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Silver and Gold Jewelry. How Jewelers Get That Two-Tone Look.

The trend for the two-tone look has become popular and jewelers utilize many techniques to achieve this look. Keep reading for a quick overview of a few different methods. Each technique will achieve a slightly different look but sometimes it is hard to tell the differences.

Gold Plating

Some jewelers gold plate their jewelry by using a gold pen plating machine that utilizes low voltage electricity and a chemical solution. One can “draw or paint” a very thin and precise design layer on a specific area. Care must be taken when wearing plated jewelry because the plating over time can wear off. This can easily be repaired by re-plating.

Plating Machine Example From Rio Grande Jewelry Supply


Bi-metal consists of a layer of karat gold bonded to a layer of sterling silver. It has two distinct surfaces of silver on one side with 14k, 18k or 22k gold on the other side of the sheet.

Example of Bi-Metal Sheet From Pasternak Findings

Gold- Filled

Gold-filled consists of a thick layer of karat gold bonded to a base metal using heat and pressure. While care must be taken in working with this material Gold-Filled items are affordable and will have the same appearance as solid gold and can last years.

Gold-Filled Wire. It appears the same as solid gold.


The Keum-Boo method is a Korean technique for applying 24k gold sheet to silver and is widely used in various cultures. It can also be done in different karats of gold.

With experience in application, it offers a very distinct and controllable method of gold patterns on silver.

24k Gold Foil For Keum-Boo

Solid Gold

The approach I use for my silver and gold jewelry is a simple, but not an easy method.

I fabricate each gold design element from solid sheet and wire. For instance, I will cut a leaf shape out of solid 18k or 22k sheet or curve a solid 18k gold wire and fuse or solder it to a silver band. Even though it is extremely time-consuming I thoroughly enjoy the process.

18k gold jewelry
Solid 18k gold sheet and wire shapes.

Silver band and solid 18k gold wire components.

Each element is placed and connected to the silver ring one at a time.

How To Tell Which Method is Used.

Sometimes you can tell if the gold is plated or solid sheet by looking at the side of the jewelry and can judge the depth of the gold.

Solid 18k Gold leaves attached to a silver ring. You can tell by the thickness of the leaves that they are not plated.

Gold-filled wire and sheet are really difficult to determine and it can be almost impossible to tell which technique is used for the two-tone silver and gold look. The best thing to do is to ask the jeweler about their process.

Visit my online store to shop for this 18k gold and silver ring with diamond.

All of the jewelry on this website is designed and fabricated by me in my studio in the Seacoast area of New Hampshire. Join my email list to be the first to see new jewelry.


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