Gold has been one of the most prized jewelry-making materials for thousands of years. People have valued its beauty and rarity and how it retains its luster and shines over time.
However, not all gold jewelry is created equal, and many different terms are used to describe the different types of gold products available. One such term is “gold filled,” which is often used to describe affordable gold accessories, but what does gold-filled mean in jewelry?
In this article, we will explore the meaning of gold-filled, how it differs from other types of gold products, such as gold-plated and solid gold, and what you should know before purchasing gold-filled items.
The top way to safeguard your retirement is to open a precious metals IRA. Check out the below providers and request a free kit.
Best Overall Rating (Where I Invested)
#2 American Hartford Gold
Best Buyback Program
#3 Augusta Precious Metals
Most Educational ($50,000 Minimum)
#4 Noble Gold
Best Metals Selection
What Will I Learn?
- Understanding Gold-filled Jewelry
- Gold-filled Vs. Solid Gold Jewelry
- Gold-filled Vs. Gold-plated Jewelry
- How to Recognize Gold-filled Jewelry
- Maintenance and Care of Gold-filled Jewelry
- Difference Between Gold Coating & Gold Plating
- The Market for Gold-filled Jewelry
- Key Takeaway
Understanding Gold-filled Jewelry
Gold-filled jewelry has become increasingly popular over the years, and for a good reason. It is an affordable option for people who love the look of gold but don’t want to spend a lot of money on actual gold items.
Also, gold-filled pieces are a great option for those who have precious metal allergies, as it is hypoallergenic. Gold alloys are created by mixing gold with other metals, which can affect their properties, such as color, durability, and cost.
Furthermore, gold-filled jewelry is created by attaching a covering gold alloy to a base metal, resulting in a piece that is both robust and tarnish-resistant. The gold alloy layer is much thicker than the layer of gold used in gold-plated jewelry, which makes gold-filled material much more durable.
Unlike solid gold jewelry, gold-filled pieces are not made entirely of gold. Instead, it is made of a base metal that is then coated with a solid layer of gold. The covering of gold is typically 5% or 1/20th of the total weight of the piece.
That makes it more affordable than pure gold but still gives it the look and feel of gold. Moreover, when creating gold jewelry, the golden layer can be gold-bonded to the base metal in several ways.
One common method is single-clad gold filled, where the gold coating is mechanically bonded to the base metal. Another method is known as double-clad gold filled, where the gold layer is bonded to both sides of the base metal.
Furthermore, gold-filled materials can also be made using a rolled gold plate. This process involves bonding a thin layer of gold to a base metal, which is then rolled and drawn into a sheet. A gold covering is much thicker than that used in the gold-plated layer, which gives the jewelry durability.
Gold-filled Vs. Solid Gold Jewelry
Gold-filled and solid gold accessories are both popular options for people who want to wear gold accessories. However, there are some significant differences between the two.
Additionally, pure gold items are made entirely of gold, with no other metals mixed in. It is typically marked with a karat weight to indicate its purity, with 24-karat gold being the purest. Moreover, solid gold accessories can be quite expensive due to their high gold content, and it is known for their durability and resistance to tarnishing.
On the other hand, gold-filled jewelry is not made entirely of gold. Instead, it consists of a base metal covered with a layer of gold. The gold coating is much thicker than gold plating and is mechanically bonded to the base metal to create a more durable and longer-lasting piece of jewelry.
Gold-filled chains are typically marked with a fraction that indicates the proportion of gold content, such as 1/20 14K gold filled (GF).
One of the main advantages of gold-filled jewelry over pure gold is its affordability. Since it is not made entirely of gold, it is significantly less expensive than solid gold jewelry. However, the gold-filled chain still has the look and feel of solid gold, making it an excellent alternative for people who want to wear gold jewelry without breaking the bank.
Another advantage of gold-filled jewelry is its durability. Unlike pure gold jewelry, which can be easily scratched or damaged, the gold-filled chain is much more resistant to wear and tear. The thick layer of gold is mechanically bonded to the base metal, creating a strong, long-lasting piece of jewelry that can withstand everyday use.
Overall, the main difference between gold-filled and pure gold jewelry is its composition. Solid gold jewelry is made entirely of gold, while gold-filled jewelry consists of a base metal that is covered with a thick layer of gold.
While pure gold jewelry is known for its purity and durability, gold-filled jewelry is more affordable and durable, making it an excellent alternative for people who want to wear gold without spending much money.
Gold-filled Vs. Gold-plated Jewelry
While gold-filled and gold-plated jewelry may sound similar, they differ significantly in their composition and durability. Additionally, gold-plated jewelry is created by applying a thin layer of gold to a base metal using a chemical or electroplating process.
The gold covering on gold-plated jewelry is usually only a few microns thick, and the base metal beneath it is often a cheaper metal, such as brass, copper, or sterling silver. Gold plating is often used to create fashion jewelry and is a more affordable option than gold or gold-filled jewelry.
On the other hand, gold-filled jewelry is made by mechanically bonding a layer of gold onto a base metal core.
The gold coating in gold-filled jewelry is thicker than the layer in gold-plated jewelry and is bonded to the core precious metal in a way that makes it much more durable.
Also, gold-filled jewelry is made with higher quality metals, such as sterling silver or jeweler’s brass, which give the jewelry a more substantial feel and higher value.
Overall, gold-filled jewelry is a better choice for those who want a more durable and long-lasting option that is closer in quality to pure gold jewelry. While gold-plated jewelry may be more affordable, it is generally less durable and may need to be replaced more often.
How to Recognize Gold-filled Jewelry
Identifying gold-filled jewelry can be a bit tricky, but it is essential if you want to make informed purchases.
The following are some ways you can use to identify gold-filled jewelry:
Look for markings on the piece of jewelry. Genuine gold-filled jewelry should have a hallmark or marking of its karat weight, such as “1/20 14k GF” or “1/10 12K GF.” These markings indicate the amount of gold in the piece.
Gold is not magnetic, so if a piece of jewelry is attracted to a magnet, it is not gold-filled. However, it is worth noting that some gold-filled jewelry has magnetic clasps, so checking other parts of the jewelry is essential.
Gold-filled jewelry should have a consistent gold color throughout the piece. If there are any dark or discolored spots, it may be an indication that the piece is not genuine.
Gold-filled jewelry is typically heavier than gold-plated jewelry. You can use a scale to weigh the jewelry piece to determine if it’s genuine.
You can also use an acid test to determine if the jewelry is gold-filled. The test involves placing a drop of nitric acid on the jewelry piece. If the piece is gold-filled, the acid will turn a milky color.
Another way to identify gold-filled jewelry is through a scratch test. Use a sharp tool for scratching the jewelry piece. If the scratch reveals a different precious metal underneath, it is not gold-filled.
It is important to note that these tests can destroy the jewelry, so it is best to consult a professional jeweler to help identify the piece’s authenticity.
Maintenance and Care of Gold-filled Jewelry
Gold-filled jewelry is an excellent alternative to solid gold but still requires proper care and maintenance to keep it looking its best.
Here are some tips on how to take care of your gold-filled jewelry:
Avoid Exposure to Harsh Chemicals
Gold-filled jewelry is durable, but harsh chemicals can still damage it. Avoid exposing your jewelry to chemicals, such as chlorine, bleach, and ammonia, which can cause the gold covering to wear off or become discolored.
Remove Jewelry Before Swimming
Saltwater and chlorine can damage the gold covering on your jewelry, so it’s best to remove them before swimming.
Store Your Jewelry Properly
Store it in a cool, dry place when you’re not wearing your gold-filled jewelry. Keep it away from direct sunlight and humidity, as these can cause the gold layer to fade or tarnish.
Clean Your Jewelry Regularly
To keep your gold-filled jewelry looking its best, clean it regularly with a soft cloth or a mild soap and water solution. Also, avoid using brushes or abrasive cleaners, which can scratch the gold coating.
Avoid Wearing Your Jewelry While Doing the Heavy Physical Activity
While gold-filled jewelry is durable, it can still be damaged by heavy physical activity. Remove your jewelry before doing activities, such as lifting weights, playing sports, or doing yard work.
Take Your Jewelry off Before Bed
If you want to avoid damaging your gold-filled jewelry, it’s best to take it off before bed. That will help prevent the gold layer from getting scratched or damaged while you sleep.
By following these simple tips, you can help ensure that your gold-filled jewelry lasts many years.
Difference Between Gold Coating & Gold Plating
Gold plating and gold coating are both methods of applying a thin layer of gold to a surface. The main difference between gold coating and plating is the way in which it is the gold layer bonded to the surface.
Additionally, gold plated layer involves the use of an electrolytic solution to create a chemical bond between the gold coating and the base metal, while gold covering involves the use of a physical vapor deposition process to bond the gold layer to the surface.
Moreover, The gold-plated covering is often used in jewelry making, while the gold coating is commonly used for electronic components and other industrial applications.
Both methods can be used on various materials, including sterling silver, to create a beautiful and durable finish.
The Market for Gold-filled Jewelry
Gold-filled jewelry is a popular alternative to solid gold, as it offers durability, affordability, and versatility in terms of design. This type of jewelry is ideal for those who want high-end jewelry without a high price tag.
Also, gold-filled jewelry is becoming more popular among environmentally-conscious consumers looking for ethical and sustainable options.
As the market grows, the availability of gold-filled jewelry is expected to increase, giving consumers more options to choose from. With the rising demand for affordable yet high-quality jewelry, the future looks bright for gold-filled jewelry.
Gold-filled jewelry is a cost-effective alternative to solid gold that has been around for over a century. It provides the look and feel of solid gold at a more affordable price, making it an attractive option for many people. Additionally, unlike gold-plated jewelry, gold-filled jewelry has a thicker gold layer, making it more durable and longer lasting.
Furthermore, the market for gold-filled jewelry continues to grow, and it is a popular choice among jewelry designers and makers. With its durability, affordability, and tarnish resistance, gold-filled jewelry is a practical and valuable addition to any jewelry collection.