Understanding Gold Jewelry Materials

What is Gold Filled Jewelry?

To make Gold-Filled jewelry, multiple layers of solid gold are permanently pressure-bonded to a core of high-quality jeweler’s brass or sterling silver using extreme heat. FTC industry standards dictate that your piece must be at least 5% solid gold by weight. The result is a thick layer of real gold and a durable, long-lasting product. Gold-filled jewelry is a great alternative to solid gold, as it offers the ideal balance of quality and value without the price tag.

Gold-filled pieces can still tarnish, but it takes special circumstances for that to happen, like excessive and rough use. Even though its an alloy (a metal made by combining two or more metallic elements), the thick layer on gold-filled pieces prevents tarnishing, because pure gold doesnt tarnish. 

This type of jewelry is best for everyday wear, meaningful gifts, staple pieces, or for anyone on a low to medium budget who wants long-lasting and timeless pieces. Look for the stamping "1/20 14K , 14K GF or 14/20"

What is Brazilian 18k Gold Layered Jewelry?

Due to the complexity of the gold filled manufacturing process, there are certain limitations on what can be made when it comes down to some of our more intricate designs and pendants. For these pieces, we have chosen to work with 18k Brazilian Gold Layering over the white brass. The thickness of this gold layer ranges anywhere between 3% and 4% of the total weight of the piece which is still much higher than any other gold plating will be able to offer. 

What is Gold Vermeil Jewelry?

Gold vermeil is essentially gold plating on top of a sterling silver base.

It contains 0.5-1% solid gold, and is done by a process of electroplating or “dipping” and is similar to gold plated. The main difference with gold vermeil is that the base layer is sterling silver (which in itself is also an alloy) while gold plating is normally brass or nickel based. Gold vermeil is good for fashion jewelry and good for those with sensitivity to nickel, brass or copper present in gold plated jewelry.

Depending on the quality of vermeil (usually 2.5 micron), it can last up to 6-8 months of regular wear and even more if properly cared for.

What is Gold Plated Jewelry?

Contains 0.03-0.05% solid gold, and is made through a process of electroplating or “dipping”. The gold is not actually binded onto the base metal (usually brass, copper, or nickel component), and fades/tarnishes very quickly with use as its layer of gold is less than < .1 micron. Gold plated is suitable for fashion or trendy jewelry and good to test out new styles and for short wears.

Do your research when buying “gold” jewelry as it is most likely gold plated unless it states otherwise. Gold plated jewelry can still be marked up 10x-15x its value and it is no where as long lasting as gold-filled.


-Look for a stamp when possible.

Gold Jewelry should always have a stamp stating its karats (18K/14K/10K) and it is usually located on the clasp or the back of the piece if it is a pendant or an earring. 

Gold filled jewelry pieces usually have a stamp on the clasp that reads 1/20 14K,  14/20 or 14K GF. This stamp ensures that your jewelry is in fact, gold filled.

Unless otherwise stated, all of our pieces are Gold-Filled and all of the materials have been previously tested by our team to ensure it is of the highest quality possible.