What Are The Differences in Gold Fashion Jewelry?
Gold-filled jewelry is a great, less expensive option to 14K gold jewelry. A thick layer of gold is bonded to a base metal usually sterling silver. The entire outer layer of gold-filled jewelry can be 14K gold, so the appearance is the same as the more expensive option of solid gold.
The gold filled supplies I use are “14/20”. The first number is the karat purity of the gold used; the second number is the amount, by weight, of gold to the substrate material. “14/20” gold-filled material is made with 14-karat gold and the gold represents 1/20th (or 5%) of the total weight of the material. This is up to 100 times the amount of gold as in gold plated jewelry. Because the gold is bonded to the base metal, it will not peel off as gold plated jewelry may over time.
Because the outer layer is 14K gold, gold filled jewelry does not tarnish like gold plated and all silver jewelry can. It stays true to color and is one of the few metals that does not discolor over time.
Gold plated jewelry has a much smaller percentage of gold and goes through a different process than gold filled. To create gold plated jewelry or supplies, a base metal goes through a series of processes and is eventually dipped into a bath of electroplating solution which contains the gold.
The biggest benefit of gold-plated jewelry is that it’s stronger than solid gold. Gold is a soft metal, and can easily be nicked or bent. 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.
Gold tone jewelry refers to any piece that has no measurable gold content, but has a finish that appears to be gold. Some thinly electroplated jewelry may also be referred to as gold tone, but is more commonly called "gold plated." In all cases, gold tone or plated jewelry has so little gold that the gold content cannot be measured in karats—any gold or gold color is merely cosmetic.