GOLD FILLED JEWELRY
Gold filled jewelry is made by bonding a layer of gold onto a base metal (usually brass) core. To be considered ‘gold-filled’, the gold layer must be at least 5% of the total metal content. Most gold-filled jewelry is made with 12 karat or 14 karat gold.
Because this process uses specialized machinery, gold-filled jewelry is usually mass-produced as independent jewelers don’t have access to the machinery.
Advantages of gold-filled jewelry
Compared to gold-plated or vermeil, gold-filled has the thickest layer of gold, meaning it will last longer before tarnishing, fading, and wearing down to the base metal underneath the gold. It’s less expensive than solid gold, so if you’re on a budget and don’t need your jewelry to last a lifetime, this can be a good option.
Disadvantages of gold-filled jewelry
While it’s more durable than vermeil or gold-plated jewelry, gold-filled jewelry is still only 1/20th gold and it will eventually wear off over time. Gold-filled jewelry also can’t be polished or restored like solid gold can – once it fades or wears through, that’s what you’re stuck with. Avoid water, sweat, lotions, chemicals, and any contact with other surfaces to keep the gold layer intact for as long as possible.
If you’re allergic to base metals, you may want to avoid gold-fill since it will eventually wear down to its base metal core.
Unlike solid-gold, gold-filled jewelry won’t hold its value, so while it’s less expensive to begin with, it will eventually deteriorate to its brass core and become waste – not a win in the sustainability department.