The essential clarification of cladding

18 carat and 950 platinum clad rings

As any fervent fan of Tru-Diamonds jewellery will tell you, we are known for our excellent service and a range of high quality, yet affordable products. In a nutshell, we grant you access to a world of high end, designer jewellery that is as beautiful and timeless as expensive diamond jewellery, but without the exorbitant price tag. For this very reason the Tru-Diamonds range is expertly clad with 18-carat gold and platinum. To understand why our cladding is so special, we must investigate the differences between cladding and similar processes like plating, vermeil and gilding.

What is Cladding?

Every piece of Tru-Diamonds jewellery starts out as a solid .925 sterling silver core. By using a sophisticated electrode bath, a minimum 4-micron thickness of the highest quality 18-carat gold or .950 platinum is permanently bonded (clad) to the surface of the silver. Note that, on an atomic level, the metals are fused together, so the cladding cannot ever crack or flake off.

Four microns is double the thickness of most conventional plating which is why Tru Diamonds gold and platinum clad jewellery looks so superior and why it stands up to so much more wear than conventional plated jewellery.

The difference between plating and cladding

While plating is achieved using a similar process to cladding, the result is a layer of precious metal generally about 2 to 2.5 microns thick. Although it is possible to plate in any purity of gold, plating is generally done using a 10-carat gold anode. The difference between the processes becomes evident when comparing the resulting colours. An item clad with 18-carat gold perfectly imitates the colour and finish of a solid 18-carat gold item.

While rhodium plating is often used to mimic the appearance of white gold and platinum, the platinum cladding we use at Tru-Diamonds consist of nothing but .950 platinum.

What is Vermeil?

The only distinctive difference between gold plating and vermeil is that vermeil jewellery must abide to stricter standards. To be classified as vermeil, a piece must have a predominantly silver core covered by at least 2.5 microns of gold plating that has 10-carat purity or higher. General gold-plated jewellery may have a core of any other, less expensive metal.

What is Gilding?­­­

When jewellery is described as gilded, be aware that there is no real gold involved. Gilding implies that the piece is simply treated to have the appearance of gold, most likely by means of a patina reaction or being plated with brass. Gilding is often used in the manufacturing of costume jewellery and is very prone to discolouring and flaking.

Why does this matter?

Plating, even when done well, will need retouching from time to time. Jewellers generally recommend that an everyday-wear piece, like an engagement ring, should be re-plated annually. An occasion item can be touched up less frequently depending on its appearance. Cladding, on the other hand, can take a lot more wear.

To sum up, the cladding used on Tru-Diamonds jewellery is superior to plating and vermeil in appearance, durability and value. It is however important to realise the way a piece is worn and cared for plays a major part in preserving its finish, regardless of whether the piece is clad or plated. Cladding can last a lifetime when treated well, and thanks to our Unique Triple Guarantee, we can help you ensure everlasting enjoyment of you Tru-Diamonds jewellery.