Jul 25, 2018 | ADORN

Gold-Plated vs Gold Filled Jewellery


Most people know what gold plated jewelry is. The name explains that it is plated or coated with an ultra-thin layer of gold (about .5 micron). But have you ever wondered what gold filled means? Is it good quality?

Absolutely! Gold filled jewelry contains MUCH more GOLD!

Many people are not aware of the differences between “gold filled” jewellery and “gold-plated” jewellery. In a nutshell, gold filled jewellery is of a much higher quality. Any gold filled item is regulated by the government (as is solid gold) and must be at least 5% (or 1/20) gold by weight.

For example, 14 kt gold-filled wire is made by forming a tube of solid 14kt gold that is “filled” with a base metal. Gold is bonded to the base metal with heat and pressure. The base metal is also gold in color and is made up of almost the same mixture of metals used to bring 24kt gold down to 14kt, 10kt, etc. The exterior of the product is solid 14 kt gold, and everything you can see or touch is a solid layer of 14 kt gold. This is why it will never chip or wear off. The gold layer on a gold filled jewellery is approximately 100 times thicker than gold-plated.



Gold filled jewelry is much more valuable, and tarnish-resistant just like solid gold is. Jewelry created with gold fill is considered a “lifetime” piece of jewelry, but it should not be mistreated as it is possible to expose the base metal if deeply scratched.

Most people who are sensitive to metals and can only wear gold find they have no issues when wearing gold filled jewelry.

Be wary of sellers that sell “gold filled” jewelry at a meager price, because more often than not you will actually get gold-plated jewelry instead. Skip the gold plated jewelry because it won’t be long before the plating has worn off and your piece will begin to tarnish and look old. The average lifespan of gold plated jewelry, if diligently cared for, is about 1 year.



I’m Karo, a jewellery designer + metalsmith inspired by women’s history, ancient Baltic/Nordic cultures, and the cosmos.

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