It's a common question, what's the difference between if an item is solid gold, gold filled, or gold plated? And people ask this often because at first glance, they all look the same! But once you go deeper (literally), you'll see the differences between these three. And it's worth it to know exactly what you're paying for before you buy it!
Solid gold is the most expensive form of gold jewelry and has the most gold content. Its purity is measured in Karats, with 24k (99.9% pure) being the highest. It's not bonded around any other metal, but can be mixed with others to give it a unique color; such as white gold, or rose gold. When mixed with other metals, lower karats become also more durable and less likely to bend.
Gold filled is the next one, and it's a thicker layer of gold bonded onto another metal such as brass. Once you go deeper through the layer of gold, there is another metal inside completely void of gold content. Meaning this one is just gold wrapped around another metal. It's less durable and has a limited life span compared to solid gold. It's also not as valuable as solid gold because of it.
Gold plated is the last one on the list, and this one features the least amount of gold content. It's generally another entire metal with just a thin layer of gold on top of it. While this does give the same appearance at first as the others, it will quickly fade and scratch, exposing the metal inside. It has a typical life span of less than one year and is the least expensive. This type of jewelry usually holds gold contents of less than 0.1 grams.
Solid gold is the most durable, but also the most expensive one. It's tough, the gold won't fade, and it won't tarnish over time. This is the best one to go for if you can afford it and want jewelry that will last a lifetime. Gold filled is a cheaper alternative and looks almost identical to solid gold. You won't notice much of a difference but can save money with it. This type will typically last you a few years and is good if you don't want jewelry that'll last longer than that before it begins to tarnish and fade. Gold plated is the last one, and is only recommended if you are looking not to spend much money. This one won't last for more than a year, but if you need a piece of jewelry for a night on the town, this is the most affordable option.
It can be hard to tell which one you have sometimes. They all look so similar at first! If you have any questions, we're always happy to take a look and let you know exactly what kind of gold you have. You can skip the scratching, acids, and trying to make out symbols and we can let you know in seconds with our metal analyzing equipment! And if you have any questions on the value of your jewelry, we're here to help as well!