What is the Difference between 14k Gold, 14k Gold Filled, Gold Plated, Fine Silver and Sterling Silver Metals

July 21, 2019

Ever wonder what is the difference between the metals used to make your jewelry?  Most of the pieces that I design and create are formed from sterling silver and 14k gold filled.  Soon there will be 14k gold and 14k rose gold pieces added to all jewelry collections.

Clarisse Gold Textured Stacking Rings

Below is a short and concise description of the base metals used to form your jewelry pieces:

Gold Metals:

Solid gold is the highest standard of gold and will last forever. It is the most expensive of gold jewelry.

• 24k gold is 100% pure and jewelry is marked with the symbol .999

• 18k gold contains 75% gold and 25% silver and copper

• 14k gold contains 58.3% gold and 41.7% silver and copper

• 14k gold filled is 1/20 14K gold.  Basically, this means 14 = karats and the 20 refers to the % of gold in an item.  So, 1/20 = 5% gold.  Gold filled jewelry is made by bonding 1/20th gold to a base metal, usually brass.  It does not rub off and has a high-quality appearance, but less expensive than solid gold.  Gold filled jewelry has an average life span of up to 30 years.

• Gold plated jewelry has a very thin layer of real gold electrically charged onto a base metal, such as copper or nickel.  Gold plated will rub off over time and could turn your skin green.  The gold plated can usually last up to a year or more.

Silver Metals:

• Fine Silver is 100% pure silver, it has the highest quality of silver and will not tarnish.  It is marked with the symbol .999.Sterling Silver is what is traditionally used to make sterling silver jewelry.  It is composed of 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper and trace elements:  It is marked with the symbol .925.  

• Sterling silver jewelry is prone to tarnishing and should be kept in an air tight container to resist tarnishing.  Polishing sterling silver is required to remove patinas and to restore the piece to it’s original finish.  Some people however, love the look of patina on their sterling silver pieces.

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