In general, gold plated jewelry, including 18KT HGE, has the lowest retail value among gold jewelry and little to no resale value. Below, we take a closer look at the value of 18KT HGE and 18KT HGE jewelry items to help you find out how much your jewelry is worth.
Is Heavy Gold Electroplate (HGE) Really Gold?
Heavy gold electroplate (HGE) is a type of gold plating. The term refers to the plating of gold on metal that occurs through an electrolytic process, which applies at least 100 millionths of an inch of fine gold to the base metal.
It is important to note that gold plating is not the same as gold. When a metal is gold plated, it just means that a thin sheet of gold is placed atop the metal. In fact, gold plating is usually so thin that you can scratch it off easily. Therefore, if you have a gold plated item, the plating alone almost never adds any monetary value to the piece.
How to Determine the Value of 18KT HGE
18KT HGE is metal plated with 18KT gold — gold that is 75% pure gold and 25% other alloys. Unfortunately, 18KT HGE has virtually no value. HGE doesn’t hold any monetary value because it contains such a small amount of gold that it can’t be measured and equated with the precious metal.
There are a few different types of 18KT gold plating, and they all carry the same approximate value. You can tell what type of gold plating your jewelry has by looking at the gold hallmark — the letters and numbers that are stamped onto all fine jewelry to identify their gold content.
The most common gold hallmark for 18KT gold-plated jewelry is 1/40 18KT HGE. The 1/40 number is a fraction referring to the amount of gold in the overall piece — 1/40 is equal to 2.5% gold. Gold-plated jewelry may also be 1/50, which is 2% gold.
Other than HGE, gold-plated jewelry may be stamped with these letters after the karat measurement:
- HGEP: Heavy gold electroplate
- HGP: Heavy gold plate
- GEP: Gold electroplate
- RGP: Rolled gold plate
Each of these markings signifies a different way in which the gold was applied to the underlying metal. The value of 18KT gold plated jewelry is determined by the amount of gold the item contains, so the actual worth of a gold plated piece is negligible since it contains almost no gold.
Price of 18KT HGE Jewelry
Retail Value of 18KT HGE Jewelry
Most 18KT gold plated jewelry is relatively inexpensive compared to solid gold or gold-filled jewelry because it contains very little gold. Instead, the retail cost of 18KT HGE jewelry depends on other factors, such as the underlying metal and whether the item uses other valuable materials like gemstones.
We researched 18K gold plated jewelry on various retailers and catalogs and found that the approximate retail prices for these pieces are:
- 18KT HGE bracelet: Around $5 to $15. View 18KT gold plated bracelet prices on Amazon
- 18KT HGE necklace: Around $5 to $20, although a few gold-plated sterling silver pieces retail for $150 to $200. View 18KT gold plated necklace prices on Amazon
- 18KT HGE ring: As low as $2 up to $25, and much more for 18KT gold plated rings set with diamonds or other gemstones. View 18KT gold plated ring prices on Amazon
Scrap Value of 18KT HGE Jewelry
The value of 18KT HGE jewelry is very low. For example, a necklace with three square inches of surface area (such as a thick gold-plated necklace chain) and a standard gold plating thickness of 0.8 microns (30 microinches) would be worth less than $2 in gold scrap value. You can calculate the exact gold value of 18KT gold plated jewelry with this gold plating calculator from Gold-N-Scrap.
Scrap gold buyers — including jewelry stores, online gold buyers, and pawn shops — do not generally accept gold-plated jewelry. If you’re interested in selling gold plated jewelry, your best bet is probably to sell it yourself as used jewelry through websites such as eBay or Craigslist.