Most of us may have come across the term “ gold-filled” in our jewellery travels. This is commonly misunderstood by many people and even some in the business. To be honest, gold-filled jewellery is higher in value than simply gold-plated jewellery. Gold-filled essentially means that the metal is made up of a thick sheet of gold applied to the base metal, 50 to 100,000 times thicker than gold plating. For something to be considered Gold Filled, the gold content must at least 1/20th the total weight of the item.
Gold filled jewellery was very common in the mid to late-Victorian age, due to the factors of economy and the start of manufacturing processes. Therefore, gold filled jewellery was manufactured in large numbers for customers that would ordinarily not be able to afford to buy solid gold items of jewellery. In addition, the scarcity of gold and the rise of commodities through the industrial revolution drove this demand. Gold filled jewellery is so durable that the gold can last anywhere from 5 – 30 years depending on the wear.
Antique gold filled jewellery contains the most generous amount of gold content, and compares most favourably to today’s 9k and 10k gold creations.
It is also identified by “Rolled Gold, GF, 1/20 12K GF” so commit these terms to memory!
Just so you know:
Gold Filled: Solid gold is rolled out into a sheet and then applied to a base metal through heat – applying a thick plate of gold.
Electroplated Gold: A thin layer of solid gold added to a base metal through the use of electricity, slightly thicker than gold plate.
Gold Plate: A thin layer of solid gold added to jewelry, usually in 12K – can be rubbed off easily.
Gold Vermeil: A light gilt of gold on a piece of jewelry, usually done with 14k yellow gold on sterling silver.