I mean, what is it anyway?
The quick answer is: a reasonably priced, high quality alternative to solid gold. Unlike plating, it’s often considered a “lifetime product.”
We all know that gold-plated or silver-plated jewelry has a short shelf life and here’s why: It’s typically an inexpensive way to “church up” very inexpensive materials known as “base metals.” This process involves giving the base object a magnetic charge in a solution with microscopic bits of gold that have the opposite charge. Like two magnets, the gold and base are attracted to each other and… bing, bang, boom… an electrical charge holds an impossibly thin layer of gold to the surface of your jewelry. Because the layer is thin and the bond is relatively weak, your gold-plated stuff will inevitably (and sometimes quite quickly) wear off and leave only the tarnished base metal underneath.
With gold-filled, a minimum 5% (by weight) layer of solid 14k gold is heat-bonded (like soldering) to brass. So, unlike plating, the gold is physically and permanently attached to the base. It’s a MUCH thicker layer of 14k gold that won’t rub off or chip (about 400 times more gold than is used in plating). You get the look and feel of solid 14k gold but without the extreme cost. And, unlike plating, it makes items you can wear day after day without them turning into something you don’t recognize. That’s it!
Cool, cool. So how do I keep it clean?
We have a little post about our favorite ways to keep your jewelry here. But with gold filled, you can basically care for it the same way that you would solid 14k. Easy peasy!
What colors of gold does 14k gold filled come in?
We offer all of our designs in 14k yellow gold filled, and MANY in 14k rose gold filled. I have yet to come across white gold filled, but honestly, we probably wouldn't use it anyway. I mean, I still heart sterling, you know?
Is it going to turn my skin weird colors?
Probably not. I mean probably in the "99.9 percent" not way. BUT, there is a small fraction of people whose body chemistry reacts with solid gold. If that is you, then yes, there is that chance. If that is not you, then you should be good!
Does it "turn"?
Nope! I mean, if you sit in a sulfur laden hot springs for 48 hours straight something weird might happen. Or expose it CONSTANTLY to nail salon fumes, but other than those unrealistic circumstances, you should be good!
That being said, sometimes the delicate chains can start to look like they are blackening, but really its just that they are dirty. Dead skin, grime from lotions and sunscreen, that sort of thing. Gross, right?
What about water?
Want to know a dirty little secret? I'm kind of lazy with my jewelry. I go through phases and wear the same thing for weeks on end, without ever taking it out. In fact, I have some stacking rings on my thumb that haven't come off in a good year. I like to do really sweaty workouts in my jewelry as well. I also swim in a chlorinated pool 4-6 times a week during the summer. Oh! And I do shower, so there's that, too.
Thing is, my jewels look good as new. Actually the stacking rings are shinier than they originally were! All our jewelry is safe to water and sweat things in, if your body chemistry allows for it.