Is there a difference between Gold Plated and Gold Filled jewelry?

The short answer is yes, but we don't expect you to take our word for it so we thought we'd draft up a blog post that explains what the differences are exactly. At AHA we exclusively use 14K gold filled for all of our yellow and/or rose gold earring hooks, chains and clasps. After reading  this blog post we're pretty sure you'll understand why. Plus its great to be educated so you know what to shop for. 

Whenever we do jewelry shows or markets we are able to explain in person the types of metals we use in our earring designs. Online, however, its a lot harder to highlight the importance of buying gold filled over gold plated in our short product descriptions.

So here's the deal. Have you ever purchased a "gold" piece of jewelry just to have it turn color, chip or peel on you? You might have even purchased this item at a retail establishment that you wouldn't expect that from. Personally in the past I've picked up jewelry from places like Anthropologie, Jcrew, even Nordstron that this happened to. Most likely this jewelry was gold plated. Frankly most gold tone jewelry sold is plated, because its cheaper to manufacture.

There is a big difference between "gold filled" and gold plated".  Its really good to know the difference so that you know what to shop for and what you are getting for your buck. Bottom line your going to pay a little bit more for gold filled jewelry, but it will stand the test of time, and in our opinion its well worth it. Heres why:

Gold Plated: The process of gold plating is one where a minuscule layer of gold is applied over a base metal (usually brass). The amount of real gold that is used is actually so tiny that its technically considered unmeasurable (less than .05%). This is why gold plating will wear off (actually pretty quickly).

Gold Filled: Gold Filled jewelry is made by wrapping layers of solid gold (14K, 12K, or 18K) sheets around a base metal (usually brass). Unlike gold plated jewelry, gold filled jewelry actually has a measurable amount of gold in it. This process of adhering solid gold sheets makes for jewelry that does not tarnish, peel, chip or discolor. If your gold filled jewelry has ever changed color at all its usually just because of dirt build up and can be cleaned with a damp cloth. Also unlike Silver it won't tarnish.

Check out the diagram below for a visual....

Diagram that shows the different proportions of gold in gold plated vs. gold filled metals. 

Diagram that shows the different proportions of gold in gold plated vs. gold filled metals. 

Because gold filled jewelry is made with solid gold sheets the base metal will not come in contact with the skin. This makes it a safe metal for people with sensitive skin. On the other hand, gold plated jewelry has such a tiny, almost not existent layer of gold that base metal comes in contact with the skin and often causes irritation. 

At AHA we use 14K gold filled in all the findings to handcraft our leather earrings. We believe crafting a quality product that will stand the test of time is the most important aspect of owning a business. Our jewelry becomes an extension of the individual and we want your AHA to be just as shiny two years after bought it as the day it came in the mail.

If you are looking for gold plated jewelry check the product descriptions and tags. Most likely items that are 14K or 18K gold filled will be marked in some way shape or form. Businesses will want to let you know that you are getting a quality product. If there is no marking, or labeling telling you its gold filled, most likely its just plain ole plated. We hope this info was helpful! Leave us a comment or shoot us an email if you have any questions!