Gold filled is a layer of gold pressure bonded to a base metal, typically a jewelers' brass. It is becoming a very popular alternative to solid gold, because its more durable, more affordable, and more versatile for different lifestyle and activities. Gold filled is different than gold-plated in several ways:
Gold filled contains a substantial layer of 14kt gold, rather than a microscopic layer of gold plating (or gold dipped). Gold filled is required by law to have at least 5% or 1/20 of gold by weight. Consequently, gold filled is worth more and maintains its value better than gold plated, which has a minimal amount of gold.
The process of pressure bonding makes the jewelry tarnish and chip resistant, unlike gold plating. This is why gold-filled jewelry is about double the price of gold-plated jewelry. A gold-filled finish will not flake off or chip and is tarnish resistant, if properly maintain and cleaned.
Although gold filled will maintain its shine and will resist tarnish, following these best practices will ensure a long, beautiful life of your piece:
Remove jewelry during physical activities (running, crossfit, gardening, hiking, swimming, household chores, etc.)
Remove jewelry when using chemicals: shampoos, harsh soaps, lotions, makeup, hairspray, etc. Even some household items and foods that contain sulfur should be avoided whenever possible.
Avoid prolonged exposure to chlorine, pools, hot tubs or spas.
Avoid abrasive materials like a terry cloth, bath towel, and shirt to polish your jewelry. Even tissues or paper towels are micro-abrasive and should be avoided.
Store your jewelry in a dry, air-tight area (e.g. ziploc bag). Always clean your piece before storing. Use a generic micro fiber cloth or lens cloth to remove any oxidation or tarnish marks. Gently rub across the surface until the shine has been restored. Occasionally, remove skin oils by rinsing with warm water and buffing with a soft cloth or microfiber fabric.
Regularly clean your jewelry using mild soap. Pat dry. DO NOT rub.
Again, take extra care around perspiration, salt, chlorine, perfume, lotions, and makeup as they can damage fine jewelry. Jewelry like chokers and bracelets, which are tight against the skin, are prone to more contact and may need to be cleaned more frequently.
Although rare, sometimes individual body chemistries can react with the metal and cause a reaction. Pregnancy, thyroid disorders, hormone levels, medications and more can affect body alkalinity versus acidity, and may cause a reaction with your piece. It’s definitely a wild-card and is based on the individual!