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What is the difference between gold filled and gold plated?

Gold plated and gold filled are two different methods of applying a layer of gold onto another metal, typically to enhance the appearance and durability of jewelry or other items. However, they differ in terms of the thickness and composition of the gold layer. Here's an explanation of the key differences between gold plated and gold filled:

  1. Gold Plated:

    • Gold plated items have a very thin layer of gold applied to the surface of a base metal. The thickness of the gold layer is typically measured in microns (millionths of a meter) and is quite thin, often ranging from 0.1 to 2.5 microns.
    • The base metal can be various materials, such as brass, copper, or silver.
    • Gold plating is often used for costume jewelry and decorative items because it provides a gold-like appearance at a lower cost than solid gold.
    • Over time, the thin gold layer on plated items can wear off or tarnish, revealing the base metal underneath.
  2. Gold Filled:

    • Gold filled items have a thicker layer of gold applied to the surface compared to gold plated items. The gold layer in gold-filled jewelry is usually much thicker, typically around 5% to 10% of the total weight of the item.
    • The core or base metal in gold-filled items is usually a higher-quality material like brass, copper, or sterling silver.
    • Gold filled jewelry is more durable and longer-lasting than gold plated jewelry because the thicker gold layer is less prone to wearing off with regular use and time.
    • Gold filled jewelry is a good middle-ground option between solid gold and gold plated items in terms of both appearance and durability.

In summary, the main difference between gold plated and gold filled items is the thickness of the gold layer and the base metal used. Gold plated items have a very thin layer of gold and may wear off relatively quickly, while gold filled items have a thicker gold layer and are more durable and longer-lasting. When considering purchasing jewelry or other items, it's important to be aware of these differences to make an informed choice based on your preferences and budget.