The differences between Gold Filled, Gold Plated, and Solid Gold.
Gold Jewelry is a timeless classic that can instantly elevate any style. However, with so many options available, it can be confusing to understand the differences between the various types of Gold Jewelry. In this blog post, we'll discuss the differences between Gold Filled and Gold Plated Jewelry and whether they fall into Costume, Semi-Fine, or Fine Jewelry categories. We'll also touch on Solid Gold Jewelry, and educate on the differences between 14kt, 18kt, 22kt, as well as the differences between Yellow Gold, White Gold, and Rose Gold.
Gold Plated Jewelry
Gold Plated Jewelry is made by layering a thin coating of Gold over a base metal, such as copper, brass, or nickel. The thickness of the Gold layer can vary for each piece of Jewelry, but it is typically around 0.5 microns (0.00001 inches or .0005mm) to 2 microns. This means that the Gold layer can wear off or fade over time, and sometimes fairly easily, especially if it comes into contact with water, oils, sweat, perfume, cosmetics, or harsh chemicals. Gold Plated Jewelry is considered to be costume Jewelry.
Gold Filled Jewelry
Gold Filled Jewelry, on the other hand, is made by mechanically bonding a thick layer of Gold to a base metal. The Gold layer is typically at least 5% of the total weight of the item, making it much thicker than Gold Plated Jewelry. This means that the Gold layer is much more durable and is less likely to wear off or fade over time. In fact, Gold Filled Jewelry can last for decades if it is well cared for. Gold Filled Jewelry is usually bonded to a Jeweler's Brass, which typically consists of mostly Copper, with some Zinc. Gold Filled Jewelry is considered Semi-Fine. You can browse our Gold Filled Jewelry Collections here.
Why we prefer Gold Filled over Gold Plated
Jewelers Garden does not carry Gold Plated Jewelry at this time. Gold Filled Jewelry is a better option than Gold Plated Jewelry for several reasons. Firstly, it is more durable and longer-lasting, making it a better investment in the long run. Secondly, because the Gold layer is much thicker, it has a more consistent color and shine, giving it a higher-end look. Lastly, Gold Filled Jewelry is hypoallergenic, making it a great option for people with sensitive skin who may experience irritation from other metals. ** We always say the life expectancy of your Jewelry relies on how well you take care of it. To help you care for your Jewelry, we include Jewelry pouches or boxes with your orders for safe storage, and usually include a free polishing cloth to help maintain your Jewelry and keep it shining like new. We also do our best to educate our clients on what they are buying, make suggestions based on lifestyle, work, and hobbies, along with informing on how to properly care for your Jewelry, for longer lasting pieces you can love and wear for years to come.
(Owner of Jewelers Garden note: I will never forget before I owned my company, I had an adorable Gold Plated heart chain necklace come in the mail. Dainty, cute, and shiny I put it on and took a photo of it to send to the company, and then I took the necklace off and placed it on my dresser. The NEXT day, I walked by my dresser and looked at the necklace, and it was already tarnished. The oil from my finger had left a tarnished finger print on the polished surface of the heart charm. This necklace was in the $70-$80 range back in 2017, and I was so disappointed it ruined so quickly. So when I started Jewelers Garden, I decided to not supply Gold Plated Jewelry, that my baseline would be Gold Filled materials, and a high quality selection that goes up from there.)
Solid Gold Jewelry
Solid Gold jewelry is made entirely from Gold alloy, and is the most expensive option of the three. It is the highest quality because it is not plated or filled with another metal, and will never wear off or fade over time. Solid Gold Jewelry is also the most malleable, meaning it can be easily shaped and molded into intricate designs. However, because it is pure Gold, it is also the softest, and may scratch or dent more easily than Gold Filled or Plated Jewelry. The differences between 14kt, 18kt, and 22kt Gold lie in the percentage of pure Gold in each alloy. Pure 24kt Gold is a soft and malleable metal, making it unsuitable for Jewelry that will be worn daily. Therefore, it is usually mixed with other metals, such as copper, silver, or zinc, to make it more durable and suitable for Jewelry. Solid Gold Jewelry is in the Fine Jewelry category. Solid Gold Jewelry can last decades, if not centuries. Solid Gold Jewelry can be handed down every generation as a family heirloom.Below we explain the differences in different karats of Gold, and what alloys are in Yellow Gold, White Gold, and Rose Gold.
You can browse our Solid Gold Collections here.
Differences in 14kt, 18kt, and 22kt Gold
14kt gold contains 58.3% pure gold and 41.7% other metals. This alloy is the most common in the United States and is known for its durability and affordability. It is an excellent option for those who want high-quality Gold Jewelry that won't break the bank.
18kt gold contains 75% pure gold and 25% other metals. This alloy is considered more luxurious than 14kt Gold due to its higher Gold content. It is also slightly softer than 14kt Gold, making it a good option for intricate designs or pieces that won't be worn every day.
22kt Gold contains 91.6% pure Gold and 8.4% other metals. This alloy is the most pure (after pure 24kt 100% Gold) and has a bright yellow color, making it popular in some cultures. However, it is not as durable as 14kt or 18kt gold and may scratch or bend much more easily. Scratched Gold Jewelry can usually be polished and refinished to look like new again, but in doing so, small amounts of Gold are removed in the refinishing process.
It is important to note that the higher the Gold content, the softer the alloy will be. This means that while 22kt Gold has a higher percentage of pure Gold, it may not be the best option for everyday wear. When choosing between 14kt, 18kt, and 22kt Gold, it's essential to consider your lifestyle, budget, and personal style preferences.
You can browse our 14kt Solid Gold Collections here.
Differences between Yellow Gold, White Gold, and Rose Gold
Yellow Gold, White Gold, and Rose Gold all have the same Gold content percentage, but their alloys vary, giving the Gold a different color for different styles and preferences.
Yellow Gold is usually mixed with Silver, Copper, and Zinc. Yellow Gold holds the closest resemblance to pure Gold due to its Yellow color, with the hue becoming stronger as you go up in karat count. Yellow Gold is typically considered hypoallergenic, with few rare cases of allergy to the copper alloy in the mix.
White Gold is usually mixed with a combination of Silver, Palladium, Nickel, or sometimes Zinc. The finished product still has a tinge of yellow color, due to there still being that high percentage of Gold content. Most White Gold Jewelry is plated with Rhodium to give it that bright white look. Rhodium is in the Platinum family, and is a noble and durable high quality finish that is used to make White Gold look even whiter and brighter. This Rhodium plating will fade over time, revealing White Gold with a slight hint of Yellow color. White Gold Jewelry is commonly refinished and re-dipped in Rhodium every several years, or as needed or desired to maintain that bright white look.
Rose Gold is mixed with Copper. It gives that rose-y warm color that is very durable because it is mixed with copper.
Keep in mind, White Gold and Rose Gold cannot be considered hypoallergenic due to Nickel and Copper alloy content. Yellow Gold is typically hypoallergenic except for the more rare Copper allergy.
In summary, Gold Filled Jewelry is the preferred option over Gold Plated Jewelry because it is more durable, longer-lasting, and hypoallergenic**. Solid Gold Jewelry is the highest quality, but also the most expensive, and is our personal favorite. Ultimately, the type of Gold Jewelry you choose will depend on your personal style and budget, but understanding the differences between each type can help you make an informed decision.
** We always recommend those with severe metal allergies avoid known problem metals. Jewelers Garden offers a wide variety of Gold Filled Jewelry, Sterling Silver Jewelry, Solid Gold Jewelry, Platinum Jewelry, and Stainless Steel Jewelry to help cater to those who can only wear one specific metal. Please carefully read item descriptions to make informed decisions of which metal your Jewelry is made of. Keep in mind, White Gold and Rose Gold cannot be considered hypoallergenic due to Nickel and Copper alloy content mixed with the Gold. Do not buy a metal you are unsure of if you have known metal allergies. We cannot give medical advice or be held liable for purchases you make. **