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The Break Down: Plated, Filled, and Solid Gold

The Break Down: Plated, Filled, and Solid Gold

Posted by Alyssa Julian on

Plated, filled, or solid–it’s all too easy to get swept up in the confusion surrounding jewelry materials, gold in particular. The frustration of buying a piece of jewelry, only to wear it a few times and find that it’s turned your skin green is something we all know well, but we knew a solution existed. One of our core values as a company is quality—we want to make sure that there is longevity in your Vrai & Oro pieces so you can enjoy them for years to come. The material makes up 90% of our product, so we felt it was time to explain the difference between plated, filled, and solid gold. They are as follows:
Gold Plated Diagram

Gold Plated

When something is gold plated, its gold content is usually less than 1%. This means that the piece is a base metal (often brass or silver) that takes a quick dip in a gold bath–hence the plating. While plated pieces may possess the same luster and gold appearance at first, this layer is often quick to fade when washed, rinsed, or rubbed too hard, leaving behind discolored skin and dirty looking jewelry. Most fashion jewelry is gold-plated, which allows the cost to be as low as possible.
Gold Filled Diagram

Gold Filled

Similar to gold plating, gold filled jewelry is also made of a different base metal. The difference here lies in the process. In filled jewelry, the gold is melted onto the base metal through a mechanical process. By law, gold filled jewelry must contain 5% gold by weight to be categorized as such, which means the gold coating is generally much thicker than that of plated jewelry. Because of this, the inside of a gold filled jewelry piece will still be stamped with a karat number, however, it is important to note that this is only for the filled coating. While filled jewelry will maintain its gold cast for longer, it will inevitably undergo discoloration and tarnishing after time.
Solid Gold Diagram

Solid Gold

In its most pure form (24k) gold is is soft, almost orange in color, scratches easily, and is altogether too weak to work with. Because of this, alloys are added to create a more structurally sound metal. All of our pieces are made using 14k solid gold, which means that they are 14 parts pure gold and 10 parts other alloys. 18k gold, what we use for our engagement line VOW, is 18 parts gold, 6 parts alloy. These alloys can be copper, manganese, nickel, palladium, and/or silver. Using solid gold ensures that pieces won’t tarnish or fade over time, even with washing and everyday wear.

Our materials matter; they’re one of the three reasons we do what we do—which is why we think it’s important to educate around them. For our Vrai & Oro essentials line, it was vital that we maintain a high standard of quality while keeping the price point attainable, which aided the decision to use 14k solid gold. For VOW, our wedding line, the decision to make everything in 18k followed industry standard—the highest quality solid gold on the market.

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