Is there a difference between gold plated and gold filled jewelry?
The two terms may sound interchangeable, and the pieces may even look the same- at least at first. There are differences between the two however, and these are crucial for anyone shopping for jewelry to understand.
First we should understand what gold plated means. At any level (14k, 18k) plated jewelry is a very thin layer of gold (0.05%) that has been pressure bonded onto a variety of base metals. The benefit of this process is the lower cost due to the minimal amount that is adhered to the jewelry. The main drawback is that this layer rubs off quickly with normal wear. This “wearing off” can be drastically sped up depending on other factors as well, such as frequency of use, sweating when you wear it, and bathing or sleeping with it on. All of these should be avoided if you want to extend the life of any gold plated jewelry. Gold filled jewelry does not have these types of issues.
Gold-filled jewelry is a higher grade than gold plated. Gold-fill does not wear off, does not tarnish, you can sweat, shower, sleep and swim with it. (I have worn my gold-filled products for weeks without removing to test this myself). Gold-filled is more gold than gold-plated and therefore more expensive. While it is not solid gold, it looks like solid gold jewelry, lasts virtually just as long, and can be produced less expensively.
Inlustrus jewelry uses gold-filled in almost all of our gold products. Some items it's not possible to use gold-filled and we will always be transparent about our materials as well as the pricing of items accordingly.
There is one more type of gold jewelry called vermeil. This is yet another technique of putting gold onto a different metal, however, I will go into this on a later day, in another blog.