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Jewelry Basics: What is 14k Gold Filled, Anyway?

Many years ago, when I first started making jewelry, I fell in love with silver. Then, it didn't take long for gold to become my friend too. Plus, my maiden name is Goldschmitt, so obviously I have a special place in my heart for the color gold. I love silver, but sometimes it's frustrating to work with and keep around because it tarnishes. It doesn't matter who you are or where you live, tarnishes. Gold however, keeps its fine luster just about anywhere and on anyone.

So what is the deal with 14k gold filled? What is the difference between gold filled, gold plated, gold vermeil, Goldfish, Goldschlager, etc? I thought gold, was gold, right?

The Quick Down and Dirty between 14k Gold Filled, Gold Plated and Gold Vermeil...

14k Gold Filled:

14k Gold Filled is Gold that has been fused to brass. I can treat it a lot like gold, I can solder it, I can hammer it, and I can even sand and polish it lightly and the gold will most likely withstand all of the work. It truly is the next best thing to Gold without the price tag. It's not perfect, but it's pretty close! It lends itself to being hypoallergenic, but there is always the exception. Some people react to 14k Gold Filled, but some don't. My daughter is extremely allergic to nickel, however she is fine with 14k Gold Filled.

Gold Plating and Gold Vermeil:

Wikipedia has an easy definition of gold plating.

"Gold Plating is a method of depositing a thin layer of gold onto the surface of another metal, most often copper or silver, by chemical or electrochemical plating."

Gold Plating has the potential to rub off.

Gold Vermeil... it is gold plating on silver.

I can't speak for Goldfish and Goldschlager, but I thought I'd throw in a few chuckles if you got this far...