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The Simple Difference Between Gold Filled & Gold Plated

May 25, 2017

Gold plated vs. gold filled, what’s the difference? You’ve probably asked yourself that very question before. Maybe you’ve noticed that gold filled jewelry tends to be more expensive but beyond that, there isn’t much you can tell just by looking at a gold filled piece of jewelry next to a gold plated piece of jewelry.

What is gold plated?

It’s easiest to start by defining the term gold plated. Gold plating is a thin layer of gold that is applied on top of a different metal. Usually, the metal underneath is an inexpensive, non-precious metal. The plating is thin and over time will flake off. Because the plating doesn’t hold up over time, you'll rarely find gold plated jewelry on AntiqueJewelry.com.

What is gold filled?

So now let’s take the next step and define gold filled. Gold filled is still a gold coating over top of an inexpensive, non-precious metal but the gold is thicker. That means the gold is less likely to wear off or flake over time. You will find that some of our vintage and antique pieces are gold filled, although the majority of what you find on AntiqueJewelry.com will be solid gold or platinum.


Gold Filled Antique Necklace


Here’s a little bonus fact for you. There’s this third category called vermeil. Vermeil is silver covered with a gold coating. The process for creating vermeil is the same as creating gold filled jewelry. The difference is that vermeil has silver as the base, instead of a non-precious metal like nickel, titanium, or brass.