Gold plating is the process of adding a thin layer of gold to another metal in order to give that metal a gold-like appearance. In most cases, the layer of gold is very thin, just enough to cover all exposed surfaces of the other metal. It is commonly used in decorations and in jewelry plating.
The benefit of gold plating for jewelry is that it gives the look of gold, but does not have the cost of gold. In jewelry applications, a gold plating is most commonly applied to silver. Thus, the jewelry actually includes two precious metals, rather than just one. While many may commonly associate gold plating with jewelry, it is not the only application for the practice. Gold plating is also commonly associated with electronic applications. This is done to allow better conductivity and make things resistant to abrasion and wear, along with other benefits. Gold plating can be accomplished in a number of different ways, including electroplating. This is done by putting the object being plated, the cathode, into a solution, usually water. It is connected to the negative side of a charge, such as a battery. Then, the donor for the plating, the anode, is also placed in the solution connected to the positive side of the charge. Ionization occurs and the anode slowly dissolves, with the positively-charged ions in the metal going to the negatively charged product.
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