Experts predict the global market for gold jewelry to climb over $304 billion by 2030. Consumer demand remains high for eye-catching gold pieces, but not all buyers know what to look for.
If you’re looking for golden accessories to add to your collection, it’s essential to understand the basics. The following guide will explore the differences when it comes to gold-filled vs gold-plated jewelry and how they compare to solid gold.
No matter what gold amount or type you’re looking for, read on to ensure you make the best decision for your collection.
Understanding Gold Filled Jewelry
Gold-filled jewelry gets created by bonding a gold layer on top of a metal base. Typically, brass gets used for the metal base in most jewelry.
For jewelry to get the title of ‘gold filled’, the layer of gold must make up a minimum of 5% of the total metal used. In most cases, gold-filled jewelry gets created using either 12k or 14k gold.
The process of creating gold-filled jewelry involves the use of specialized machinery. Because of this, gold-filled jewelry tends to get produced on a mass scale. Independent jewelers simply don’t have the machinery necessary to create the jewelry.
Gold-filled jewelry has the thickest gold layer when compared to vermeil or gold-plated options. That means it has more durability and will last much longer before it tarnishes, fades, and wears down to the jewelry’s base metal sitting under the gold.
It costs much less than solid gold options and is a perfect solution for a tight budget. If you don’t need the jewelry piece to last an entire lifetime, it’s also a good choice.
Drawbacks of Gold Filled Jewelry
It has better durability than vermeil or gold-plated jewelry, but it still wears down and won’t last forever. You also can’t polish or restore gold-filled jewelry the way you can with solid gold jewelry.
After a gold-filled piece starts to fade, that’s how it will look and there’s no way to change it. You can keep the gold layer intact longer and slow fading by avoiding contact with sweat, moisture, lotions, chemicals, and any other harmful surfaces.
Once the gold wears down, you might have an allergic reaction to the base metal underneath. You can check out Waterproof & Hypoallergenic Jewelry By Velani as an alternative if you struggle with metal allergies.
It’s also important to note that gold-filled jewelry doesn’t retain its value like solid options do. It might cost less upfront, but it will break down to its metal core over time and become almost worthless.
Understanding Gold Filled Jewelry
Gold-plated jewelry gets created by adding a very light gold layer onto a metal base. Keep in mind that gold plating has no regulation so the thickness tends to fluctuate quite a bit.
Price is the biggest advantage of gold-plated jewelry as it’s the cheapest kind of gold. Although it’s cheap, it’s still much better quality compared to costume jewelry. So, consider gold-plated jewelry for a classy one-off event to compliment your outfit.
Know that its thin layer of gold means it tarnishes and breaks down rapidly which exposes the base metal. To prolong its life, don’t wear it frequently and always take it off when you wash your hands, shower, swim, use lotion, work out, and sweat.
Just like with gold-filled options, avoid gold-plated jewelry if you’re allergic to the base metal underneath. It has the shortest life of any gold jewelry, so gold-plated options don’t make sustainable purchases.
Gold-Filled vs Gold-Plated
Both gold-plated and gold-filled jewelry get created by adding a thin gold coating on top of a metal base. However, gold-filled jewelry has minimum standards to meet concerning how much gold gets used in the creation.
Gold-plated jewelry on the other hand can include any gold amount and it tends to be the absolute thinnest coating possible. With that being said, both options use an extremely thin gold layer and look similar to the naked eye.
Is It Better to Go With Solid Gold?
Solid gold jewelry means it was created completely out of gold or a gold alloy. Gold alloy mixes gold with different materials such as silver, nickel, zinc, palladium, and copper. That’s due to the fact that 24k gold isn’t hard enough on its own for jewelry.
Jewelry using solid gold boasts a rich, creamy appearance that really sets it apart from other options. It’s the most durable and enduring choice because it lasts a lifetime and some pieces even get handed down from one generation to the next.
You can wear solid gold jewelry daily and not have to stress about it fading or tarnishing. It always remains gold and never wears down to a base metal like gold-filled and gold-plated options.
It also makes the most valuable gold jewelry options and holds its value exceptionally over the years. You can also easily polish scratches on solid gold to get it back to a like-new state.
You can recycle solid gold over and over again, which makes it the most sustainable option for gold. It’s a great option for things like engagement rings and wedding bands, or just as a way to treat yourself to an outstanding jewelry piece.
While the upfront cost is significantly higher than solid and plated options, you certainly get what you pay for. Go with solid options anytime you want a piece to last you forever or when you want to give a meaningful gift that won’t break down.
Remember that while price is its biggest disadvantage, you can always sell it down the line to eager buyers. In some cases, you might even sell a solid gold piece for more than you paid originally.
Deciding Which Type to Buy
When it comes to gold-filled vs gold-plated, it all depends on the situation. Both make great affordable options if you don’t need the jewelry for more than a few occasions.
Gold-filled is the better choice if you think you can take care of it and get more mileage out of the jewelry. But remember that you’ll eventually have to part with either type because they don’t last forever as solid gold does.
You can browse our site’s fashion category for more jewelry-buying tips and other great outfit ideas.