Gold Plated Vs. Gold Filled Jewelry: What's The Difference

Gold Plated & Gold Filled Jewelry: What Is It?

So you’re wondering what the hell it means when you see in a product description for that necklace you just gotta have, that statement ring you just added to cart or that pair of gold hoop earrings you can’t leave without being labeled as gold filled, gold plated or gold vermeil. Don’t worry, I’m here to tell you all the details on each one of these and what might be best for you!

The difference between Gold Plated Jewelry v Gold Filled Jewelry


Simply, that’s just what it is, a thin layer of gold, made of .05%, or less, of real gold that is plated onto a base metal like brass or copper - making these pieces more affordable. 

Gold plated pieces are known to tarnish over time, which some people may see happen faster than others depending on your body chemistry, but with the right jewelry care these types of pieces can actually last for a good amount of time. Gold plated jewelry usually does not tarnish after one wear like some fast fashion and flash plated brands. The tarnishing/fading usually has to do more with the actual base metal and if it is plated with nickel before the gold layer is applied. 

Most of our gold plated jewelry also is finished with a tarnish resistant e-coating that really helps the pieces last and lots of these pieces are even waterproof!

I personally have some of the gold plated pieces and have had them for a few years. Though the gold may not be as bright and stunning as when I first got it, it hasn’t tarnished and still looks great. 

Gold plated pieces are your better option if

  • you plan on wearing them less frequently rather than every day
  • you’re on a budget, but still want to get more pieces that you can layer and stack - this is usually better for you because price points are typically lower and more affordable while not completely sacrificing quality. 

What is gold filled?

Contrary to the name, gold filled pieces are not actually gold throughout the whole piece. Like plating it is a layer of gold, but instead of being just plated, these pieces are solid layers of gold, a minimum of 2 microns, that is pressure bonded to a base metal like high quality brass or sterling silver. There is an industry standard  for a piece to be legally labeled as gold filled; it must have a minimum of 5% of gold by weight, which is usually 100x more than just gold plated alone. 

This type of finish is just a step down from solid gold, but is MUCH more affordable, is durable and wears just like it while lasting for years and years,  again with all the right care! 

Gold Filled is your better option if you

  • Plan to wear these pieces more frequently, even daily.
  • Have sensitive skin, gold filled pieces are nickel free.
  • Want to get more for your money. Although gold filled pieces can be a bit more pricier, you are still able to get more pieces that will last, than you could if you were to buy a single solid piece of gold :) 

As always, I encourage taking precautions with your jewels, but you should be able to shower with your gold filled jewels on, get them wet, and even sleep in them, because honestly, who follows all the rules 100% of the time ;) 

But be as good as you can be to your jewels and no matter gold plated or filled, keep them away from moisturizers, chemicals and oils or any harsh liquids to keep them living their best life. 

If you ever have any questions about a piece, don’t ever hesitate to reach out and ask - I love to help and educate you about styles, tips and brands that we carry at The Obcessory. 

Till next time my babes

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