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What is the difference between Gold, Gold Filled, and Gold Plating?

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What is Gold? 

Gold is a naturally occurring element within the earth.  The below image depicts a handful of gold nuggets. 

  

 Gold is usually mixed with other metals and alloys such as copper and silver to obtain yellow gold or nickel, zinc and copper for white gold.  

It is usually characterized by dense, soft, malleable and ductile properties with a bright yellow color and luster. These properties remains unchanged or altered when exposed to air or water. This process of alteration is known as tarnishing.  

Gold is a highly sought after precious metal and is used primarily for coinage, jewelry purposes and on a smaller scale for medicinal, dentistry, electronics and architecture. Its value is rooted in its medial rarity, easy handling, smelting, non-corrosiveness, distinct color, among other properties most metals lack.  

Due to its perceived value gold is used in many ceremonial practices in the form of trophies, medals and other decorations. 

 

What is Karat? 

This is the unit representation for measuring gold. There are several karat types for gold. The Karat refers to the proportion of solid gold to another metal alloy used to make the jewelry piece or item. This representation is usually marked on the piece of jewelry or object with a numerical value followed by kt (Karat). Similarly, diamonds are measured using Ct (Carat) and are a different measurement from gold Karat. However, Kt may be used interchangeable outside of the US for Ct. 

Pure or fine gold is 24 Karat. However, due to the softness it is not ideal for jewelry construction. The minimum fineness for gold in the US is 10 Karat. Below this mark it is not described as gold, even with the karat designation. Jewelry in the US that is gold usually is 10, 14, 18 or 22 Karat.

 

 

KARAT GOLD

 

 

%  OF GOLD

 

 

Other metal

 

 

KARAT

 

 

SOLDER

 

 

MINIMUM

 

 

KARAT GOLD

 

 

10K

 

 

41.67%

 

 

58%

 

 

9.93k

 

 

0.7%

 

 

40.97%

 

 

9.83k

 

 

14K

 

 

58.33%

 

 

42%

 

 

13.93k

 

 

0.7%

 

 

57.63%

 

 

13.83k

 

 

18K

 

 

75.00%

 

 

25%

 

 

17.93k

 

 

0.7%

 

 

74.30%

 

 

17.83K

 

 

22k

 

 

91.70%

 

 

8.3%

 

 

21.93K

 

 

0.7%

 

 

91.66%

 

 

21.83K

 

 

24K

 

 

99.95%

 

 

None

 

 

23.92k

 

 

0.7%

 

 

99.25%

 

 

23.82%

 

 

 

What is Gold Filled? 

The application of gold to another metal alloy by mechanical means such as heat and pressure and the weight of the gold is a minimum of 1/20th of the total weight of the metal, this is considered Gold Filled. The Quality of gold that is typically utilized is 10k, 12k or 14k gold.  Gold filled jewelry contains a thicker portion of gold over a base metal such as brass than a gold plated jewelry would have over the same metal or any other base metal. 

What is Gold Plating? 

The application of gold to a base metal via electro-plating is considered to be Gold Plated.  The layer of gold for a gold plated jewelry is usually more than 20 millionth of the total weight of the metal or it is greater than 0.5 Micron. 

Gold filled and gold plating jewelry might have the same unit of gold covering the base metal. The thickness of gold is solely dependent on the manufacturer which may employ a heavy gold plating method to base metal, rendering it as valuable as a gold filled piece or even above.

 

 

 

 

 Tossari a Toronto Jewelry and fashion company

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