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How is Gold plated Jewellery and Gold filled Jewellery different?

How is Gold plated Jewellery and Gold filled Jewellery different?

I am not writing this to tell you which is better. I’d like to give you the facts and you can decide for yourself. A fair warning, it can get a little scientific but hopefully the graphics help to explain. I sure needed them!

Gold Plated

Gold plated has a very fine film of gold covering a base metal usually made of brass.

The amount of gold on a gold-plated piece can vary but most commonly only makes up about 0.05% of the entire piece.

Description of Gold filled Jewellery and gold plated jewellery

To make a gold-plated piece, an electric current is used to negatively charge the base metal and positively charge a solution containing gold ions. The positive gold ions are attracted to the negative charge of the core metal, slowly forming a layer of gold on top of the core.

Description of how gold filled jewellery and gold plated jewellery is made

The pros of this process is that plated is super affordable and you still get the benefits of a lovely gold-looking piece of jewellery.

The cons are that because the layer is so miniscule, it can actually rub and scratch off over time, leaving you with the base metal. It doesn’t stand up well to much heat, water or wear. If the layer of gold does wear away, the base metal will start to tarnish.

Gold-plated Jewellery is great for those 'of the moment' trends. This way you can be a part of the trend without having to worry about whether your investment into a more expensive piece was worth it. 

Gold Filled

Gold-filled Jewellery has 100x more gold than gold plated. The core metal is still usually made of brass but the layer of gold is thick enough it won’t wear down to the core as long as its cared for properly.

The amount of gold on a gold-filled piece can also vary but most commonly makes up about 5% of the entire piece.

Description of gold filled jewellery and gold plated jewellery
To make gold-filled pieces, the core metal is sandwiched between two layers of gold which is then heated and passed through a roller several times - a process that both bonds the metals together and thins the sheet out.

The pros of gold filled jewellery are that if it is cared for properly, it can last a lifetime. Gold doesn’t tarnish so the thick layer covering the base metal prevents the piece from tarnishing. This also means the base layer doesn’t come into contact with skin.

Description of how gold filled jewellery and gold plated jewellery is made.

 The cons of gold filled jewellery, basically, is that it is a bit more expensive then gold plated.

Gold-filled Jewellery is best used where longevity and durability are a must. Gifts for special events are much more meaningful when the piece is meant to be worn and cherished for decades.

In conclusion and how this applies to True Impressions:

With all this information in mind, I have decided use only 14K gold-filled for all my pieces. The personal and sentimental nature of hand-stamped jewellery really should be made with pieces that can last a lifetime.

 If you have anything specific in mind and want to discuss options, I am happy to have a conversation with you around how we can make sure you get the best value and quality out of the piece you choose.

If you’d like to learn more about ‘Karats’ and what they are when it comes to Gold, check out my other blog post on, “What is a Karat?”

Feature Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels