Gold-Plated vs Gold-Filled Jewlery

Have you ever heard the term gold-plated or gold-filled and wondered what people were talking about? Well, you aren’t alone! In fact, the more we have dealt with suppliers and raw materials the more we have learned about these two little words, and what we found out surprised us both!

Let’s start with the easier one—gold-plated. 

gold filled vs gold plated jewelry

Gold Plated 

Gold-plated, simply put, means another metal like brass, stainless steel, iron, etc., is plated with gold. This gold can be 10K, 14K, or higher. And the higher the K the better quality (and probably more expensive) the item. 

Gold-plated can tarnish, just like most jewelry, but it doesn’t make it any less valuable or desirable. In fact, it just means you may need to take a little extra care if you live in a humid place. You can check out our blog post on how to care for your jewelry here.

So what does Dreamer & Co use? 

We use mostly 18k gold-plated brass. However, we do have a few items that contain gold-plated stainless steel as well as gold-plated iron. And under each product description, you will find the exact materials listed. We want to make sure you know what is in your product and how to best care for it. And, we do have a few gold-filled items for those purists out there.

gold filled jewelry


So what is gold-filled? Gold-filled means that it uses more gold and covers the metal using a different process. A common misconception is that gold-filled means the whole jewelry piece is made of pure gold and therefore should never tarnish. Typically a gold-filled piece will use 5% gold and a gold-plated piece will use .05%. The process of how these items are made is also different and as a result, means that gold-filled items are more durable and more expensive. It's also why we've switched to having more gold-plated items, so that the bulk of cost of goods sold can go back to the artisans. 

Another important note is that just because an item says gold-filled it doesn’t guarantee you won’t have a chemical reaction to the product. It’s less likely, but not for certain.

So tell us in the comments, which type do you prefer, gold-plated or gold-filled? And do you notice a difference in tarnishing or skin reactions?

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