You want to buy a nice piece of jewelry that will last you many years. What should you be looking for? Many people want only solid gold, since it is valuable, so they spend the money to buy it, even though they could save a bundle by buying fake jewelry such as gold-filled or gold-plated.
Difference Between Gold-Filled and Gold Plated?
Both have a core metal which is not gold. It may be nickel, brass, zinc, copper or a combination. Gold-filled jewelry has heavier coating than the gold-plated variety. Heat is used to fuse the two layers. The karat value of each piece is based on the gold only, not the whole thing. So a 14k stamp would signify that the gold on the piece is 14k. The karat will usually vary from 10k to 20k.
How Often Do You Plan to Wear the Piece?
A lot will depend on your use of the jewelry you are considering. If this is a specialized piece of jewelry that you would only wear on occasion, then you may be better off to buy a gold-filled or gold-plated item because of its lower price.
The issue is, of course, that the relatively thin coating will eventually wear off and you will have to replace or recoat your jewelry.
How Will the Jewelry Be Marked?
Gold-filled jewelry will be stamped GF, along with the karat value of the gold and the relative amount of gold compared to the underlying metal. A common stamping would be 1/20 14K GF.
If you see RGP on jewelry, this means “Rolled Gold Plate”. This is thinner than gold-filled, but not as thin as gold-plated.
Are You Allergic to Nickel?
If nickel is an allergy issue for you, that would be an excellent reason to stay away from these two. Most gold-filled and gold-plated items have some nickel in the base, and you don’t want an ugly rash to be the reason you don’t wear your jewelry.
For everyone else, these choices are excellent. With care, your jewelry will look and feel great and last for many years, and it will be less expensive so you can have more of it.