What is gold filled?
Gold Filled (GF) is an American metal manufacturing process and legal standard of quality. GF is two sheets of solid karat gold. Most popular being 14kt gold. These sheets are bonded over (or for wire, rolled in tube) a core of brass. A piece of jewelry to be legally stamped with the telltale ‘GF’ marking, its weight must be at least 1/20th gold. This explains the typical stamp you would expect to see on GF articles: “1/20 14K GF”, which means that 5 percent of the piece is 14 karat gold. Due to the surface layer of gold-filled jewelry being about 100 times thicker than any plating.
GF VS Gold Plate and Vermeil
Gold plated jewelry is made using a thin layer of gold to surround base metals or sterling silver. The fine layer of gold is set using the method of chemical or electro-chemical plating. It is the cheapest of the three forms of gold jewelry (solid karat gold, GF and gold plated), and is the quickest to tarnish. When sterling silver is used as the interior metal, with at least 2 microns of gold plating, the item is primarily labeled as Gold Vermeil. GF is not to be mistaken for gold plated over sterling silver – which is far less expensive than GF.
American standard GF does not have any sterling silver in it, and although it is more expensive, it lasts far longer than gold plated over base metal and over sterling because it has 100 times more gold than any possible plated process. How long GF or plating lasts depends largely on the chemical makeup of and the care with which the person wearing the jewelry takes – which varies widely.
Will GF Tarnish?
Gold-filled jewelry is made by bonding a layer of gold to a base metal (brass).The gold layer in gold-filled jewelry is thicker and more durable compared to gold-plated jewelry. American standard is 1/20th gold. However, it is still possible for gold-filled jewelry to leave a dark mark on the skin and/or have the metal oxide under certain circumstances.
Gold Filled is a very durable metal and it is a popular choice for many designers including those offering permanent jewelry.
The dark mark or discoloration that can occur with gold-filled jewelry is often a result of abrasion or the base metal reacting with substances present on the skin. Here are a few reasons why this may happen:
1. Body Chemistry: Every individual’s body chemistry is unique, and some people’s skin chemistry can react with metals differently. Factors like pH levels, sweat composition, and skin acidity can influence the reaction between the base metal and the skin, leading to discoloration.
2. Friction and Moisture: When gold-filled jewelry comes into contact with moisture, such as sweat or water, it can accelerate the reaction between the base metal and the skin. Additionally, friction caused by the movement of the jewelry against the skin can contribute to the dark mark.
3. Chemicals and Cosmetics: Contact with chemicals found in cosmetics, lotions, perfumes, hairsprays, hair dyes or household cleaning products can cause gold-filled jewelry to darken. Some chemicals can react with the metal components, leading to discolouration.
4. Environmental Factors: Exposure to certain environmental elements, such as air pollution, sulfur, or high humidity, can accelerate the tarnishing process of gold-filled jewelry.
5. Packaging: Certain packaging has strong chemical off gassing from dyes and synthetic materials. You may also see metal discoloration when using wooden displays.
Can someone be allergic to Gold Filled?
All our GF is considered Hypoallergenic. We guarantee that there is no nickel, cadmium or carcinogenic in any of our jewelry pieces.
However, there are so many types of metal sensitivities. There are people who are simply allergic to GF or Sterling Silver. Often these people can only wear high carat gold (smaller percentage of base metals in the mix). If your customer is very sensitive to copper, they may have a problem with sterling silver. If your customer is very sensitive to brass, they may have a strong reaction to gold filed (the core is brass)
Can you weld gold filled?
Yes, you can. There will be a small dot (size of half of a poppy seed) of weld mark that may darken over time, due to exposed metal that has been fused with the exterior gold sheet of gold filled. However, it is inconspicuous and customers do not seem to mind. If you do not feel comfortable, you can always choose to use solid gold jump rings.
Can Gold Filled Chain Stretch?
Yes, precious and demi-precious chain can stretch. The higher the gold of silver content, the softer the metal.
The finer the wire link in the chain, the higher the chance of stretching. Saying this, the finer links are ideal for PJ as for security and safety reasons, you want it to stretch and pop apart if caught on something. You will find that those who are very active- like runners will have more occurrence of stretching or breaking or metal abrasion. You will find that your chains may stretch more on anklets simply because there is so much more movement on an ankle vs wrist. Lots of tendons, muscles, socks and shoes to contend with!
Simple things like getting the bracelet caught in a blanket when sleeping, pulling the bracelet when taking off gloves/shirt or simply that you touch/tug at the bracelet often, can cause a bit of stretching. With anklets, boots and socks can get caught. With necklaces taking off shirts and scarves can cause this as well.
Although precious metal is the preference for PJ, the metals still require care. We call it Permanent Jewelry, but it is not indestructible! Even more so when being worn 24/7.