and moisture. Gold can make up in any environment. 

Heat resistant

Gold is highly electrically conductive, meaning it efficiently transmits electrical current, making it a popular metal, especially in the field of electronics. This is because when electrical current is passed through any metal, it heats up and melts, but this is not in the case of gold due to its heat-resistant property. 

Resistant to friction 

Gold does not wear and tear due to friction or rubbing. So, there is no fretting degradation.  

How are Gold Clad items made?

Electroplating is used for coating gold on metals. In this process, an electric current is used to coat a thin layer of metal on another metal, which takes a few minutes. The metals such as bronze, copper, brass, or silver are dipped in a gold dissolved solution in the presence of an electric current. 

The chemical bond between the two metals allows gold ions to gather on the base metal, forming the thin gold layer. This may look simple process, but gold cladding involves lots of preparation. 

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Is it an excellent choice to buy gold clad Jewelry?

Gold-plated Jewelry is appealing, but the fact is that if you want to resell, then it will not be a profitable deal because the gold-clad Jewelry is not worth much. This is because the gold coating on the exterior surface of base metal is extremely thin. Moreover, the refining cost of a plated item is much more than the cost of refining a solid item. On the other hand, gold-filled Jewelry is more valuable than gold-plated Jewelry. Gold-plated jewelry items are less costly. 

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Is Gold Plated Jewelry Long-Lasting?

Every gold-plated jewelry item has a different composition of metals which affects its lifespan. But there are certain things you can do to enhance the life of a jewelry piece. To keep your Jewelry looking good for a long time, you must take care of it and use it gently. Clean the item with a mild solution to increase its longevity. 

With time your Jewelry may fade, and the only repair that can bring shine to it is re-plating. An expert can do this. Re-plating involves some precautions because base metal may tarnish, so restoring the base metal is extremely important.

What are the benefits of Gold Clad?

Gold Clad or gold plating has several advantages, as discussed below:

Makes jewelry items attractive

Gold cladding adds luster to the base metal and finishes like solid gold. In addition, it enhances the appearance of the Jewelry. 

Feel of Gold at an affordable price

Gold cladding gives a feel of solid gold jewelry at no cost as compared to solid gold jewelry. 

Increases Strength

The underlying metal in gold-clad Jewelry keeps the Jewelry in shape. This is because there is only gold plating. Therefore, the more gold, the easier it is to bend. 

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Underlying cheap metal looks great.

A cheap base metal can be coated with gold, making it look expensive. On the other hand, a small amount of gold can make cheap base metal precious. The final item looks like solid gold jewelry. 

What are the drawbacks of gold clad?

While there are a few advantages, certain de-merits of Gold Clad are:

Easy wear and tear

Wearing gold-clad Jewelry daily makes it fade, and the coating starts to wear and tear off. Daily wearing of gold-clad Jewelry decreases its lifespan, and the base metal begins to show. You can wear the gold-clad Jewelry carefree but not every day. 

It may irritate your Skin. 

Pure gold does not cause skin irritation. It does not irritate your skin even when you wear it daily. It is hypoallergenic. This is not in the case of gold-clad Jewelry. Once the gold coating wears off, the base metal exposes. The base metal can cause skin irritation. 

Fades Away 

Pure gold does not fade or discolor. However, its presence in gold cladding can be affected when base metal gets exposed to air. As a result, the base metal can change the color of the Jewelry. 

Concluding Remarks

Gold, in its pure form, is non-reactive, malleable, and lustrous. But not all products is created are equal, and you can find varieties of terms when it comes to this precious elemental metal. Gold clads are one such term that is used for gold plating. 

If you want to wear attractive yet affordable Jewelry, you can find gold clad as a good option, but it has a limited lifespan and discolors after some time. Moreover, it is not a good option for investment. Therefore, buying solid gold is the best choice when you are looking for a long-term investment in Jewelry. 

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