Gold Plated vs Gold Filled Jewelry – What’s the Difference?

What’s the difference between gold filled and gold plated jewelry?  If you are looking to buy jewelry and other products such as gold antiques, you may not realize how many different types are there on the market. The main two types of gold jewelry that you may see as you shop are gold plated and gold filled items. Though they may sound like the same kind of jewelry, there are actually several differences. By knowing what these differences are, you will be in a much better position to make an informed purchasing decision. This way, you can be sure that you will be getting a good value for your money when you buy gold jewelry.

What is gold plated jewelry?

If you have ever purchased jewelry in the past, you may have seen the term gold-plated, also called gold plate. This is a method of covering another type of metal with a very thin, almost microscopic film of pure gold by electroplating it. Some businesses referred to gold plated jewelry as gold overlay, however, these are essentially the same things. Among the biggest benefits of gold plated items is the fact that it is fairly strong. Gold is a soft metal, and it is easily susceptible to dents and bending.

Gold plating can lend an attractive finish to a piece that must be sturdy and durable. The downside is that the gold finish on gold plated items can begin to chip and wear away over time. Additionally, some items can be prone to tarnishing.

So what about gold filled jewelry?

Gold filled jewelry is much more valuable than gold plated. In fact there is almost 100% more gold in gold filled items than is found in gold plated items. Just as gold plated jewelry is plated with gold, gold filled jewelry is as well, but there is a big difference between the ways these products are made. Gold filled items have a much thicker layer of gold on them, and the gold is a much higher quality. In fact, it is just a step down from solid gold when it comes to quality and value.

Speaking of solid gold, pure gold is very soft and it is not a good choice for jewelry; that is why an alloy is almost always used for gold jewelry items, even in jewelry pieces worth an incredible amount of money. Gold filled items also use a gold alloy, which can be very strong depending on the karat of the gold that is used. Remember that the lower carats of gold tend to be a bit stronger, 14 carat gold being an example.

A higher carat of gold indicates a higher purity, and while that means the gold piece itself is more valuable, the metal will be a little softer. As a frame of reference, keep in mind that 24 karat gold is pure gold and, thus, the softest form of gold available. Buyers who are looking for a more durable jewelry piece may want to opt for a lower carat. You won’t need to worry about gold filled jewelry tarnishing, and even if you have an allergy to certain metals, you won’t have to worry about allergies from metals such as nickel. You can’t say the same about gold plated jewelry.

Which is the best choice for you?

Now that you know about the differences between jewelry that is gold filled and gold plated, you may be wondering which the best choice is for you. There are certainly pros and cons for both types of jewelry

PROS. Gold-filled jewelry has a much higher amount of gold in it and is much more valuable. This is a durable piecethat will not tarnish or chip. It is also safe for those with metal allergies. And a gold plated? Gold plated jewelry is very affordable and looks just like real gold. The piece will be very strong and durable in most cases as the gold will be plated over stronger metal.

The CONS. Gold-filled jewelry is more expensive than plated jewelry and will last longer; however, it does have a life span of about 5 to 10 years, unlike pure gold pieces which will last forever. And the gold-plated? The amount of gold is minimal in this type of jewelry, and this leads to a much lower value. This type of jewelry can also tarnish chip and flake away.

So which gold jewelry will you buy? Well, it doesn’t really matter, it’s all about fashion.