Solid gold hoop earrings

The Pros and Cons of Solid gold vs. Gold-plated jewellery

Neil Watson

In jewellery, few materials boast gold's prestige, allure, and timelessness. But deciding between solid gold and gold-plated jewellery is a decision for both the head and the heart.

Let's take a look at some of the differences between the two options and considerations.

Sentimental Value

When you're gifting or purchasing a special item that you want to be handed down, or something that stays timeless as you move through life, solid gold is a material worthy of generations and reinvention. 

It's not to say that a gold-plated item can't evoke those same feelings, but simply that it might not stand the test of time.

Quality Variation

The quality of gold-plated jewellery can vary widely depending on factors such as the thickness of the gold plating, the quality of the base metal, and the manufacturing process. Lower-quality gold-plated jewellery may be more prone to chipping, peeling, or fading, resulting in a shorter lifespan and diminished aesthetic appeal. Gold plating also has higher chance of allergies or causing a green tinge to the skin.

This is not to say that all solid gold jewellery is to the same level of craftsmanship. That's why purchasing from a quality jeweller or retailer is crucial. 

Durability and Longevity

One of the most compelling arguments for solid gold jewellery is its durability and longevity. Unlike gold-plated pieces, which feature a thin layer of gold over a base metal, solid gold jewellery is made entirely of precious metal. This means it won't tarnish, corrode, or wear down over time, ensuring that it remains as stunning as the day it was acquired, even with everyday wear.


Solid gold jewellery is generally more expensive than gold-plated. Still, we've noticed that many people tend to pay too much for gold-plated jewellery when they could have solid gold at a similar price. Our 9ct solid gold huggie earrings are just one example. Being sold by some higher volume stores at around $269, we deliver similar styles in 9ct solid gold from under $175!


Gold-plated jewellery tends to be mass-produced, whereas solid gold jewellery allows you to select from more variations, with fewer people having precisely the same. Of course, manufacturing jewellers such as the Watsons family can also create bespoke pieces for you.

Value Retention

Gold is a recognised asset class that holds value like cash or shares. Depending on your solid gold piece, it may hold its value or even appreciate over time. Gold-plated jewellery is unlikely to retain investment value.


The base metal used in gold-plated jewellery, such as brass or copper, can tarnish when exposed to air, moisture, or certain chemicals. This tarnishing can affect the overall appearance of the jewellery, detracting from its aesthetic appeal. Additionally, tarnished jewellery may cause skin irritation or discolouration, especially for individuals with sensitive skin.

These same issues are unlikely to occur with solid gold jewellery.

Multiple lives for generations

As manufacturing jewellers, we often have pieces with sentimental value brought to us to be remodelled or integrated into a new piece. Sometimes, it's an item left by a family member that has stood the test of time but may not fit its new owner. Similarly, 2 pieces can be melted down and combined to make one new piece that will last another generation. See customised options here

Different grades of solid gold

While gold-plated jewellery has a layer of gold coated over another metal, different levels of solid gold - 9ct, 18ct, 22ct and 24ct are all about the purity level. 

Watsons Jewellers is committed to solid gold jewellery in white, rose, and yellow gold. The options can be confusing, but this is where the service of our Watsons team can help answer your questions. Our team prides itself on our level of knowledge to support you in making an informed choice. We can help you find the piece that suits your style while answering your questions. They genuinely understand the jewellery creation process and how to invest in jewellery that is of a level - good, better or best.

In closing...

Solid gold jewellery holds a special place in the hearts of many, and for a good reason. In contrast, gold-plated jewellery tends to be produced for a price point or faster fashion.

So, while gold-plated jewellery may offer an affordable alternative to solid gold, it has certain drawbacks, including limited durability, susceptibility to tarnishing and allergic reactions, minimal resale value, and potential quality variations. Choosing a reputable manufacturer or retailer is always best to ensure you receive a quality product.

Please note: All of our jewellery is solid gold unless otherwise stated. We also offer silver filled and blended options and this will be clearly stated. Some items, such as pendants, may come with a 'display chain' that is gold-plated, but we will always make that clear if the chain is a display or solid gold.