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

Have you ever seen two gold jewellery items that look the same but have a huge price difference and wonder why? Have you seen the markings 9ct, 18ct, kt, GP and wonder what these mean?

There are so many terms used to describe gold jewellery and even though two pieces can look the same, there can definitely be vast differences which can be not just confusing but also devastating. Let's look at the differences so you can be best informed in what you're really buying.


Solid Gold

This is the most valuable form of gold you can buy. Solid gold has different purities which is expressed in ‘Carats’ (ct) or ‘Karats’ (kt) and depending on what jewellery piece you are looking to purchase i.e. A ring, necklace or bracelet, they each have their pros and cons. Gold is often mixed with other alloys (metals) like copper, silver and palladium, colour and malleability. Let's take a look at the differences

24ct = 100% Pure Gold

22ct = 91% Gold = 22 parts gold to 2 parts alloy

18ct = 75% Gold = 18 parts gold to 6 parts alloy

14ct = 58% Gold = 14 parts gold to 10 parts alloy

10ct = 42% Gold = 10 parts gold to 14 parts alloy

9 ct = 37.5% Gold = 9 parts gold to 15 parts alloy

Gold Filled

Gold filled jewellery is made by bonding gold to a base metal - often silver or copper, giving it the appearance of gold. Over time, gold filled jewellery will lose its durability, the gold will eventually wear off exposing the metal underneath. The layer of gold bonded to the base metal is 5-10 times thicker than regular gold plating so gold filled jewellery can last for some years but tarnishing is inevitable at some stage.

Gold Plated

Gold Plated jewellery is made by a process that uses chemicals or electricity to deposit  bond a very thin layer of gold over another metal - in Australia this is most common with silver. To put it in perspective, the layer can be as thin as 1/1000 to 3/1000 of an inch of gold over the metal.

So what does this all mean for you?

From the information above you can see that 18ct gold has a much higher content of gold in it than 9ct so it will make quite a difference in the price you pay. Also depending on what jewellery item you wish to buy, how often you wish to use it and for what occasions, each ct offers different suitabilities. Let's say you want to buy a gold bangle for everyday use. You most likely wouldn’t purchase this in 22ct gold as it would be very soft and easily damaged. 9-18ct would be more suitable because the alloys added to the gold offer more strength and durability. If you wanted to buy a necklace that you will only wear on special occasions, any carat up to 22ct would be fine because firstly it will sit around your neck and not be exposed to the daily jobs we do with our hands and secondly you are more likely to be aware you need to be a little more careful while wearing it.

Solid gold doesn't tarnish, it can be buffed, polished and cleaned which will bring it back to its original condition, it lasts forever and it will hold its value the best over the years.

Gold Filled and gold Plated Jewellery are great options if you are looking to purchase jewellery that is on trend - it won’t last so well but you can wear what's in at the time on a much smaller budget. Also once it has tarnished that's it! The cost of replating it would likely be more than what you paid for the piece. Buying a gold plated piece of jewellery is not a great option if it is a gift meant to be passed on - for example a family heirloom. Again plated jewellery has the benefits of costing much less (sometimes) which means you can keep up with the latest trend on a budget.

Here at Mrs Mo & Co, the only gold we supply is solid gold or gold plated over sterling silver. The pieces we source and the designs we create are brought to you to stand the test of time. If you purchase any solid gold or sterling silver piece from us, rest assured that you will be able to keep passing that onto your loved ones to enjoy and treasure as a special keepsake from you.

Mrs Mo & Co