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HomeJewelry InformationLectureTypes of Plating Colors for jewelry

Types of Plating Colors for jewelry

This time, let’s talk about the types of plating colors.

Types of Plating Colors Plating refers to applying a thin layer of metal to the surface of various materials. Such as metal or plastic to enhance gloss or prevent corrosion.

There are various plating methods, but let’s focus on explaining electroplating, which is often discussed in the Namdaemun Wholesale Market. Particularly in the context of fashion jewelry.

Types of Plating Colors

First, before discussing the types of plating colors, let’s explain electroplating.
When you wander around Namdaemun Wholesale Market, you’ll often hear a basic question from wholesale vendors.

“Is it regular plating or electroplating?”

Some wholesale vendors may emphasize,
“We do electroplating.”

Why do they say this? Some wholesale vendors simply dip the product into the plating solution to reduce production costs.

In other words, the plating is applied more lightly on the product’s surface. This means that although the cost of plating is reduced, discoloration may occur earlier. And the gloss may not be as good.

Many items coming from China are often conventionally plated. At first glance, it may be challenging to distinguish between regular plating and electroplating just by looking at the color.

Although the colors and gloss of plating may seem similar, there is a difference in the durability of the plating. Regular plating tends to have slightly lower gloss and may discolor more quickly compared to electroplating.

Therefore, finished accessories imported from China often use regular plating. Of course, expensive items imported from China may also use electroplating, but cheaper items are often conventionally plated.

Here, the term “finished product” refers to a product that has completed all stages of production. From A to Z, in China.
Generally, products sold in the Namdaemun Wholesale Market are often semi-finished products, meaning they come in a state before plating. Therefore, most wholesale vendors in Namdaemun supply products by plating semi-finished products from China in Korea.

Now, let’s go back to explaining electroplating. Electroplating is a process where an electrical current is used to make the plating solution adhere well to the metal. This ensures a better gloss and a longer-lasting plating.

However, electroplating tends to be more expensive than regular plating. So when Namdaemun wholesale vendors say, “We do electroplating,”.
It means that their production costs have increased due to electroplating, but as a result, the gloss of the plating is good, and the color lasts longer.

As mentioned earlier, the products sold in Namdaemun are designed and produced in China, then plated in Korea. Therefore, when plating is done in Korea, most accessories tend to use at least electroplating.

In other words, you can think that most accessories in Namdaemun are plated with electroplating or even a more expensive plating than those from Chinese factories.

There are various types of plating colors, such as silver plating, gold plating, rose gold plating, rhodium plating, “DaeBaek” plating, black plating, matte plating, etc.
Silver plating produces a silver color that we commonly see, and it is the most common and popular plating color.

However, it doesn’t actually contain silver; instead, a chemical solution that produces a silver-like color is used for plating. Since the cost of silver plating is low, it is a widely used plating color.

Gold plating may involve adding real gold particles (solution) during plating. However, sometimes a solution that produces a gold color is used for plating. When you see expressions like 14KGP/18KGP – Gold Plated on the internet, it means that the plating was done with real gold particles.

If it says GP, you can think that it is genuine gold plating. However, there may be a difference between what the general public thinks of as gold plating and the actual gold plating in practice.

Rose gold plating involves adding copper or bronze to the gold plating solution to achieve the rose gold color. Sometimes, some wholesale vendors achieve a rose gold look by first nickel-plating the product and then gold-plating it very thinly.

Silver plating involves plating with silver on brass, alloy, or real silver. When silver plating is done on brass or alloy, the feel is similar to real silver, but it can be used to create inexpensive products.

Rhodium plating is the most commonly used plating in real jewelry, known as OR (Original Rhodium). However, due to the cost of rhodium, it is not commonly used in accessories.

Starting from 2021, a plating method called “DaeBaek” plating emerged as an alternative to rhodium plating due to the significant increase in the raw material cost of rhodium. “DaeBaek” -plated products are rarely seen in the Namdaemun Wholesale Market because it is neither cheap nor as expensive as rhodium plating.

There is a type of plating called vermeil, which is thicker than regular gold plating and involves plating silver with a thicker layer of gold. The term “vermeil” is used when the gold layer is at least 2.5 microns thick.

Burnish plating gives an antique feel, and it involves using a chemical solution to darken the surface and then finely sanding the surface after the coating.
Black plating produces a gloss close to black, and the material is mainly black nickel.

burnish plating at wholesale market

Therefore, the presence or absence of nickel is a key point in the likelihood of allergy. Matte plating does not produce gloss and is often used to give an antique feel. Typically, matte plating without nickel is less likely to cause allergies.

Among Namdaemun wholesale vendors, some emphasize products with matte plating and call it “won-gold” (original gold). In short, it is matte plating, but they emphasize that it is a better matte plating.

In the next session, we will continue with a more in-depth explanation of plating.

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