What’s the Difference Between 14KT, Gold-Filled, and Gold Plated?

​Do you love the look of yellow gold jewelry? Who can blame you? This classic metal has been with us for centuries as a symbol of art, beauty and wealth. But the price of 14K gold is very expensive and most of our budgets simply can’t afford to purchase such a valuable piece of jewelry. Don't fret! Gold-filled jewelry is equally as beautiful and a fraction of the cost.

What is Gold-​​Filled Jewelry?

Gold filled jewelry is the next best thing to 14K gold in terms of providing excellent quality at an affordable price.

When you purchase a gold-filled piece of jewelry, you are buying a substantial layer of gold that has been pressure bonded to a sterling silver or other metal bases. Due to the amount of gold used, these pieces maintain their value and are tarnish resistant.

The gold on a gold-filled piece will not come off. It won’t flake, rub off or turn colors. It will last a for decades.

You can have confidence when purchasing a gold-filled from the Catholic Faith Store. Each gold-filled item is stamped and made in the USA. These items are labeled gold-filled and regulated by the government. Each piece must contain at least 1/20th of gold by weight of product sold. Some pieces are 1/50th of gold.

It looks like gold, it wears like gold and that is because the outer layer is 14K (or 12KT) gold!

What is Gold-​Plated Jewelry?

​Gold plated jewelry is a very cost-effective way to make and purchase a yellow gold colored accessory. Although these pieces are pretty and very inexpensive they do tend to tarnish and can often times turn the skin green. There is an extremely thin layer of gold that uses electricity or chemicals to bond the gold to the base metal. The base metal is typically copper or some another inexpensive metal.

Gold plating, while cheaper, is considered an inferior process because the thin layer can easily be rubbed away in a short time exposing the underlying base metal.

Gold plated items are not regulated by the government.

Gold plated jewelry is also referred to as gold plate or gold overlay.

What is ​14 karat Gold Jewelry?

​14KT gold jewelry is beautiful and expensive but in its purest form (24 karat), it is really soft too! That is why jewelers need to add other metals to pure gold so that they can shape it and make it strong.

How much gold is in 14KT gold? 24KT gold is 100% pure gold, 24 out of 24 parts are gold. If your pendant is 14kt gold, 14 parts of 24 are gold. A 14KT gold piece of jewelry is 58.3% pure gold.

Gold is often mixed with the other metals (creating an alloy). The most common metals combined with gold are copper, silver, nickel, zinc, tin, palladium, and/or manganese. These metals create gold’s sheen, its different hues of gold, and increases its durability.

14KT gold will last forever, it doesn’t tarnish or fade with time.

​How to Care for Your 14Kt, Gold Filled, and Gold Plated Jewelry

​As with any gold jewelry, keep it away from chemicals. Clean your jewelry with soapy water, rinse and pat dry. You can also polish gently with a jewelry polishing cloth.

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Author: Roseann Lowe

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