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Untangling Jewellery Jargon: Understanding what 'gold filled' really means

Gold filled is a popular choice when it comes to jewellery - it's the trifecta finish - beautiful and also affordable AND high quality. I will explain why...

But first, I feel I should clarify about the name 'gold-filled' (don't ask me who coined the term, I can't find it anywhere), but Gold-filled doesn't in fact mean 'filled-with-gold' as the name suggests... it actually refers to a comparatively thick layer of gold (14k in the case of my jewellery) permanently bonded to a base metal (often brass).

gold filled birthstone necklace with a pearl charm for June birthdays

This means it WON'T flake with wear, like gold plating easily does, which uses a different process.

Gold plating deposits a very thin layer of gold onto a base metal, usually by electroplating or similar and will tarnish and flake off, eventually leaving you with just the base metal underneath.

Gold-filled jewellery by comparison will last a lifetime if well maintained, and even conservative estimates are about 10-30 years of daily wear.

Gold-filled's hard wearing process has strict guidelines that mean that the 14k gold must make up 1/20th of the weight of the piece (earwire, bail, chain and so on). Anything less than this and it cannot be described as gold filled. That is where you might hear terms like 'gold plating', 'heavy gold plate' or 'HGE' (Heavy Gold Electroplate). None of which even come close to the ratio of gold used in Gold-filled and as such won't stand the test of time and wear in the same way.

Gold filled jewellery is incredibly durable, easy to clean, resists tarnish, hypoallergenic, beautiful (it is 14k gold that you're looking at afterall), and all at a tiny fraction of the price of solid gold.

using a polishing cloth to buff your gold filled jewellery to a high shine

And this is why it is a firm favourite of mine - and yours too so it seems; gold-filled jewellery has surpassed silver by leaps and bounds in popularity in recent years.

I hope this was helpful - do let me know by leaving a comment below, and if you want to learn more about how to care for your gold-filled jewellery then click here, or for more interesting posts on other finishes and untangling confusing terms in the jewellery industry, as well as updates from my new collections, then follow me on instagram here and facebook here.

elegant pearl and gold filled jewellery

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