Gemstones and Jewelry



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Chocolate Diamonds
Colored Diamonds
Diamond Guide (The 4Cs)
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Karat Gold Jewelry
Gold Filled/Gold Plated Jewelry
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Gold Plated and Gold Filled Jewelry

What is Gold Plated Jewelry?  What does Gold Plated Mean?

Gold plated is an all-purpose jewelry term that refers to jewelry which has been plated with a layer of gold, regardless of the thickness of the gold layer and irrespective of the method by which the plating was applied (chemical plated, electroplated or by another means).    Gold plated has different subcategories (gold filled, gold electroplate, etc.), all of which denote different grades of gold plated jewelry.

Think of it like this:  Gold plated is like saying Currency.  Gold filled jewelry, gold electroplate and so forth all fall under the category of Gold Plated just as one dollar bill, ten dollar bill, etc., fall under the category of  Currency.

In terms of gold jewelry, the gold plating is applied to a base metal, usually silver or silver with a layer of copper and/or nickel. As a piece of gold plated jewelry ages, the gold plating will eventually show signs of wear.  The layer of gold plating also interacts chemically with the underlying metals over time and gold plated jewelry may also eventually tarnish.  This doesn’t mean you should dismiss the idea of owning gold plated jewelry.  A quality piece of gold plated jewelry, properly cared for, can look absolutely gorgeous years and years after its purchase.  A good example would be gold-filled jewelry, a subcategory of gold plated jewelry.

What is Gold Filled Jewelry?  

Gold filled jewelry indicates a gold layer has been applied to a base metal such as brass. 

As regulated by the Fair Trades Commission, gold filled jewelry manufactured in the United States that uses 10k gold is required to have a layer of gold equal to 1/10th of the jewelry’s total weight in order to be able to bear the stamp, “10k GF” or “1/10 10k GF.”                    

Gold filled jewelry bearing the mark, “12k GF” or “1/20 12k GF,” must use a layer of 12k gold that is equal to 1/20th of the jewelry’s total weight.

As mentioned previously, a well constructed, well designed piece of gold filled jewelry can retain its beauty for years and years with proper care.  Below are pictures of a Harry Iskin 12k gold filled necklace, front and back:


Although the gold finish shows minor signs of wear in the form of light surface scratching, the gold plating on the necklace is fully intact.  This necklace is approximately 65 years old.

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