Most of our pieces at The Traace are made with 925 sterling silver which are then plated with a minimum of 3 microns of 24 karat gold (925, 3μ 24K. GP). Most of our designs can be made in 9 karat or 14 karat gold upon request. Custom requests take approximately 3-4 weeks, depending on the complexity of the design.
We want to provide information to our customers about the carefully and rigorously tested techniques we use for our gold plated pieces. Gold plating is typically done as 'flash' plating, which involves a very thin layer between 0.1
(0.1μ) and 0.5
(0.5μ) micron of gold
deposited on top of a base metal. Some of the most popular metals used include copper, brass and stainless steel.
At The Traace we plate with a minimum 3 micron of gold. Depending on the design, some pieces are plated with up to 5 micron. So even at our starting point, our pieces are characterised by a thick layer of gold which is unlike the 'flash' plated thickness of standard gold plated jewellery pieces. In addition, The Traace plates over a solid core of 925 sterling silver for a more valuable and enduring product. Sterling silver has been used for approximately 10,000 years and was prized over gold by ancient Egyptian royalty. The use of sterling silver as a base also means that nickel is not present in our pieces. The combination of between 3-5 micron gold thickness and 925 sterling silver produces highly durable, high quality and affordable gold jewellery pieces without the sometimes prohibitively high price point of 14K gold.
A few notes about gold. The maximum amount of pure gold possible is 24 karats which is extremely soft. Gold needs to be mixed with other alloys for hardness and durability. The hardness of 9K gold comes with an offset in so far as it is not as durable as 14K gold and hence, prone to corrosion and tarnishing. Whereas 14K gold is .583 parts or 58.3% gold plus other alloys - less hardness due to average alloy percentage yet more durability due to higher gold percentage, 9K gold is .375 parts or 37.5% gold plus other alloys - more hardness due to higher alloy percentage yet less durability due to lower
gold percentage. Viewed another way, 9K gold has a much larger percentage of other alloys than its gold percentage component.