What Is Gold Filled Jewellery?

Did you know that gold filled jewellery contains 100 times more gold than gold plated?

This huge difference is why gold filled jewellery does not wear out, unlike gold plated and gold vermeil. Many manufacturers and big jewellery companies use gold plated and gold vermeil because it is much cheaper to produce because it uses much less gold. However this comes at the expense of quality. We have all experienced having a beautiful piece of gold plated jewellery which looked great on day 1, but then quickly tarnishes. This is because gold plated jewellery uses 100 times less gold than gold filled. How frustrating!

And even worse, if you’ve got sensitive skin like me then once this ultra thin layer rubs off you start reacting to the base metal below.

The difference comes from how they’re made

Gold plating bonds a microscopically thin layer of gold onto a core metal, usually brass or silver. The process involves electroplating a base metal with just half a micron of gold (that is approximately 140 times thinner than a human hair!). Gold vermeil is not much better, it is a layer of approximately 2.5 microns of gold(so 28 times thinner than a human hair).

Graphic showing the way gold is used jewellery

Gold filled on the other hand is made by strongly bonding a thick layer of gold (legally it must be at least 1/20th) to a core metal using heat and pressure. Incidentally this is why gold filled jewellery is sometimes referred to as 1/20 GF, or 14/20 if it is referring to 14k gold filled.

Have you ever noticed that over time gold plated jewellery tarnishes, even though it isn’t being worn?

This is because the layer of gold in gold plated pieces is so thin that the metal atoms from the base layer diffuse through the gold layer. This causes gradual fading of its colour and tarnishing. To prevent this some gold plated manufacturers will put a layer of Nickel below the gold, but of course nickel is very irritating to many people with sensitive skin so this can actually exacerbate other issues.

In summary…

Hopefully you can see why we think it’s worth purchasing gold filled jewellery over gold plated. Of course it would be nice to only ever buy solid gold...buuut for most of us mere mortals that’s just not realistic.

At Kiri & Belle we only use gold filled for our gold items, sourced from the USA, ensuring high quality standards are maintained. So you can be rest assured that your jewellery from us will stay looking great and be kind on sensitive skin.

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