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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 Beads® tests and labels those products so you always know what you are getting. For more information, please review the informative articles and chart listed in the resource section below.

- Michelle Wood, Jewelry-Making Expert

Materials Resources

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