Everything We Should Know Before Buying Gold Filled Jewelry

Gold filled jewelry is very popular nowadays for its affordable, durable and elegant design. But you may feel hard to accurately explain what is gold filled, how much it worth, does it tarnish and many other questions to countless eager eyes. So we include here a list of FAQs that may be helpful to you.

What does gold filled mean

What Does Gold Filled Mean?

Gold filled is a process to mechanically bond gold with some base metals like brass or even sterling silver by pressure and heat. For gold filled jewelry, the gold is actually not filled inside the jewelry, but outside to form a single-clad or double-clad gold filled jewelry. According to the USA Federal Trade Commission, the gold filled jewelry must have at least 5% gold, usually 12k or 14k gold, in the weight of the total item.

An authentic gold filled jewelry is often stamped with hallmarks like 14/20 GF or 1/20 14kt GF to reflect its construction and the karat of gold used outside of the base metals. By the way, GF is the abbreviation of gold filled.

Is Gold Filled Jewelry Real Gold?

Yes. The thick layer of gold in authentic gold-filled jewelry is absolutely real. Usually, they’re solid real 14k or 12k gold, the same as what you get from other solid 14k or 12k gold items.

Is a Gold Filled Worth Anything?

Yes, it does worth something though not solid gold. But how much it is actually worth may depend on the gold content and the karat of gold used on top of the base metal. More gold used often worth more. And, for the same 5% of gold content, the higher the karat of gold, the pricier it is. However, they’re much less expensive than solid gold due to less gold included, but more valuable than gold plated or RGP (Rolled Gold Plate) items which may contain only very little or low-quality gold.

How Long Does Gold Filled Jewelry Last?

The gold filled jewelry is very durable and the thick or thin layer of 5% gold can protect it from tarnish and flaking off. In theory, gold filled jewelry is a lifetime product. As reported, we can now still see some gold filled jewelry from over 100 years ago in Victorian times. But how long it can actually last in practice may rely on factors like how often you wear it, how you care for it, the environment they’re exposed to, etc. Usually, it can be worn for around 10 to 30 years with proper care until you need a trip to refill it.

Does Gold Filled Tarnish?

It depends. Usually, the 5% gold around the base metals can protect against tarnish, but the gold fill does tarnish over time, especially on some occasions. For example, when the gold filled items are polluted during transportation, a gold filled necklace, ring or chain is stored in an environment with high chemical fumes or smoke, or any scratches damage the gold layer. All these conditions may cause the jewelry to corrode or blacken, even though a piece of 14k gold filled jewelry.

However, the gold filled tarnish can be easily cleaned in daily life with some soapy water or baking soda.

Can I Shower with Gold Filled Jewelry?

Yes, it’s fine to shower or even swim wearing your gold filled chain or necklace, because the thick layer of gold bonded is waterproof. They’re very durable and won’t wear or flake off as what may occur to gold plated jewelry. However, we do recommend you to take them off when you shower or swim in seawater, because high chlorides may eat the outer gold.

Does Gold Filled Jewelry Turn Your Skin Green?

Honestly speaking, the gold filled jewelry doesn’t turn your skin green or black, because they have much more gold than gold plated items famous for staining skin due to a very thin layer of gold electroplated. The thick gold can stop the jewelry from rubbing off or turning colors.

But it’s better to give any jewelry a chance to breathe at night or other times instead of 24/7 wearing to stop any corrosion that may be caused by the makeups, sweat or natural oil from our body.

What's the Difference Between Gold Filled and Gold Plated?

The main difference between gold filled and gold plated is the manufacturing process and the amount of gold used on top of base metals.

The gold filled, usually containing at least 5% gold, has the base metals bonded with a thick layer of gold or sandwiched between two layers of gold by heat or pressure. In contrast, the gold plated, containing only around 0.05% gold, uses an electroplating process to have positive gold ions attracted to the negative charge of base metals, creating a very thin outer layer of gold. So the gold-filled usually has far more gold than the gold plated items.

So these are the questions we often see about gold filled. In the end, hope the information above can help you fully understand everything about gold filled, and guide you in making a better choice when buying gold-filled jewelry.

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