Most jewelry designers face challenges in getting their jewelry with an even gold color across all their jewelry components. They find that even the simplest jewelry design comes with a variety of gold-plated hues or shades. The question lingering in their minds is, why is this so?
First, let us begin by looking at the different colors of gold jewelry. There are various colors since gold jewelry is an alloy of gold mixed with other metal types. For this reason, the alloy composition determines the gold color. We have Yellow Gold that is composed of pure Gold, Silver, Copper, and Zinc. Then, there is White Gold that is composed of Gold and Platinum. In some cases, Nickel and Zinc are added. The third color is Rose Gold that is composed of gold, copper, and silver. Then, the last color is Green Gold that is composed of Gold and Silver, although copper can be added too.
You may have already decided on the base plate such as vermeil, jewelry made with silver, and also made a decision on the finishing gold color, let’s say, Yellow Gold 14k, 18k, or 24k. It is important to note that “k” is the percentage of gold in a piece of jewelry and has the most significant impact on Yellow Gold. This is because high gold karat brings rich yellow color to the metal. Nevertheless, you might make your jewelry order. To your surprise, when the consignment arrives, each component comes with a slightly different shade of gold despite having the same Karat gold plating.
Back to our first question; why does most gold-plated jewelry come in various shades of gold across the jewelry components? Here are some reasons;
1. Different Manufacturers and the alloy used.
In the jewelry design industry, there are different manufacturers specialized in few jewelry products. Therefore, your supplier is probably sourcing products from different manufacturers who use different alloys to mix their gold. Besides, not all jewel factories or manufacturers do gold plating in-house. Some hand over to platters or use their co-operating plating company. This can change the final color and appearance of the gold. For example, some companies use more copper than others, which creates a more reddish color, while other manufacturers use more nickel. This creates different color combinations in jewelry.
2. Heat and the manufacturing processes
In the manufacturing process, different techniques are employed to manufacture jewelry. For example, ropes, herringbone or wheat, require different techniques such as flattening, twisting, or linking the gold that can make a piece of jewelry have different colors. Moreover, metal thickness also brings a big difference in quality during plating. Also, gold plating processes can be affected by factors such as the electric current, density of the plating solution, time is taken for jewelry to be soaked in the plating solution, etc.
How do we solve the issue of color inconsistency among gold-plated jewelry designs?
Some solutions that could come in handy are as follows;
1. Know the product colors and define your quality expectations
Different karats have different colors. Before making any bulk purchases from your supplier, ensure that you know the gold karat amount and color to guide your supplier so that they can comply with precise quality standards. For example, if you order 18k Yellow Gold, make sure to ask your supplier if the gold color will match and set up specifications, which they will inspect before shipping the product to you. Most likely, the order may come in an acceptable color range difference and will not affect the finished product look.
2. Order from Established Brands
Many established brands use their plating company to do another layer of gold plating right after assembling the product. By so doing, the product is given a consistent gold color that covers any imperfection that may have to arise due to soldering, bending, scratching, or assembling.
It is important to note that you will benefit from having a competitive product with an ultra-thick gold plating layer that makes it long-lasting. Stand out from the crowd!
3. Control color by mixing gold alloys
If there is a slight color difference, the color of gold jewelry can be adjusted using alloys such as Copper, Titanium, or gemstone beads in between to separate your gold elements. This will reduce the color difference and help you avoid any issue of color inconsistency. Ensure you use the right underlayer to avoid base metal leaches or contamination of gold plating tanks.
During gold-plating, the purity of the gold used in gold plating produces different colors. The higher the purity, the richer and gold-like the jewelry piece color. However, many suppliers have a challenge in maintaining an even color on their jewelry pieces due to inconsistencies in the manufacturing processes or because supplies are sourced from different manufacturers. To avoid these inconsistencies in gold-plated color jewelry, one can order from established brands and define their quality expectations to ensure consistency in gold-plated jewelry items.
Are you in the United States and are considering using a third-party plating company? Kindly contact us for all your plating needs. We will be happy to refer you to some plating companies we have been working with.