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Solid Gold vs. Gold-Filled vs. Gold Plated ~ What's the difference?


At LASIRENE DESIGNS, we know that with so many terms to describe gold jewelry, it can be confusing to know exactly what you’re buying, the value of your pieces, and how to look after them.

So, we wanted to take a moment and explain the difference between solid, filled, and plated gold jewelry. 

Solid Gold
Solid gold jewelry is the most valuable form of jewelry you can buy. The purity of gold is expressed as karats, which denote the purity of gold. The purest form of gold is expressed as 24 karats and is very yellow in color and soft in texture. Due to this, gold is often mixed (aka ‘alloyed’) with other metals to make it more durable for the purposes of wearing it as jewelry. Gold is one of the most valuable resources in the world and will last lifetimes if cared for properly. Generally, LASIRENE DESIGNS only works with Solid 14K and 18K on commission pieces. Please email me directly with interest, here.

Large Paperclip Chain Earrings
Gold Filled
With Gold-filled jewelry, there's a thick layer of real, solid 14k gold on the outside of a brass core. The 14k gold that's on the outside of gold-filled is the same gold as you would get from a solid 14k piece.
It is less expensive than solid gold and is made by bonding gold to a base metal to give it the appearance of gold. The process involves a high amount of heat and pressure and the resultant gold-filled piece is much more durable than a gold plated-piece. Gold-filled jewelry has 100x more gold alloy than gold-plated and because that layer is so much thicker, it means gold filled jewelry lasts longer and stands up to wear and tear better than gold plated.
Gold-filled is ideal for “bridge” jewelry which is what LASIRENE DESIGNS mostly creates, a bridge between cheaply made costume jewelry and the often unaffordable fine jewelry.  Its lifespan can be several decades if taken care of well and will provide the best alternative to solid gold, making the semi-precious jewelry very durable at an affordable price point. To see some examples click here.

Gold Plated
Gold plated jewelry consists of a thin layer of gold electrically charged onto a base metal or sterling silver. If sterling silver is plated in gold this can also be referred to as “Vermeil” which is the highest quality of plated gold and usually involves more gold being used that regular plated gold jewelry. At LASIRENE DESIGNS, we only work with 24k Vermeil plated gold for beads and spacers.  All of our Vermeil gold has received 5X the amount of gold that would ordinarily go into making a plated gold product. We never use this type of gold for chains because this type of gold doesn't withstand the test of daily wear against the skin as well as gold filled chains.  Explore more of our 24k gold Vermeil pieces here.