Gold-Plated, Gold-Filled, Solid Gold.... What's the difference?
Have you ever bought "gold" jewelry only for the gold to tarnish and rub off after just a few wears? At Son of a Sailor, we use 14k gold-filled materials to create our jewelry to avoid these issues. Gold-filled jewelry will last a lifetime without losing its shine, but is still affordable!
You might have heard this term, "gold-filled," more and more recently, but wondered what that actually means. All of these different jewelry terms (gold-plated, gold-filled, solid gold, ahh!) can seem overwhelming. It doesn't have to be. Let's talk about it!
Categories of Gold Jewelry
There are 3 main categories of gold jewelry you will see when shopping: gold-plated, gold-filled, and solid gold. These all have gold in them, but in drastically different amounts.
What is Gold-Plated?
Gold-plated jewelry has a very thin, almost immeasurable, coating of gold over a base metal. This thin coating of gold will look shiny when you buy it, but will quickly tarnish and wear down to the base metal. If you are looking for the most affordable option, gold-plated is it. Just don't expect for it to look exactly like it did when you bought it for long.
What is Gold-Filled?
Gold-filled jewelry has a thick coating of gold over a base metal. Gold-filled jewelry is legally required to be 5% gold by weight. For reference, gold-plated is usually 0.05%. Gold-filled jewelry is a great middle ground between gold-plated and solid gold. It is more affordable than solid gold. Due to the thickness of the gold layer over the base metal, it will still give you a lifetime of wear without wearing down quickly like gold-plated.
What is Solid Gold?
This one is easy, it's solid! It is the most expensive option because it does not have a base metal and is solid gold all the way through. Although, pay attention to the karat. Solid gold is usually an alloy of gold mixed with other metals. Karat denotes how much pure gold is in your jewelry and will affect the softness and color.
The usual range you will see is from 10k to 24k. 24k is pure gold with no other metal mixed in. 24k gold is the softest and brightest in color. 10k has more alloy metal and less gold, which makes it more durable and a lighter color. The most common karat levels to see are 10k, 14k, 18k, 22k, and 24k.
Gold-Filled at Son of a Sailor
You will see many different types of gold-filled elements used in our jewelry. It may be chain, closures, beads, or accents.
Ada Bracelet | Periwinkle, Septima Bracelet | Olive
Shirin Bracelet | Peach, Bev Necklace