Are all shiny things made of gold?

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FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

Or: How important is the gold-plated contact on a plug connector really? But let if first be mentioned: Pins made of genuine gold would not only be too expensive, but would also not make any real technical sense. Gold is a heavy metal and would, without an alloy treatment, break after only a few plug cycles. To affect hardness and surface properties, mostly nickel-plated pins or alloys are used. Most plug connectors are only lightly goldplated and reasonably priced ones are sometimes only painted, which means that a real cheap plug connector cannot be gold-plated. The good conductive values of gold can only be utilized if both socket and plug are gold-plated. If this is not the case the harder alloy simply scrapes off the soft gold and oxides build up. Contrary to public opinion the layperson cannot recognize the quality of the gold by the colour, because very often, depending on application and plug cycles, more complex alloys are used on the plug connectors.