Coatings have been a controversial subject in the body piercing industry for a long time. There are two general categories for coatings and they are described by their application method, PVD and Plating.
PVD stands for Physical Vapour Deposition. This means that a cloud of vapour droplets is created and the jewellery is placed inside so that the droplets build up on the surface. This method can lead to a porous surface that is easily chipped or can absorb body fluids. A chipped coating can create an edge which will irritate a piercing through friction, it will also expose the metal underneath and as the vast majority of PVD coated jewellery is low quality metal this can lead to metal sensitivities.
The vast majority of PVD coated jewellery manufacturers do not tell us what chemicals are in the coating so it is assumed to be unsafe at it hasn’t been proven safe. The burden of proof falls with manufacturers and historical data isn’t good enough as some coatings can be toxic. PVD is generally used for colours that anodising can’t create (Red, Black and White).
At Rogue we don’t sell PVD coated jewellery as it hasn’t been proven safe but we will endeavour to find jewellery in other materials to match the colours you require.
Plated finishes are applied to jewellery using electricity through a process known as electroplating. Again knowing the jewellery is plated is only half of the information required as the material coating is just as important. Plated jewellery tends to be of higher quality and made from safer materials but this isn’t always true. A common plating used for lighter and darker finishes is Rhodium. Rhodium falls under the same category of safety as Gold as it has been used in traditional jewellery making for a long time.
Plated coatings can wear down over time but a jeweller will be able to re-apply the coating if required.
At Rogue we sell plated jewellery where we know the metal quality underneath and the coating material and will explain to our customers that over time the plating will wear.
At Rogue we are big fans of solid jewellery that will keep its shine and lustre for a lifetime. We try our best to avoid coatings to protect our customers but are willing to order in plated pieces as long as the client is aware that the coating will need to be re-applied in time.
Next week’s blog will be all about Initial Vs Healed jewellery and the importance of choosing the piece for the moment.