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Know Your Gold

March 03, 2017 1 Comment

Know Your Gold

Del Francis Jewelry 14K Solid Gold Comparison Chart Know Your Gold Blog
 Do you know if the gold you're buying is really gold?

Legally, all gold jewelry, even the smallest of earrings are marked with a number and the letter K. The metal used must also be in the description of the jewelry to meet the legal standards of the FTC. If the metal is not listed in the description, you should probably look elsewhere.


When you buy gold jewelry, look for the karat quality mark (14K). The karat mark will tell you how much pure gold is in the piece.

Pure gold – 24 karat (24K) gold – is soft, so it’s often mixed with other metals to increase its hardness and durability. The total of pure gold and other metal adds up to 24, so:

  • 18K gold is 18 parts gold mixed throughout with 6 parts other metal
  • 14K gold is 14 parts gold mixed throughout with 10 parts other metal
  • 10K gold is 10 parts gold mixed throughout with 14 parts other metal

 Solid Gold (10K, 14K, 18K or 24K)

“Solid gold” refers to any gold item where the inside of the item is not hollow. The karat mark still will denote the proportion of gold to other metal.

 Gold Plated (10KGP, 14KGP, 18KGP)

Jewelry can be plated with gold by mechanical plating, electroplating, and other processes. Eventually, gold plating wears away and the cheap metal base below it will show. How soon depends on how often the item is worn and how thick the plating is.

  • Gold filled,” “gold overlay,” and “rolled gold plate (RGP)” describe jewelry that has a layer of at least 10 karat gold mechanically applied to a base metal. These items should be marked with the term or abbreviation and the karat quality of the gold used (for example, 14K gold overlay or 14K RGP).
  • If the layer of gold is less than 1/20 of the weight of the metal in the entire item, any marking should state the fraction of karat gold (for example, 1/40 14K gold overlay).
  • Gold electroplate” describes jewelry that has a layer (at least .175 microns) of at least 10 karat gold applied on a base metal by an electrolytic process.

Vermeil, a thicker gold plated product, by law must consist of a base metal of .925 sterling silver. Vermeil must meet the minimum standard of 2.5 microns of karat gold plating. If it's not Solid Gold, then Vermeil is the next best choice.

Gold Flashed or Gold Washed

The terms “gold flashed” and “gold washed” describe products that have an extremely thin electroplating of gold (less than .175 microns). This will wear away faster than gold plate, gold filled, or gold electroplate.

 If you have any questions, contact us. We would love to help you.

Del Francis Jewelry

Delfrancisjewelry.com customerservice@delfrancisjewelry.com (864) FRANCIS

1 Response


May 01, 2017

Good to know!

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