What Is Gold-filled Jewelry?

Everything You Need To Know

If you have ever yearned for pure gold jewelry but can't justify the expensive price tag, gold-filled jewelry is the perfect solution. Gold-filled is a more reasonably-priced alternative to pure gold jewelry that doesn't compromise on quality or durability. Gold-filled jewelry can be 10kt, 14kt, 18kt, 22kt, and 24kt. It looks like solid gold since its outermost layer is gold. However, it is a harder, more durable, and less expensive option than solid gold. Compared to lower-quality alloys, gold-filled jewelry can resist tarnishing at a higher rate, allowing you to wear it at all times. Let's take a closer look at gold-filled jewelry in the following sections: 

Gold-filled jewelry refers to a process in which a layer of karat gold is heat- and pressure-bonded to a base metal layer. This process keeps the metal tarnish-resistant because it completely covers the surface of the base metal. The gold alloy is bonded to one or both surfaces of the brass core with heat and pressure. The bonded raw material is sold as a sheet or wire to jewelry manufacturers for use in designs. 

Gold-filled consists of material constructed in two or three layers. Depending on whether the material is single or double-clad, the layering will differ; 

Single-clad gold-filled has all the gold content in a single layer on one side.

Double-clad material splits the gold content into surface layers on both sides of the material.

With the proper care, gold-filled jewelry is a highly durable option. This jewelry contains 100% more gold than gold-plated jewelry, making it resistant to everyday tarnishing and wear and tear. Gold-filled jewelry is also generally safe for wearers with sensitivities to common metals. However, it's essential to consider that the longevity of gold-filled jewelry is dependent on the wear, environment, and quality of the piece. Gold is generally a soft metal; therefore, wear it with care to avoid bending, dents, and scratches. 

All jewelry wearers will be aware of the dreaded tarnish. But what exactly is tarnish, and how does jewelry experience tarnishing? Tarnish is a thin layer of corrosion that forms over metals. Tarnish results from a chemical reaction of the metal and non-metal compounds such as moisture, air, or chemical compounds. The result is a dark tinge/discoloration of your jewelry. Metals can tarnish over time when exposed to chemicals such as water, hair spray, perfume, and lotions. Although tarnish can occur to gold-filled jewelry, it's an infrequent occurrence, as this type of jewelry is tarnish-resistant. And the more committed you are to the care of your jewelry, the longer it lasts. In the next section, let's look at some cleaning tips to prevent tarnish, scratches, and general wear and tear. 

The more diligent you are with cleaning and caring for your gold-filled jewelry, the longer it will last and stay in perfect condition. To avoid damage, do your best to avoid water, perfume, hair spray, and lotions while wearing your jewelry. These oils and particles may transfer to the metal, causing it to lose its brightness. But don't worry; by following a few simple cleaning steps, you will have the luster and shine back in your jewelry in no time! Try the following tips: 

• Use a soft jewelry brush and a solution of water and unscented dish soap.

• Gently clean your jewelry, rinse well, pat dry, and let it air dry.

• Make sure your jewelry is completely dry before putting it away. 

• Please store your jewelry in a small plastic bag when you are not wearing it to protect it from chemicals from the environment & moisture. 

• Do not apply make-up, perfume, or hairspray while wearing gold-plated jewelry.

• Remove any gold-plated rings and bracelets while preparing acidic foods.

• Do not swim in chlorinated or salt-water pools while wearing gold-plated jewelry.

• Remove gold-plated pieces before exercising to prevent the salts from sweat from damaging the gold. 

• Don't carry gold-plated jewelry tossed in a purse or mingled with other pieces to prevent scratching. 

Gold-filled vs. Gold-plated Jewelry

A plethora of different types of gold jewelry exist. The more you know about these types of jewelry, the easier it will be for you to make an educated decision on which type to purchase. The following sections will discuss the difference between gold-plated jewelry and gold-filled jewelry. 

Did you know that gold-plated jewelry contains just a very light layer of gold? Just 0.05% actual gold or less. This jewelry is topped with a base metal - usually brass or copper. Gold-plated jewelry is produced by plating a thin layer of gold onto the base metal. Due to the thinness of the gold layer, the gold topping can easily rub off and quickly deteriorate. 

Gold-plated jewelry is also more susceptible to tarnishing when exposed to liquids or chemicals. Although gold itself does not corrode, copper and brass will, especially when exposed to liquids. These liquids can be environmental factors, such as air and sweat, and chemical factors - e.g., lotions and perfumes. Gold-plated jewelry is far cheaper than gold-plated jewelry because of the minimal amount of gold used in its manufacturing. Gold plated jewelry is a good option if you need jewelry for an occasion or to try out new jewelry trends. 

Compared to gold-plated jewelry, gold-filled jewelry contains 100% more gold. It is also generally safe for people with allergies to common metals, and it is tarnish-resistant. US standards require the gold layer to consist of 1/20th (or 5%) of the jewelry's total weight. 

The gold is usually 14k gold, but sometimes maybe 12k gold (sometimes stamped with 14/20 or 12/20, respectively). Gold-filled jewelry has almost 100x more gold than gold-plated jewelry. 

An advantage of gold-filled jewelry is how it is made. This type of gold is mechanically bonded to the base rather than plated, meaning it will not erode or rub off. It has almost identical qualities to solid gold jewelry without an expensive price tag. Gold-filled jewelry is also a fantastic option for people allergic to metals, as the material will not cause an allergic reaction.