If you are looking to buy jewelry and other products, such as gold antiques, you may not realize how many different types there are on the market. The main two types of gold jewelry that you may see as you shop are gold-plated items and gold-filled items.
Though they may sound like the same kind of jewelry, there are actually several differences.
By knowing what these differences are, you will be in a much better position to make an informed purchasing decision. This way, you can be sure that you will be getting a good value for your money when you buy gold jewelry.
What Does Gold-Plated Mean?
If you have ever purchased jewelry in the past, you may have seen the term gold-plated. Also called gold-plate, this is a method of covering another type of metal with a very thin, almost microscopic, film of pure gold by electroplating it. Some businesses refer to gold-plated jewelry as gold-overlay; however, these are essentially the same things.
At Raf Rossi Gold Plated all of our Gold Plated jewelry are electroplated and cover with 8 layers of gold 18kts.
This is a durable piece that will not tarnish or chip within a year of continues use. It is also safe for those with metal allergies.
Among the biggest benefits of gold-plated items is the fact that it is fairly strong. Gold is a soft metal, and it is easily susceptible to nicks, dents, and bending. Gold-plating can lend an attractive finish to a piece that must be sturdy and durable. The downside is that the gold finish on gold-plated items can begin to chip and wear away over time. Additionally, some items may be prone to tarnishing.
What Does Gold-Filled Mean?
Gold-filled jewelry is much more valuable than gold-plated. In fact, there is almost 100 percent more gold in gold-filled items than is found in gold-plated items. Just as gold-plated jewelry is plated with gold, gold-filled jewelry is as well, but there is a big difference between the ways these products are made.
Gold-filled items have a much thicker layer of gold on them, and the gold is a much higher quality. In fact, it is just a step down from solid gold when it comes to quality and value. Speaking of solid gold, pure gold is very soft and is not a good choice for jewelry; that is why an alloy is almost always used for gold jewelry items, even in jewelry pieces worth an incredible amount of money.
Gold-filled items also use a gold alloy, which can be very strong depending on the karat of the gold that is used. Remember that the lower karats of gold tend to be a bit stronger, 14 karat gold being an example. A higher karat of gold indicates a higher purity, and while that means the gold piece itself is more valuable, the metal will be a little softer. As a frame of reference, keep in mind that 24 karat gold is pure gold and, thus, the softest form of gold available. Buyers who are looking for a more durable jewelry piece may want to opt for a lower karat.
You won't need to worry about gold-filled jewelry tarnishing, and even if you have an allergy to certain metals, you won't have to worry about allergies from metals such as nickel. You can't say the same about gold-plated jewelry.
Finding Out if an Item is Plated or Filled
You may think it's fairly easy to find out if a piece of jewelry is gold-filled or gold-plated. Unfortunately, it isn't that easy. Some people will rely on stamps, markers, and other identifiers on the gold item, something that the US Department of Commerce requires; however, this only applies to gold-filled items made in the US. If this stamp is present, it will indicate how much pure gold is in the jewelry. For instance, the minimum amount in order to be considered gold-filled is 20 percent. This item would have a stamp that looks like 1/20. You may also see 1/50, which would indicate that the item is 50 percent pure gold. This may seem like a fool proof way to figure it out, but it's not.
Why? Well first of all, this marking process is only done in the US. Jewelry made of gold is made throughout the world, and this is not a standard that other countries follow. As with any product, gold jewelry comes from all over the place, so unless you know for sure it is from the US, you may not see this stamp. On top of this, other countries and manufacturers may stamp their jewelry, but you may not know what it means, or it could be stamped to gold-plated jewelry in order to get more money for it.
There are two fool proof ways to test an item to ensure it is gold-filled instead of jewelry that is gold-plated, but both require you to see a professional. The first is to have the piece electronically tested with a device that can tell you how thick the gold is on a piece of jewelry. This is a wonderful method, but not all jewelers will offer it as the machine is very expensive. The traditional way of testing for gold is to do an acid test. With this test, a small amount of acid will be put on the jewelry and will indicate gold plating as it will dissolve the plating right off. Only a small amount of the plating will dissolve, but you will definitely know what type of jewelry you have.