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Gold Filled Jewelry VS. Gold Plated Jewelry | Which one tarnishes?


Have you ever purchased the cutest little gold necklace, only to find that its gold color turns to brass within a week of wear? That can be do to a thin plating of gold that naturally wears off the surface of the jewelry as you wear it. Things as simple as air, water, sweat, perfume, and cosmetics can cause cheap jewelry plating and Gold Plating to fade with regular wear. 

Most all Jewelers Garden pieces are made with either 14kt Gold Filled, or Sterling Silver. Gold Filled jewelry generally last much longer than Gold Plated. 

Gold Filled Jewelry vs Gold Plated Jewelry and tarnishing

What is Gold Plating? 

Gold plating is a process where a thin layer of Gold is bonded to a cheaper metal (usually Copper or Silver) by Chemical or Electroplating. The thickness of Gold Plating can range between .17 to 2.5 microns. (These layers are so thin, there is no real way to collect the gold off the layer, rendering the piece not so valuable.) Gold Plated Jewelry is often sold with the information that it can last a year or two before you begin to see signs of tarnish "with proper care", and although that is true, it is not practical or always understood by the consumer to be extra careful with their jewelry. Most people don't realize these plated pieces can't be worn in the shower, at the gym, or while swimming and usually end up with a green ring on their finger or a brassy looking necklace. Some retailers will add a 'heavy' Gold plating which will last a little longer, and other sellers will add a clear protective coat (or a couple coats) over the Gold Plating to help extend the longevity, and those actions help! But as a general statement, Gold Plated jewelry doesn't last nearly as long as Gold Filled jewelry. To help preserve your Gold Plated jewelry, keep it away from salty or chlorinated water, oils, chemicals, perfumes, makeups and housecleaning supplies. Also try to keep the jewelry from rubbing against other jewelry, which will wear down the plating. 

(Do not confuse Gold Plating with Vermeil, Vermeil is a thicker Gold Plate that is at least 2.5 microns thick and is always applied over Sterling Silver.)

What is Gold Filled?

Gold Filled jewelry is a great alternative to solid 14kt Gold Jewelry because it is a fraction of the price, and it is a noticable step-up in quality from the Gold Plated jewelry. Gold Filled jewelry has literally 100% more Gold than a Gold Plating, because it is a layer of Gold bonded to a base metal. Gold Fill by law is required to have at least 5% or 1/20 Gold by weight. Jewelers Garden items are 14kt Gold Filled which can also be identified as 14/20 (GF) Gold Filled. Gold Filled jewelry has a general lifespan of 10-30 years depending on wear and care. Unlike solid Gold, which lasts forever. Tarnishing of Gold Filled jewelry is rare, but can happen under circumstances of extreme sulfide exposure, chemical exposure, or fire. 

With the differenced of these two laid out, I do have to say, as the owner of Jewelers Garden, and a jewelry lover myself, I tend to favor Gold Filled jewelry. I can wear my Jewelers Garden Gold Filled bracelets all day every day through my showers and gym sessions and all without worrying of tarnishing or fading. That is why I always try to provide Jewelers Garden consumers the best quality as well. 

Thank you for reading, we will see you in our next blog post!

-Jewelers Garden