What is gold-filled jewelry?

Posted by Beth on Aug 18, 2008

What exactly is gold-filled jewelry?  Gold-filled charms and chains are a great economical option to solid 14 karat gold.  It looks and feels the same as 14 karat, but is much cheaper to purchase.   In fact, gold-filled has a solid layer of 14 karat gold in contact with your eyes and skin, so it really is like having solid 14 karat from a look and feel perspective. 

Half inch gold-filled discs with puffy heart

 Gold filled jewelry (also called gold overlay) is regulated by law, and must have a 1/20th (by weight) layer of 14 karat gold permanently bonded over a core of base metal, such as brass.  In contrast, Gold-plated is not regulated by law, and has about 1/100th the amount of real gold on its surface.  The gold on gold-plated can also flake off, whereas the gold on gold-filled items will not rub off or flake off with wear.   Gold-filled is tarnish-resistant and safe for most people with sensitive skin who can wear solid 14 karat gold jewelry.  So gold-filled jewelry is a great economical way to enjoy the substance and shine of gold without the big price tag.

I have carried and worked with both solid 14 karat gold discs and gold-filled discs, and I can honestly say that in looking at them, I cannot tell the difference between them.  In fact, the solid 14k metal tends to be softer than the gold-filled and is therefore harder to work with, from a stamping perspective.  I plan to have a few new gold-filled items I will be adding to the site soon, too.  So keep checking back!