What Does Gold Filled Jewelry Mean?

By Laura Novak-Roesgen

Are you curious about what gold-filled actually means?

Plus how it is different from solid gold and gold-plated metals? 

I admit, the term gold-filled seems a bit confusing, since the metal isn't "filled" with gold. It's actually a gold overlay process, which I will discuss in a moment. First let's talk about the dazzling gold metal.

Gold & Gold Alloys

Long coveted for it's beauty, gold possess qualities that captivate the jewelry lover. Gold never tarnishes and if properly cared for, can last a lifetime. In fact, gold objects and jewelry can be melted down and reformed into new pieces.

Despite it's desirable properties, solid 24kt gold is soft and can scratch or dent easily. However, mixing gold with other metals creates gold alloys that are stronger, more durable, and better suited for jewelry use.

When discussing gold and its alloys, the term karat indicates the purity of the gold. Pure gold, which contains no other metals, is termed 24-karat gold. A 50/50 alloy of gold mixed with other metal(s) is 12kt gold. Often you will see 14kt gold (58% gold) & 18kt (75% gold).

Luminous Rose - Pearl Necklace & Earring Set

Gold Overlay

With solid gold selling at a hefty price (as of early 2024, about $2000 per ounce), jewelry makers want to give their customers the look and durability of gold at a lower cost. This is where the gold overlay process comes into practice to make gold-filled & gold-plated chain and materials for jewelry making.

Gold overlay is a process of coating a layer of gold over less expensive metals such as silver, copper, or brass. 


The difference between Gold-Filled vs. Gold-Plated is the thickness.


Gold-filled jewelry has a 100X thicker layer of gold than gold-plated jewelry. 

And because that layer is so much thicker --->  gold-filled jewelry lasts longer and stands up to wear and tear better than gold-plated.

If the piece is well cared for, gold-filled jewelry can last a lifetime. Gold-plated jewelry doesn't hold up well to water, heat or wear.

  • Gold-filled jewelry is best for meaningful gifts and long-lasting daily wear.
  • Gold-plated jewelry is best for trendy & fast-fashion jewelry.

Choose gold-filled jewelry for anniversaries, birthdays, and other events which are more meaningful when the piece is meant to last decades.

Amethyst Gem Ombre Style Necklace, 14Kt Rose-gold filled

Amethyst and 14kt rose gold earrings

At Novaura Jewelry, we use 14kt Gold-Filled for our designs for long-lasting, durable pieces you will enjoy for years.


With every purchase of Gold-Filled jewelry from Novaura Jewelry, you will get this handy Gold-Filled Care & Cleaning card.

Novaura Jewelry Gold-filled Care & Cleaning Card