What exactly is "gold plated" jewelry?

Whether it's charms, necklaces, bracelets, or earrings, gold plated is the gold standard for accessories that look expensive, but don't come with a hefty price tag. But what exactly does "gold plated" mean? Is there any actual gold in that shiny surface, or is it all just...fools gold? 

What is gold plating? 

Gold plating first emerged in 1805 thanks to the Italian chemist Luigi Brugnatelli. Until this point, gold jewelry was made of solid gold or a combination of precious metals, which meant that only society's elite had access to the shimmery objects. But gold plating was far more affordable, which gave everyone the opportunity to own something golden. The best part? It is almost impossible to tell the difference between a gold-plated object and one that is pure gold. Great news for your pocketbook!

Is gold plating real gold? 

Gold plating and quality differs from object to object. Fuckit Buckets™ are plated with 14 karat gold, but other jewelry may be plated with 24 karat, 18 karat, or 10 karat gold. Though higher karats dictate higher quality, the type of karat doesn't matter for gold plating because so little gold is used. Typically, the thickness of plating is 1 micron, or .001 millimeter. 

What is the process of gold plating? 


The plating process begins by analyzing the base metal of the object.  The object must be totally clean and free of any dirt or oil. This goes beyond wiping the object off with a cloth—electrocleaning, steaming, or ultrasonic cleaning is used to make sure the surface is ready for the next step. 

Not all metals can be plated. Nickel, brass, stainless steel, silver, and copper are all candidates, but alloys (when two or more metals are mixed together) don't typically plate well, so often the object is coated with nickel before plating with gold. This strike layer improves the bonding process between the plating material and base object. 

Next, the object is shined and smoothed up to make sure the plating is even. Any scratches or bumps on the surface could lead to an uneven or rough plate, so any imperfections must be addressed before the object is plated.

Then, the item "takes a bath" in an electrified plating solution. The electricity that runs through the bath attracts gold ions to the surface, bonding the gold to the object. Finally, the object is rinsed and ready for the customer. 

How long does gold plating last?

Though gold plating is quite durable, it can be prone to chipping if it's exposed to rough environments. Thus, try not to toss your Fuckit Bucket™ in the washing machine or put it in your pocket with a handful of rocks. Otherwise you may find yourself muttering, "Fuck it, bucket!" under your breath.  

How can I keep my Fuckit Bucket™ looking shiny?

To keep your Fuckit Bucket™ looking like new, keep it away from cleaning supplies, oils, and makeup, as the chemicals in these products could affect the plating. Also keep your Fuckit Bucket™ out of chlorinated pools and salt water. No jewelry while swimming, kids!

If it does need a clean, a mild liquid soap like Dawn or professional jewelry solution like this one should do the trick. 

But if, after years of good use, you discover a little chip on your bucket, don't fret. Fuckit Buckets™ are like jeans, the more worn, the more unique. Simply chuck it in the fuck it bucket and move on, knowing your bucket built to last—imperfections and all.