The term ‘gold-filled’ can cause a lot of confusion as there are simply so many different descriptions out there to define what is essentially metal, which has an outer layer of gold, meaning the main body of the item is made from something else.
Looks can be very deceiving and you need to be certain of what you are buying particularly online, so it is vital you do your homework before parting with any cash.
Gold-filled refers to a gold overlay which is bonded using a process of heat and pressure, to an inner brass layer. The majority of the gold-filled items we stock here at Cooksongold contain 1/20th 14 carat gold which means they contain approximately 5% gold, with the remaining 95% being made of brass. The quality and percentage of gold used for these products varies enormously so check the small print until you find the facts and figures, as descriptions can often be quite vague.
Why choose Gold-filled?
Good quality gold-filled products provide the look of gold at a fraction of the cost. They also offer increased durability and greater tarnish resistance over gold-plated items, which contain a much thinner layer of gold, meaning it can often rub off very easily.
Here is a comparison of like for like products:
|Gold-filled 12mm lobster clasp||N1F L12||£3.82 (Inc. VAT)||0.51g|
|9 carat Gold 11mm lobster clasp||NBF L11||£17.02 (Inc. VAT)||0.55g|
The difference in cost is quite astonishing and is highly likely to make anyone stop in their tracks to be honest! But the weight is also quite an interesting factor, as you can see the difference between gold-filled and 9 carat is minimal even when taking into account the slight difference in size and lack of jump ring on the 9 carat product. This means you would still retain a quality look and feel to a product when using gold-filled pieces which is reassuring.
Here are a few key factors to keep in mind:
• File or cut into a gold-filled product, as it will reveal the brass under layer.
• Over polish as this will reduce the thickness of the gold layer.
• Wear next to harder, more abrasive metals (such as steel) for prolonged periods as this will wear away the gold layer.
• Spray perfumes or hairspray onto your gold-filled jewellery as this will increase the risk of tarnishing.
• Try to cast using gold-filled metal.
• Solder using 9 carat easy solder.
• Polish gently to help maintain the gold layer.
• Mix with similar, softer metal components (e.g. silver) to minimise wear.
• Offer gold-filled options to customers to maximise look but lower the cost.
• Discuss the gold content of the metal with customers because not all gold-filled products are created equal and not everyone will be prepared to disclose this information.
View our full range of gold-filled products
Written by Joanna Varney
Joanna has worked in and around the jewellery industry for well over 20 years. She has designed and created her own pieces as a designer maker, as well as working in jewellery retail on a much larger scale, producing designs and NPD for some of the UK’s largest high street retailers