Gold Filled Explained...
What does gold filled mean?
Gold filled, rolled gold refers to a base metal core usually brass that has been mechanically bonded with minimum 5% gold or 1/20 of gold by weight. This means that gold filled jewellery usually has up to 100 times more gold than gold plated jewellery.
What's the difference between gold plated and gold filled?
The amount of gold used is very different between the two processes, gold plating can mean a very thin layer of gold, for example for a piece to be labelled gold plated it only needs to have a layer of 0.5 micron. For comparison vermeil has to be above 2.5 microns and lasts a lot longer - vermeil is what I use across all of my limited edition pieces that I design and get produced within the UK.
By comparison gold filled by law must contain over 5% of gold or 1/20th. Because the layer of gold is so much thicker in gold filled items the vintage and antique gold pieces I sell mostly look amazing and shine like real gold.
Basically it's the closest you can get to real gold.
Will my gold filled item tarnish?
All jewellery can tarnish even some gold jewellery can tarnish, unless it's a high carat gold, the lower carat of gold is made from an alloy of gold and other metals, as the carats get higher the gold is purer, which also makes it softer. it won't be hugely noticeable when you wear it but something like 9ct gold item will be more hard wearing than something 18ct or above.
Gold plated, vermeil and gold filled items will all eventually tarnish, some quicker than others, for example gold plated can tarnish really quickly especially if the layer of gold is really thin.
The most common causes of tarnishing are: oxidation, exposure to sulphur, differing body chemistries and exposure to perfume, hairspray, cleaning agents etc. Taking care of your jewellery and proper storage are the best methods to avoid tarnishing.