What's the difference between Gold-Filled vs. Plated?
Often times we find customers are not aware of the differences between these two processes. Below you can find some helpful information to explain why gold-filled is a great and affordable alternative to solid gold jewelry.
Many pieces of Completely Hammered's jewelry are handcrafted at the time of order from either solid Sterling Silver, 14K Gold Filled or 14K Rose Gold metals. We choose to use these particular metal types in our jewelry because we know how sentimental our pieces are to our family of customers and we want to make sure they last. Gold-Filled generally lasts much longer than most electroplated jewelry when looking for a wallet-friendly alternative to solid 14k gold.
What is Gold-Filled?
Gold-filled is a layered gold metal that is gaining popularity throughout much of the world. It is a quality material that is becoming common in all types of jewelry. The product is easy to care for and will usually maintain its golden shine for a lifetime.
Our gold-filled metals are constructed in three layers. The core metal is jewelers’ brass for our yellow gold filled and a copper/zinc alloy for the rose gold filled. A gold alloy is then bonded to both surfaces of the brass/copper core with heat and pressure. Unlike plated (aka electroplated or "dipped") metals, Gold-filled is LEGALLY required to contain 5% or 1/20 gold by weight. This 5% is then described by the karatage of the gold alloy. Our Gold-filled items are 14kt gold-filled. Our 14k gold-filled products are identified as 14/20 gold-filled; alternatively, 14kt Gold-Filled is also acceptable. All of our gold-filled sheet and findings are purchased from reputable and long standing jewelry suppliers in the United States, ensuring that they are top-quality.
So, what is Gold Plate?
Gold plating is a microscopic layer of solid gold applied to a brass base. The plating does not compose any measurable proportion of the products total weight. It is estimated to be 0.0005 or less of the metal product and it's speculated that this amount becomes less as the price of gold increases. Gold plating will generally wear off rather quickly and expose the brass base product. It does not stand up to heat, water or wear over time.
The Difference Between Gold-Filled and Solid Gold
Solid gold is an alloy that is described by the amount (karatage) of pure gold. Pure gold is 24kt. However, it is much too soft to hold its shape or wear well. Therefore, it is mixed (or alloyed) with other metals to harden it and make it easier to work with. Karatage refers to the alloy’s purity. For example, 14 karat gold is 14/24 pure gold or 58.3% pure. Gold-filled is not the same as solid gold. It is a layered alternative product. The gold-filled karatage only refers to the gold layers that compose 5% of the product on the surface.
Care and Cleaning
Gold-filled metal does not de-laminate or peel like plated or "dipped" products. It also does not tarnish as readily as silver. Many owners find that they never have to clean gold-filled items at all. However, from time to time, your jewelry may become dirty from everyday wear. To clean gold-filled it is best to use mild soap and water. Hot weather and water will not damage the material, but we recommend that all of our jewelry not be worn in chlorinated pools or salt-water, as both can be caustic to any metal and potentially damage the finish on your jewelry.