Gold Filled Vs Gold Plated Handmade Jewelry
Gold jewelry are an exquisite piece of accessory that are worn as a symbol of status, wealth and a sense of style. They are versatile accessories that can be worn with a diverse range of outfits to bring out the true beauty of the attire. While the prospects of owning gold jewelry is exciting, actually buying the right pieces can be a daunting task. Handmade gold jewelry come in a diverse range. One of the challenges that prospective buyers face is establishing the difference between gold plated and gold-filled handmade jewelry. Despite popular belief that there is no difference between the two, they are some rather distinctive elements between gold-filled and gold-plated jewelry.
Process of Manufacture
The processes used in the manufacture of gold plated and gold-filled jewelry is one of the major differences between the two. Gold filled handmade jewelry contains a base metal that may be either brass or copper. Thy base material is then covered under gold sheets that are mechanically bonded onto it. Usually, it is covered under two or three layers of gold. Legal requirements state that gold-filled jewelry contains 5% of gold in terms of weight.
Gold-plated jewelry on the other hand is made of a base material such as copper, steel or brass. The base material is dipped into an electroplating solution bath alongside a solid gold lump. Application of an electric current on the bath results in a thin gold layer being deposited on the surface of the base metal.
Another major difference between gold plated and gold-filled jewelry is their durability. Their durability depends largely on the production process. Gold filled jewelry are made by sandwiching the base metal in between two gold alloy layers. It is then heated and rolled several times. This results in a perfect bond that holds both metals strongly to each other. Gold-filled jewelry items are therefore more durable than gold plated handmade jewelry.
Gold plated jewelry are on the other hand made by applying an electric current to both the base material and the solution that contain the gold ions. The solution is positively charged while the base material is negatively charged. The positive ions of gold are attracted to the negatively charged base metal. A layer of thin gold is then slowly formed on the surface of the base material. The durability of gold-plated material is low due to the small amount and thin film of gold applied on the surface of the base material.
The durability of the material is also dependent on the type of care it is given and the environment in which it is kept. Under normal conditions, gold filled handmade jewelry will outlast gold-plated jewelry. Gold filled jewelry can last for a lifetime if properly cared for and kept in ideal environments. Gold-plated jewelry on the other hand will last for considerable periods of time if properly taken care of. They can however not withstand much heat or water. They also depreciate quite fast due to wear.
Like many other materials, both gold-plated and gold-filled handmade jewelry are likely to tarnish after some time. The tarnishing depends on how strong the gold alloy is bound to the base metal. Since gold doesn’t tarnish, the piece is likely to last longer before tarnishing if the bonds are stronger.
Although gold-filled handmade jewelry can tarnish, it takes some rather special circumstances for this to happen. Gold-filled jewelry contains about 5% of gold meaning that the gold layer is thick and strongly bound to the base material. For it to begin tarnishing therefore, the piece would have lost the entire layer of gold on the surface. This might take long due to its thickness. This is however not the case with gold-plated handmade jewelry. These pieces are made of a thin layer of gold alloy applied on the surface of the base metal. Once this film has been depleted, the jewelry begins to tarnish. Exposure of the base material compromises that aesthetics of such jewelry, making them lose their value considerably.
To alleviate tarnishing and maintain the aesthetic appeal of both gold-plated and gold-filled jewelry for as long as possible, it is important to clean them appropriately. Care should however be taken during the cleaning to avoid causing mechanical damage to the jewelry. For gold-filled jewelry, clean using mild soapy water or an untreated soft cloth. It is recommended to avoid scrubbing the material as it can lead to the wearing off of the gold alloy.
Cleaning of gold-plated jewelry should be done very rarely and only if needed. The layer of gold on the surface of gold-plated can easily brush off which may lead to tarnishing. Cleaning should be done using a very softy cotton ball. Just like with the gold-filled jewelry, it is recommendable to avoid scrubbing the piece.
While the costs of gold-plated and gold-filled handmade jewelry vary depending on the vendor and the craftsman, the material used plays a very important part in determining the price. High quality material is undoubtedly much more expensive that a low-quality material. As earlier mentioned, gold-filled material is stronger and much more durable than their gold-plated counterparts. This therefore means that they are of a higher quality. The extra gold layers applied on the base material of a gold-filled material raises its value, making gold-filled handmade jewelry much more expensive. Gold-plated items are made of a thin gold film and are not as durable as compared to gold-filled items. There are considered of a lower quality and as such, cost much less than typical gold-filled jewelry.
Superficially, gold-plated hand. Made jewelry look similar to their gold-filled counterparts. This however doesn’t mean that they can be perfectly used interchangeably. Gold-filled jewelry are the perfect choice for birthday and anniversary gifts as they will last longer. Gold-plated jewelry are on their part ideal for on the spot trends. They look gorgeous and you do not have to dent your wallet to get them.