What Does Gold Filled Mean? And How Is It Different from Gold Plated?

What is the difference between an item that is gold filled and one that is gold plated?

That question confuses many people. But after you read today’s post, you will know the difference and be a smarter gold investor. Please read on.

What Does Gold Filled Mean?

To create an item that is “gold filled,” a thin layer of gold is heat-bonded to another item that is made of brass, silver or even copper. A lot of jewelry items are made in this way, including pins, rings, lapel pins, cufflinks, and more. Plus, many eyeglass frames made before about 1970 were gold filled too.

As a guideline, remember that gold-filled items are typically made up of 1/10 gold by weight. (A piece of jewelry that weighs 10 ounces, for example, will contain one ounce of gold – that’s a lot of gold.) That differentiates gold-filled items from gold-plated items, which typically contain an extremely small amount of gold. We will explore them next.

What Does Gold Plated Mean?

Gold plating is the process of applying an extremely thin layer of gold to an item that can be made of silver, brass, copper or another metal. That small later of gold is applied through plasma plating, tank plating, brush plating, or another process. All kinds of jewelry and decorative items can be gold plated – everything from eyeglass frames to Christmas ornaments to items that are used in the kitchen or bar.

Gold-plated items typically contain much smaller amounts of gold than the 10% that gold-filled items do. The idea behind them is to use the least amount of gold possible to create a product that looks like it is made of pure gold.

Summing Up the Difference Between Gold Filled and Gold Plated

Gold filled items contain more gold than gold plated items do and are therefore worth more. But remember that both gold filled, and gold plated items can look the same. The reliable way to tell one from the other is to have them tested at a qualified precious metals testing facility like Specialty Metals Smelters and Refiners.

Remember, we can safely test and determine the value of both kinds of items without damaging them or reducing the amount of money you will get from recycling them. Call 800-426-2344 to speak with our precious metals consultants today.