Gold Fill Jewelry & Care


At ETJ, we use gold-filled chains and findings for their incredible durability and likeness to fine gold. When we highlight this feature to customers, we are often asked, "What is gold-filled jewelry?" 

Although the name suggests that gold-filled jewelry is filled with gold, it is not. Gold is mechanically bonded (up to 3 layers) onto the outside of a core metal (such as brass) with heat and pressure. Gold-filled is legally required to contain 5% or 1/20 gold by weight. This would be described as: 12k or 14k gold-filled, and 12/20 or 14/20 gold-filled. Gold-filled jewelry contains significantly more gold than gold-plated jewelry. It has a very similar appearance to 14k gold jewelry, and it's a fraction of the price. Gold-filled jewelry is also durable and will not flake, peel, or wear off. With reasonable care, it should last a lifetime.

Gold-plated jewelry has a significantly lower percentage of gold and goes through a different manufacturing process than gold-filled jewelry. Gold-plated jewelry is created by dipping a base metal (such as brass) into a bath of electroplating solution that contains gold and applying an electric current. This results in a microscopic layer of gold deposited onto the metal. This layer is much thinner than the coating of gold that covers gold-filled jewelry. Gold-plated jewelry has a layer of gold between 0.175 and 2.5 microns (1 micron=1 millionth of a meter). 

Gold-filled jewelry has at least a hundred times the amount of gold than the few microns of gold coating in gold-plated jewelry. Gold-filled items are 50 to 100,000 times thicker than regular gold plating, and 17 to 25,000 times thicker than heavy gold electroplate. 

For instructions on how to care for your gold-filled jewelry, click here and scroll to "JEWELRY CARE."