Is the term "gold-filled" the same as "gold-plated"? What's the difference?
Gold plating is a very thin layer of gold applied to a brass base or other metal/alloy through an electroplating process. Gold plating is estimated to contain only 0.05% or less of gold which causes it to wear off rather quickly and expose the brass base product. Furthermore, gold plating does not stand up to heat, water or wear over time.
Gold filled items contain over 100% more gold than gold plated items and is constructed of 2-3 layers. Either 12 KT of 14 KT gold is permanently bonded to the core metal and since all the gold is on the surface, it protects the product from tarnish and wear. Gold-filled is usually a lifetime product because the gold layer bonded to the brass core is quite thick.
Can gold-filled tarnish?
Gold-filled does not typically tarnish due to every day wear but it can happen under extreme and rare circumstances. In certain instances of extreme sulfide exposure, gold-filled items can blacken, although this has only occurred a handful of times over our decades of gold-filled use. Other rare documented instances have occurred when the gold-filled products have been transported through extremely polluted foreign shipping docks in a few countries or when these products were stored in nail salons with high levels of chemical sulfide fumes and were exposed to subsequent fire and smoke. These are extreme conditions that are unlikely to happen to most end users.
How do I care for my gold-filled jewelry?
Gold-filled jewelry should be cared for in the same manner as other precious jewelry items. Here are some tips to help prolong the life of your jewelry and to keep your pieces looking brand new:
- Clean your jewelry only with warm water and a mild soap-based detergent. Soak your jewelry pieces for no more than a minute in the water and if you have to scrub, use a soft baby toothbrush and be gentle. Never use tissue or any other paper-based material to clean the pieces. Always pat the jewelry dry with a soft cloth after washing.
- Use a jewelry cloth on your gold-filled pieces to bring back the sparkle that may have washed off with the water. This often happens after gold-filled jewelry comes in contact with water and soap.
- Air dry your jewelry overnight before you put it away. Excessive moisture when stored can lead to jewelry that is corroded and discoloured. Also, when storing your jewelry, try to wrap each piece of gold-filled jewelry in tissue before placing in a box. Constant rubbing against other pieces of jewelry can make it lose its sheen.