Halstead Jewelry Minute – Episode 3 – Gold-Filled 101

Halstead Jewelry Minute – Episode 3 – Gold-Filled 101


Hi I’m Hilary Halstead Scott, welcome to
the Halstead Jewelry Minute. Hi, today we’re going to talk about
gold-filled: How the material is made and the differences between yellow gold-
filled and rose gold-filled. So first let’s talk about construction. Gold-
filled is a layered product. The core material in gold filled is
always jewelers brass. On the surface, there is a thinner layer of gold that
is bonded with heat and pressure to create a layered laminate. This gold
layer must be at least 5% of the overall product weight by law. That 5% is much
thicker than the gold layer in plating, which is just a fraction of a percentage.
So next let’s talk about alloys. The gold on the surface of gold-filled is an
alloy, which means a mixture of metals. As you can see in this graphic, a 14-karat
gold alloy is 58% gold with the remainder being a mixture of copper, zinc
and silver. A 12 carat alloy would have slightly less gold at 50%, though
the remainder would still be a mixture of copper, zinc and silver. Now if you
want to change the color of that gold alloy on the surface, you would increase
the level of copper in the alloy to give the rose gold-filled its nice reddish or
pink hue. So if you see this comparison of the side-by-side pie charts, the
yellow 14 karat gold-filled has much less copper than the rose gold-filled.
But you’ll notice the gold content in each of these alloys is the same. So some
limitations to gold-filled material. You’ll notice that because this is a
layered product, gold-filled cannot be cast. That would melt the metals together
and it would no longer technically be gold-filled. Similarly, you have to be
very careful when you’re soldering gold- filled so that you don’t melt all the
metals into one big blob which will turn into a black scar and would ruin your
jewelry. When finishing gold-filled be careful with abrasives and sanding.
Because if you’re working on the surface of the material, you’re actually removing
gold content and you can reduce that mandatory 5% gold weight in your
product. One last thing to be aware of with gold-filled is that you must
always refer to the products by the complete name gold-filled. Shortening the
description to just gold is inaccurate and is also illegal. Thanks for joining
us and have a great day.

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