Which is better? Gold-Filled or Gold-Plated jewelry?
FILLED or PLATED?
We are asked this question very often by our customers, so we've decided to explain the differences between these two processes in this blog post, while also sharing our first hand experiences with the two.
The manufacturing processes used to make Gold-Filled Jewelry and Gold-Plated Jewelry are completely different from one another. The basic premise of both, however, is using a base metal - brass, copper or sterling - and coating it with Gold.
In the Gold-Filled process, imagine a sandwich, where the core metal is the "ham" and the gold is the two pieces of "bread". This metal sandwich is then heated and passed through a roller several times, bonding the metals together and thinning out the sheet.
In the Gold-Plated process, the base metal is inserted into a solution containing gold ions. An electric current is used to negatively charge the base metal and positively charge the solution. The positive gold ions are attracted to the negative charge of the core metal, slowly forming a layer of gold on top of the core.
The standard amount of gold used in Gold-Filled jewelry is about 5% gold on the core metal, while in Gold-Plated jewelry it's about .05% gold on core metal. The amount of gold is a significant difference between the two, which explains why Gold-Filled jewelry has the reputation of being the better of the two. However, thicker amounts of gold can be added to both processes during the manufacturing, significantly affecting the quality and durability of the end product. (1)
So which should you buy?
Based on the explanation above, Gold-Filled jewelry should be more durable than Gold-Plated. However, since the exact manufacturing process and gold thickness applied to each piece is not information normally divulged at the time of purchase, it is very difficult to determine which will last longer.
Additionally, there are also many other variables than come into play affecting the durability of the metal, including: skin types, usage of creams and perfumes, exposure to water and sweat, care of the jewelry, etc.
In our experience, it's very hard to say. Both Gold-Filled and Gold-Plated can be good and can last a decent amount of time depending on how they were made and the environmental variables above mentioned.
The bottom line is that if you'd like your Gold-Filled and Gold-Plated jewelry to last, you should take good care of it. See our Jewelry Care Tips for care ideas. https://www.lexijewelry.com/jewelry-care-tips/
The only metal (besides Platinum) that will endure the test of usage, time and that will last forever is GOLD. That's why we now offer a 14Kt Gold Collection. https://www.lexijewelry.com/14kt-gold-jewelry/
(1) Halstead Bead, Articles, Gold-Filled vs. Gold-Plated, August 4, 2017