There are big differences between gold-filled and gold-plated jewelry, mostly the actual amount of gold in each product. Here I will debunk the rumors and let you know that the differences are. You can also find this information on our resources page in the learning center.
What is gold-filled?
Gold-filled jewelry is made from components that have a layer of gold that is mechanically bonded with heat and pressure to another material, usually a base metal which is most commonly brass. Gold-filled products are resistant to tarnishing because the outside layer is actually gold and is thick enough to prevent oxidation of the inner material. The gold content must be at least 1/20th of the total weight, where the gold itself is no less than 10 karat in purity. Under FTC regulations, the purity (karat) of the gold content must be part of the marking or designation. As an example, a piece of gold-filled jewelry made with 14 karat gold filled could be stamped “14/20 GF”.
What’s the difference between gold-filled and gold-plated?
Gold-plated jewelry has a smaller percentage of gold and goes through a different manufacturing process than gold-filled jewelry. To create gold-plated jewelry, a base metal goes through a series of processes and is eventually dipped into a bath of electroplating solution which contains gold. When an electric current is applied, an electrochemical reaction occurs and a thin layer of gold is deposited onto the metal. This layer is much thinner than the coating of gold that covers gold-filled jewelry, which goes through a process of mechanically bonding and heating the gold to the base metal.
While gold-filled components must include gold that is at least 1/20th the weight of the entire piece, gold-plated components can have gold that only makes up a very tiny percentage. As such, gold-plated jewelry items are more prone to tarnishing as well as having the thin layer of gold eventually rubbing off than similar products made from gold-filled. Because of the lower gold content, gold-plated items are generally less expensive than similar gold-filled products.
What is gold-filled wire?
Gold-filled wire is made by having a layer of gold that is mechanically bonded with heat and pressure to another material, usually a base metal which is most commonly brass, which is then drawn through a series of tools and dies, until the final desired diameter of the wire is attained. Gold-filled wire is resistant to tarnishing because the outside layer is actually gold and is thick enough to prevent oxidation of the inner material. The gold content must be at least 1/20th of the total weight, where the gold itself is no less than 10 karat in purity.
Hopefully this answers any questions you may have had pertaining to gold components. You can browse all of our gold and feel better knowing you now know how to shop for it!