The Complete Guide to Gold Coated Items
How are Lemon Straps Signature Watchstraps coated?
Lemon Straps Signature Watchstraps are 18k gold plated using PVD coating procedure and made of stainless steel. PVD is a process that is 10X stronger than traditional electroplating, enusring the gold plating last for years. Our mission is to make long-lasting and quality jewelry watchstraps for your Apple Watch, that wouldn’t break your bank.
But have you ever wondered the differences between the terms "gold plated”, "PVD coating”, "gold vermeil”, and “gold filled”? And why are there stamping marks on some products, and not on the others? Understanding their differences is crucial for choosing your next favourite jewelry piece. This article will guide you through their distinctions, including base metal and thickness of coating, and provide insights into the legal marking requirements in the UK and US.
What is hallmarking?
A hallmark is a legally required stamp that verifies the metal content, purity, and origin of an item. The hallmark may include the base metal's fineness, the maker's mark, an assay office mark, and the date of assay. In the UK, hallmarking for precious metal, including gold, silver, platinum, and palladium, is issued by the Assay Offices, while in the US, there’s no requirements for stamping jewelry. Instead, sellers must disclose material details like weight, thickness or finess, as regulated by The Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
So What is Gold Plated?
Gold plated jewelry is a general term that refers to accessories crafted by depositing a thin layer of gold over a base material. The base material ranges from precious metal like silver, platinum or palladium, to daily metal like stainless steel, zinc alloys or copper alloys. A commonly known gold plating technique is electroplating. The thickness of the gold layer is quite thin, and has to be at least 0.05 microns. In the UK, gold plating cannot be hallmarked because the gold layer thickness does not meet the minimum threshold of 2 micron, and is not considered part of the base material. There is no hallmarking requirements in the US.
What is PVD Coating?
PVD (Physical Vapor Deposition) coating is a durable and long-lasting gold plating method. It involves a complex process where a thin layer of gold is vaporized and deposited onto the base metal. This method creates a bond that's more resistant to wear, tarnish, and fading, making PVD-coated jewelry a reliable choice for everyday wear. In the UK, PVD-coating are legally considered the same as “Gold Plating” due to their similar thickness, and cannot be hallmarked since the gold layer is thinner than 2 micron.
What is Gold Vermeil?
Gold vermeil, pronounced "ver-may," refers to gold plated silver - the base material must be silver for the piece to be considered Gold Vermeil. In the US, vermeil has to have a gold layer of at least 2.5 microns. In the UK, there’s no such definition gold vermeil. Instead, if a jewelry piece has a gold layer of over 2 microns, the gold itself must be hallmarked. Therefore, a piece that qualifies as Gold Vermeil in the US must be hallmarked under the UK law.
What does Gold Filled means?
Gold filled jewelry features a much thicker layer of gold compared to gold plated pieces. Typically, it consists of a base metal core covered with gold that is at least 5% of the jewelry's weight. This results in a more substantial layer of gold, offering greater durability and longevity. Since the base metal is usually non-precious metals, it also results in a more competitive pricing than solid gold items. Again, hallmarking in the UK is usually required given the thickness of gold involved.
So how is Lemon Straps' watchstraps coated?
Lemon Straps' 18K Gold plated Signature Watchstraps are PVD coated, a process that is 10X stronger than traditional electroplating. The thickness of the gold layer is 0.08microns. The watchstraps are made of stainless steel, so they are completely waterproof.
All gold items are subject to wear-and-tear, and there is no way to completely avoid color fading or deterioration (unless you're buying solid gold), but with our material and coating process you just don't have to worry. Our watchstrap pieces will be daily-life resistant - you can take a bath, apply lotions, go to the beach, colors will last for years.
Check out our 18k gold plated and 18k rose gold plated items below, and start elevating your Apple Watch look.
This blog is published on 14 Nov 2023. For most updated legal requirements, please check governmental publications.