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Topics: Clasps, Plated and Precious Metal

Q.
I am trying to understand the difference of quality and longevity when using gold plated or gold filled clasps; also silver, or nickel. I think there must be many versions of gold plated as some tend to wear off immediately and others last. I am not making expensive pieces yet but I would like to use good quality clasps that last. What do you recommend and how do I recognize good from bad. I live in China and feel very unsure even when they tell me its good; price is not always the indicator!
- Rochelle
A.
All products labeled as gold-, silver- or rhodium-plated must contain that particular precious metal in order to be called "plated." "Plated" items must have a standardized plating thickness of 0.5 to 1 microns of the plating metal (gold, silver, copper, etc.) over the base metal.

Gold-filled items are made by combining a layer, or layers, of gold alloy to a base metal (usually brass), then rolling or drawing the metal to the desired thickness and shape. It has a long life and can be worn by most people without reactions or difficulties.

Gold-finished is a base metal of brass or steel which is electroplated with a non-standardized thickness of a material that is gold in color.

The best way to ensure you are buying good quality products is to buy from a reputable dealer that guarantees their products. Fire Mountain Gems and BeadsĀ® tests and labels those products so you always know what you are getting and Fire Mountain offers an Ironclad Guarantee on all products. For more information, please review the informative articles and chart listed in the resource section below.

- Michelle Wood, Jewelry-Making Expert

Materials Resources