What's the Difference? Gold-Filled vs Gold-Plated Jewelry

What's the difference between gold-filled vs gold-plated jewelry? We get this question a lot! We work with both metals here at Grayling for different reasons and want to share some valuable information regarding these two processes.


The jewelry in our Fine Collection is made from glowing 14-karat gold-filled metal. These pieces are designed specifically to wear every day with a daintier look. 14-karat gold-filled was chosen by our designer, Katy, for its extreme durability. These styles will provide the look and the feel of solid gold for many, many years. 

To create gold-filled wire and chain, a thin sheet of gold is married to a heavy sheet of nickel-free brass by heating the two sheets of metal to 1600 degrees Fahrenheit, then rolling the metals together under a constant state of pressure (about 2400 psi). Then, they are permanently bonded. The result is a thick sheet of bonded metal that is karat gold on the exterior (the part we touch and see) and brass on the interior. The result achieves the look of real gold at a price everyone can afford. 

Our gold-filled pieces rarely chip, tarnish or wear off because the top gold layer is very, very thick and is permanently bonded with heat and pressure to brass deep below the surface. 

Legally, gold-filled is required to contain 5% or 1/20 gold by weight, or up to 100 microns thick. That might not sound like a lot, but it is when it comes to jewelry!

So, go ahead and wear your gold-filled pieces in the shower. Sleep in them! Weather and water will not damage gold-filled pieces. They are generally easy-care and perform like solid gold pieces.

Each 14k gold-filled piece in our Fine Collection is meticulously designed to be an everyday workhorse and a true staple in your jewelry box. They are 100% nickel free, recycled, and safe for sensitive skin. The materials are environmentally responsible and sourced from a third-party verified U.S. based refinery. And, as always, our gold-filled jewelry is handmade in our Portland, Oregon studio. 


The gold jewelry in our Fashion Collection is made from gold-electroplated brass. Compared to pieces in our Fine Collection, these pieces have a more substantial and/or chunky look and are designed for occasional wear (1-3 days a week). Gold-electroplate was chosen by our designer because it balances affordability with a fairly long-wearing finish. Using 14k gold-filled in our Fashion Collection would make it cost prohibitive, and that's no fun!

Our gold-electroplated pieces are still quite durable because we utilize a heavy-plate at 2.5 microns thick (about 3 times thicker than average "dip" or "flash" plating). Our gold-electroplate offers a wonderful alternative to solid gold.

Classic with an edge, our gold-electroplated pieces will keep up with the pace of your life and never go out of style. Every piece in our Fashion Collection is 100% nickel free, and safe for sensitive skin. And, just like our Fine Collection, they're handmade in our Portland, Oregon studio.

Gold Filled vs Electroplated


When looking for a wallet-friendly alternative to solid 14k gold, it's important to consider the options. If you're looking for a more substantial piece that will be worn a few times a week, check out our Fashion Collection. If you're looking for a daintier piece that will be worn every day, check out our Fine Collection.

The gold on our 14k gold-filled pieces is typically about 50 times thicker than their gold-electroplated counterparts, but keep in mind our gold-electroplated finish is still 3 times thicker than the industry standard. 

Please contact us with any questions!