To compete with good 18k or even 14k gold jewelry, better sterling-based items are sometimes plated in 18k. In my perspective, 18k gold plating is more convincing in terms of giving the item a more luxury appearance, but 14k gold plating can appear lighter or whiter than good 14k gold jewelry.
The main advantage of plating in 18k is its cost effectiveness: you get more wear out of a piece of jewelry plated in 18k than one plated in 14k. However, because 18k contains less gold per square inch than 14k, it's harder for a jeweler to achieve a high-quality finish. Also, keep in mind that if your item gets damaged or wears out, replacing it will be much more expensive!
In conclusion, I would say they're both good choices and it depends on what you want to spend vs. how good you want your item to look.
14k gold plating is used to give jewelry a golden sheen; however, the amount of gold used for plating is often small, thus this point is more about beauty and design than value. These can then be marked down if not sold as high-end jewelry.
10k gold plating is less expensive than 14k but more expensive than 925. It is useful for coating objects that are not easily damaged by acids or chemicals. 10k gold jewelry tends to look more modern and minimalist.
925 silver plating is used primarily on costume jewelry and imitations made from silver-filled metals such as sterling. Because it does not really affect the price of the item, many manufacturers use it instead of platinum or gold because it is easier to work with and wear-proof. However, due to the lack of quality control, some pieces may have defects (such as pores or bubbles) when they come out of the factory.
785 gold plating is used mainly on decorative items like tableware and artwork. The taste of the person who wears the jewelry will also play a role in what type of gold they prefer. For example, people who love luxury goods will usually go for 14k gold whereas those who want something cheaper might choose 925 silver.
The 18K gold plating is made up of 75% pure gold blended with other metals to improve hardness and strength, whereas the 24K gold plating is made up of 100% pure gold. However, because 24K gold is incredibly fragile and easily damaged, it is rarely utilized in jewelry manufacture. The other major type of gold plating is 725 silver, which is 92.5% silver and 7.5% gold.
18K gold-plated items are usually more expensive than their 19K or 22K gold counterparts because they use a lower quality gold alloy that can be more cost-effective to produce but will not be as hard wearing or look as good in general use.
The gold used to make these plating services is normally donated by manufacturers who have leftover material from other projects. Therefore, you will usually get different colors of gold when purchasing an item clad in 18K gold-plating because they are made from different batches of metal.
You should also know that items cladded in 18K gold-plating are not real gold - they are just fancy gold plates! They may be stamped with the word "gold" to make them look more expensive but they are actually made from cheaper materials like silver or platinum.
The actual purity level of the gold used to make these items varies depending on which donor metal was available at the time it was plated.