If you're like most people, you've probably wondered at some point "what exactly is gold-filled jewelry"... The name gold-filled is a little bit misleading. It sounds like there's gold inside, but gold-filled jewelry isn't really filled with gold at all.
So what is it?
Gold-filled is an industry standard term that requires 1/20th or 5% pure karat gold by weight.
It involves pressure bonding a thick layer of solid gold with extreme heat over a base metal core. The gold is usually 14 karat and the inner core is typically made of jeweler's brass. Through this bonding process, a high quality, real gold product is produced.
Is it different than gold-plated jewelry?
Gold-plated is much different from gold-filled. Plating is a process that covers a base metal with a microscopic gold film. It's usually done by a process called electroplating and it's estimated to be about 0.05% or less of the total weight of the fished product.
Because it's such a thin layer, gold-plating will wear off pretty quickly and the jewelry won't last very long. Once this delicate layer of gold-plate flakes off and the exposes core, the piece can tarnish quickly. The core of gold-plated pieces could be any type of base metal, sometimes even nickel or copper, which can cause darkening or skin sensitivities in some people.
Does gold-filled jewelry have any value?
Since there is an actual layer of real karat gold on gold-filled jewelry, the value is higher than gold-plated.
Aside from solid gold jewelry, which is considered a valuable asset, gold-filled your next best option for quality and durability. Gold-filled offers the same warm yellow and rose gold tones at a fraction of the price of solid gold.
Is gold-filled jewelry durable?
14K gold-filled jewelry is durable, but like all precious metal jewelry, it requires some basic care to keep it in great shape. If you treat your gold-filled jewelry well, it can last forever.
Not caring for your jewelry will shorten it's life, no matter what material it's made from.
Check out our care & cleaning guides here.
Will gold-filled jewelry tarnish?
Gold-filled jewelry shouldn't tarnish easily, but it's possible for it to naturally tarnish over time. It won't tarnish as quickly as sterling silver, but the absence of moisture will slow the process of tarnishing.
All of your precious metal jewelry should be stored in a dry place, like a jewelry box or a soft cloth bag.
Can it turn my skin green?
People often ask if gold-filled jewelry will turn their skin green. There are some people who's body chemistry will cause their skin to blacken when they wear certain metals. This phenomenon is not really an indicator of the metal quality, although many people think that it is. It can be due to a number of factors from medications, diets, and the natural pH of your skin.
Reactions occur in a really small percentage of people, so it shouldn't be too much of a concern. If you've had skin reactions with gold alloys in the past, it's likely that you'll also react to the gold layer on the surface of gold-filled jewelry.