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Gold Filled vs. Gold Plated


Have you been a victim of trendy jewelry turning green, tarnishing, or causing your skin to be irritated? Sunday Jewels' founder, Makanani was a victim, and you may be too!

Welcome to Sunday Jewels - Sunday School, where we take a deep dive to break the most common jewelry myths. 

Let's talk Gold baby.

Fun fact: there are more than 9 different types of gold. 

Each type of gold has a level of purity that is measured by its karats. Solid gold or 100% gold is very malleable and is too soft for fine jewelry, so fine gold jewelry will usually refer to an alloy, which is a mixture of gold and another type of metal. 

How pure is my gold jewelry?

24 karat = 100% gold

Too soft for fine jewelry

22 karat = 91.7% gold

Too soft for fine jewelry

18 karat = 75.0% gold

Ideal for fine jewelry

14 karat = 58.3% gold

Ideal for fine jewelry

10 karat = 41.7% gold

Ideal for fine jewelry

14k/18k Gold filled = 5% gold

Ideal for fine jewelry

Gold vermeil = 0.5-1% gold

Not suitable for fine jewelry

Gold plated = 0.05% gold

Not suitable for fine jewelry


What are the benefits of gold?

Gold never tarnishes and has amazing workability. Many jewelers including Sunday Jewels, love working with gold because if properly cared for gold can last indefinitely. Gold never oxidizes or corrodes meaning it will keep its shine and luster. 

What is Gold-Filled?

Gold-Filled jewelry contains 5% solid gold and is created by a heat-bonding process. This process permanently bonds a layer of gold (usually 2-3 microns) with heat and pressure to the base metal (a high-quality jeweler's brass). With the thickness of the gold and the fact that pure gold does not tarnish, gold-filled jewelry pieces are protected against wear and tear like tarnishing. This protective layer allows gold-filled jewelry pieces to be worn every day without the loom of the pure gold price tag. Gold-filled jewelry pieces can be found in a low to mid-price range making them affordable for their quality. The cost to manufacture gold-filled jewelry is the most expensive when comparing it to gold-plated jewelry processes - the manufacturing cost plays a significant role in the overall retail price of gold-filled jewelry. 

What is Gold Plated?

Gold-plated jewelry contains 0.03% - 0.05% solid gold and is created by a process called electroplating. The electroplating process does not bind the gold to the base metal (usually brass, copper, or nickel). The base metal is coated with a thin layer of gold via electrolytic disposition. Gold-plated jewelry flakes and tarnishes very quickly with everyday use. This type of gold jewelry is usually the cheapest option and is used to make trendy pieces for short-term wear. The cost to manufacture gold-plated jewelry is very cheap - this can determine the retail price.

What should I look out for when shopping online?

Many jewelry brands will state the material of their jewelry in the item description - if that information is not available it's a good sign to steer clear, you may be better off shopping somewhere else.

  • Try your best to stay away from websites that state gold-plated and gold-dipped jewelry. 
  • It is important to always check the item description for the words gold-filled or acronym GF - sometimes gold-filled jewelry is stamped as GF so look for a stamp when possible.
  • Price can also determine the quality of jewelry.  The price of gold-filled jewelry pieces is usually more expensive than gold-plated pieces. 
  • When shopping for specific types of jewelry keep in mind how often your jewelry comes in contact with water and other elements. Rings tend to suffer the most from wear and tear.  Try your best to choose that are gold filled, wherever possible 

 Sunday Jewels are proud to say that all of our jewelry is gold-filled - our jewelry is water-resistant, non-tarnishing, and sweat-proof. This means you can wear our jewelry to the gym, in the shower, and every day. Our jewelry is high quality, skin-friendly, and can last longer than gold plated gold dipped, and gold vermeil options. Sunday Jewels strives to provide a selection of high-quality and timeless everyday pieces to express yourself and your beauty. 

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