The items in this category are Electroplated Gold or Flash Gold plated.
They consist of a thin layer of real gold plate over a base metal or alloy – the thickness is around 0.17 microns. This helps to keep the price of the gold plated items in this category low but it does mean that they are not intended for prolonged wear as the gold plate is thin and will wear off relatively quickly, especially if it comes into contact with skin or cosmetics.
Oxidisation can also mean that the base metal will begin to move into the gold layer over time and show on the surface of the piece. This can be avoided if the base metal is first plated with Nickel, however the EU Nickel Directive prohibits the use of nickel in pieces that are likely to come into prolonged contact with skin.
You can reduce the likelyhood of your electroplated gold jewellery discolouring by several methods: Keep your gold jewellery away from cosmetics and oils, wash your hands before handling your gold plated jewellery, do not expose gold plated jewellery to salty or chlorinated water, hand sanitiser, cosmetics, toiletries or detergents. You should also avoid rubbing your gold plated jewellery.
Gold Filled and items described as 24k, 18k and 14k Gold Plated have a far longer lifespan as the layer of gold is significantly thicker.