Q: What’s the difference between gold-filled and gold-plated?
A: The difference is in the amount of gold. Gold-plated products have a very thin layer (seven-millionths of an inch) of gold, while 14K/20 gold-filled products must have at least one-twentieth of their entire weight in 14K gold. What this means for you as a beader is that gold-plated items, while cheaper, will not last as long. Eventually the thin gold layer will rub off. Gold-filled items, however, will remain gold for a lifetime if cared for properly. The occasional silver spot is from solder holding joints together. Unless you are using harsh chemicals or abrasives, the gold layer will stay gold for years to come!
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