At Donegal Jewelers, we are often asked, "What does 'gold-filled' and 'plated' jewelry mean?
The terms gold-filled, plated, gold-plated and gold-coated all describe solid gold alternatives. All of these have a lesser base metal at their core and a layer of precious metal on their surface. In gold-filled pieces two or three layers of gold are pressure bonded onto a metal base such as brass or copper. Gold-filled jewelry has the thickest layer of gold of all the solid gold alternatives. Legally, it must have at least 5% gold content. The best gold-filled pieces are made with 12 karat or 14 karat gold. These pieces will be stamped 12/20 GF or 14/20 GF. Gold- filled jewelry can maintain their original condition for up to thirty years.
Gold-plated jewelry is made up of a solid base of less precious metal, usually brass, to which precious metals, such as 14 karat gold, are blasted on in a vaporized form. This type of solid gold alternative only has about .05% gold content and can be scratched easily. It will keep its original condition for about five to ten years. However, it is not considered high-quality and durable like gold-filled is.
Gold-coated jewelry has a solid base of a less-precious metal, like copper, brass and sometimes silver, which has a very thin coating of a precious metal such as gold, chromium, silver or platinum applied to it by electrochemical plating. Unfortunately, these pieces of jewelry tend to tarnish, flake and chip.
Here at Donegal Jewelers in Doylestown we sell solid gold, solid silver and gold-filled pieces and are always actively in the market to buy these metals!
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