Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Differences Between Gold Filled and Gold Plated

Gold filled and gold plated are terms often used with jewelry, eye-wear and other special items. Both relate to a form of coating using the metal gold. They both compose of different percentages of the metal.

What is Gold Filled?

Gold filled may sound like solid gold, however this is not the case. It refers to a composition of gold bonded with brass through heat and pressure. The high quality gold filled pieces often resemble solid gold. In order for a piece to be classified as gold filled it has to be composed of approximately a tenth of gold. Gold filled is sometimes referred to as rolled gold in different parts of the world. This process is mostly applied to dental fillings, high end jewelry, watches and eye wear.

What is Gold Plated?

Gold plated refers to the process of coating a thin layer of the gold metal on a surface of any metal such as silver. The process involves a chemical treatment. There are however several types of plaiting methods which are used within the different industries based on the need of the manufactured product. This process mostly applies to jewelry and watches.


Differences Between Gold Filled and Gold Plated

  1. Layering of Gold Filled and Plated

The main difference between gold plaited and gold filled is the number of layers that differentiate them Gold filled has several more layers coating the item or metal. This is the main feature that forms the basis of differentiation.

  1. Percentage requirement for Gold Filled and Plated

Gold filled has a legal requirement of around 10%of the total gold used. This is then depicted into karats, I bet you have ever heard of 14 karats. This implies the amount of gold used up in the process of filling, often noted as 14/20.

  1. Markings on Gold Filled and Plated

Gold filled items often have markings on the body of the item which identify the amount of gold used. For example, ‘1/10 10k” means that a tenth of the weight of the item is 10 karats of gold. Gold plaiting have no markings on them.

  1. Amount of Gold in Gold Filled and Plated

Without a doubt gold filling just as the name suggests involves, the use of loads of gold in the process. Gold plaiting doesn’t however. Gold filled items can contain up to 100 times more gold than the plaited ones.

  1. Water resistance

Gold filling makes items more water resistant. This means you can shower and wash items with the jewelry pieces on with little to no damage. However, gold plaiting does not make any item resistant to water. It is actually advised to keep gold plaited items away from water. This is because the thin layers of gold will soon chip off after exposure to water.

  1. Weight of Gold Filled and Plated

The gold filled items are slightly more heavier than gold plaited items. This makes more sense as the layers used in the first are much more than those used in the second process.

  1. Pricing of Gold Filled and Plated

The gold filled items are much more expensive compared to gold plaited. This is because gold does not come cheap, the more it’s used up the more the value of an item. This can be used as a measure to identify fake from real good quality gold filled items.

  1. Acid test for Gold Filled and Plated

The gold on gold plaited items dissolves immediately once exposed to acid. The gold filled items only react with huge amounts of acid.

  1. Durability of Gold Filled and Plated

The durability of god filled items is much higher than that of gold plaited. Despite the price tag attached to it, they are a much better investment as the lifespan revolves around 5 to 30 years depending on how they are taken care of.

Gold filled vs. Gold plaited : Comparison Chart


Summary of Gold Filled vs Plated

  • Both gold filling and gold plating are means of coating a material or metal with gold.
  • The above methods differ in the processes used and the amount of gold required in each step
  • Gold plating uses very little amount of gold while gold filling contains layers and layers of gold.
  • Gold filled items have a higher market value compared to gold plated items.
  • The gold filled items are often marked with numbers to show the percentage used up in the coating process. The golf plated ones are not.

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References :

[0]Koch, Adam Gregory. Coin & Bullion Scams Exposed. Adam Gregory Koch

[1]Wilkinson, Stephan. Gold-Plated Porsche: How I Sank a Small Fortune into a Used Car, and Other Misadventures. Rowman & Littlefield, 2005.

[2]Trends in Usage of Gold: Report of the Panel on Gold of the Committee on Technical Aspects of Critical and Strategic Materials, National Materials Advisory Board. National Academies, 1969.

[3]Image credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gold_plating#/media/File:Gold-plated_electrical_connectors.jpg

[4]Image credit: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/45/Wikipedia_Gold_Filled_Diagram.jpg

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