The Difference Between Gold PVD Coating and Gold Plating

August 19, 2015
Posted in news
August 19, 2015 Bend Plating

The Difference Between Gold PVD Coating and Gold Plating

When it comes to jewelry, there are several different processes and materials that can be used to achieve a gold look. From rings to watches and everything else in between, the two most common ways to get that iconic gold look comes from gold PVD coating and gold plating.

What’s the difference between gold PVD coating and gold plating?

Physical Vapor Deposition, or PVD, is a vacuum coating process that produces a brilliant decorative and functional finish. PVD utilizes a titanium nitride that provides an extremely durable coating. PVD coatings are more resistant to corrosion from sweat and regular wear than gold plating.

Gold plating occurs when a thin layer of real gold is plated onto another metal, such as stainless steel. Gold plating is often done to give the look of real gold at a fraction of the cost of having a piece of jewelry that is solid gold. One of the advantages of gold-plating is that it gives the product the look of real gold. On the other hand, gold plating doesn’t offer the durability of gold PVD coating and when scratched can reveal the base material.

Advantages of Gold PVD Coating

  • Durability
  • Corrosion resistant
  • Longer lifetime
  • Gold plated pieces can discolor within a short time period
  • Gold PVD coatings can be 10 times thicker than standard gold plating

Choosing between gold PVD coating and gold plating comes down to preference and budget, as well as a variety of the factors mentioned above. If you’re producing jewelry that generally will be less expensive, gold plating may be the best option. Higher-end jewelry requires a coating that’s more durable, is longer lasting and is resistant to corrosion. In this instance, gold PVD coating shines as the right choice. Gold PVD coatings can be done using real gold, or other elements that have a gold-look to them.

Bend Plating proudly offers gold PVD coating that’s wear and corrosion resistant, chemical resistant, has a low coefficient of friction and is low maintenance. Contact us for more information about the uniform coating and brilliant decorative finish of gold PVD coating.

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Bend Plating

Bend Plating provides metal coating, plating, finishing, and polishing services for the automotive, marine, medical, dental, outdoor, sporting, aviation, music industries and more. Contact us for an estimate on your commercial project.

Comments (16)

  1. Adolfo Rama

    I bought a watch with a bracelet that was gold tone; it lasted only 3 months. So, I like the mechanism can you do PVD coating.

    • Tom Himstreet

      Bend Plating suggests avoiding chlorine and Florine with Zirconium based gold PVD. While PVD is very corrosion resistant, Zirconium based PVD is vulnerable to some chemicals including Chlorine, Florine, Bromine, and Iodine. Titanium and Chromium based PVD may resist chlorine better at normal pool/spa temperatures and concentrations.

      Sincerely,
      Bend Plating Inc.
      550 SE Bridgeford Blvd., Bend, OR 97702
      sales@bendplating.com; http://www.bendplating.com

    • Gold PVD from Bend Plating is actually ZirconiumCarboNirtide (ZrCN). Zirconium metal is vaporized and combined with Carbon and Nitrogen to produce the gold color. Shades of PVD gold color can be produced by varying the amounts of Carbon and Nitrogen. Regarding functional characteristics, PVD is going to be more scratch resistant and Gold plating will be more electrically conductive.

    • Dear Dre,

      The term “plated” is typically associated with electroplating processes, whereby electrical current and an electrolyte solution are used to transport metal and deposit metal on target parts. PVD, produced in vacuum chamber with vaporized metal, is commonly referred to as a coating. Thank you for your question. Best regards.

      Bend Plating

    • Gold PVD from Bend Plating is actually ZirconiumCarboNirtide (ZrCN). Zirconium metal is vaporized and combined with Carbon and Nitrogen to produce the gold color. Shades of PVD gold color can be produced by varying the amounts of Carbon and Nitrogen. Regarding functional characteristics, PVD is going to be more scratch resistant and Gold plating will be more electrically conductive.

  2. This is well explained. What I’ve run into as a jeweler is clients who expect gold plating to last like the PVD coating of gold color on their watch bands.
    I appreciate your technical, but not too dense, explanations.
    I’m a jewelry blogger and plan to use a couple of quotes with attribution from the blog and comments. I thank you in advance.
    I also admire that you respond to comments.
    Personally I tried a couple of times in the past to get questions answered by other providers and received no response.
    Well done to you.

    • Dear Calla Gold,

      I would say that the biggest difference between Gold Plating and Gold PVD is the hardness of the material. 24K Gold is relatively soft and will scratch and scuff easily. Gold PVD is much harder and more scratch resistant.

      Bend Plating

  3. Gabriel

    Hi there,

    I’m about two order production of a product. Is S/S 304 and will have a plating gold Titanium colour. There are factories working with Electroplating and others with PVD. As this is a product that will be in touch with food and ideally uses for dishwasher, is PVD the best solution? I know it is the most environmentally friendly which is important to me.

    Thanks

    • Dear Gabriel,

      PVD over Stainless Steel is extremely durable and corrosion resistant. Perfect for a food service environment. Your parts should continue to look fantastic for at least their normal (un-coated) operational life. The majority of Bend Plating’s PVD applications for music, automotive, gaming, and firearms is done over a substrate of Stainless Steel, or Nickel/Chrome electroplated steel.

  4. Jackie Rondael

    Thank you for this very wonderful information. I have learned a lot about Gold Plating -PVD and ion plating.
    God bless and More Powers!

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