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Gold fill definition


#1

Was: Electronic gold testers advice

"Gold filled", is just a synonym for extra heavy 12k gold plate,
and the gold is usually applied to the "top" surface only. Often,
gold filled will be plated ("bonded") atop jewelers brass (or red
brass) which mimics the color of 14k. 

I beg to differ with your description of gold fill. Some may call
something “Gold filled” when it isn’t, but real gold-fill is created
using a bonding process, not an electroplating process. It is a
sheet or tube of karat gold (12k or 14k, not just 12k) that is bonded
through heat and pressure to an inner core or layer of a base metal,
usually jewelers’ bronze. If I am mistaken about this, then I have
been lied to by at least 20 different sources over the last 20
years.

My understanding is that ‘rolled gold’ is heavy gold plate, but that
gold-fill is created using a completely different process where
sheet or wire is drawn down in a way that the molecules of the gold
are actually ‘interlaced’ with the bronze core. (Think more of gears
meshing than an onion layer.) Although the gold layer can wear away,
it cannot flake off as plate can.

Bev Ludlow
Renaissance Wirewrap Jewelry
www.wirewrapjeweler.com


#2

In the United States, the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 16:
Commercial Practices, Part 23 - Guides for the Jewelry, Precious
Metals and Pewter Industries says:

"An industry product or part thereof on which there has been
affixed on all significant surfaces by soldering, brazing,
welding or other mechanical means, a plating of gold alloy of
not less than 10 karat fineness and of substantial thickness may
be marked or described as "*Gold Filled*"...when such plating
constitutes at least 1/20th of the weight of the metal in the
entire article and when the term is immediately preceded by a
designation of the karat fineness of the plating...." 

John
John Atwell Rasmussen, Ph.D.
Geologist and Gemologist
Rasmussen Gems and Jewelry
www.rasmussengems.com
http://rasmussengems.ganoksin.com/blogs/


#3

A rose by any other name… Technically, the metals - gold and
brass - may be bonded together. Plating is also a bond… but that
is not the important distinction between gold plate, gold fill, and
true carat gold.

I have been working in jewelry for the entirety of my adult life,
and at age 55, have seen may occasions where 1/20 12k gold filled
material is passed off as legitimate precious metal jewelry by
retailers and crafters. It is not. At shows where real precious
metal is a minimum requirement for sale, gold plate and gold fill
are routinely excluded as candidates for the venue, and for good
reason.

At best, before the process of working the metal begins, gold filled
material consists of at best one part fine gold, and 39 parts base
metal. As the metal is worked and polished, inevitably some, or in
many cases I have seen much of the “gold” layer has been stripped
away before the jewelry ever gets into the hands of the retail
consumer.

Regardless of whether an item is made with gold fill, or plated, if
the jewelry is regularly worn over a period of time, whatever gold
is present is worn away from the surfaces receiving the most wear.

This discussion began as a dialog regarding the value and efficacy
of electronic gold testers, and has apparently morphed into a hair
splitting session about the relative value of gold plate, or gold
fill based upon the process used to apply the negligible amount of
precious metal necessary to create the illusion of enhanced value.

If attempts to pass of gold fill, gold plate, and base metals as
legitimate carat gold did not take place, there would be no market
for items like electronic gold testers.

When one attempts to make the distinction between gold filled and
gold plate, it is usually an attempt to legitimize the nature of one
of the materials as being of higher value than a similar material
upon which a negligible amount of gold has been applied by another
process.

For me there is little distinction. I don’t believe either process
offers the consumer real value.

If you have any doubts about this, I recommend that you submit
samples of finished gold fill jewelry of any type to a refiner,
along with a similar volume of carat gold. Have the samples assayed
in separate melts to discover the value of the precious metal
present in the individual melts, and get back to me about the
enhanced value created by the process employed to produce gold fill.

This is a subject about which I feel very strongly. In my opinion
when offered as a high value material, gold fill and gold plate are
to carat gold as snake oil is to real medicine.

Respectfully,

Michael Rogers
M. M. Rogers Design
Albuquerque NM


#4

I have watched this discussion with interest, and disagree with
those who “dis” gold fill. It definitely has its place. When you look
at the price of solid gold, items done in gold are out of the price
range of a large number of people. This doesn’t mean they don’t like
the look of gold, or want to wear it - just that they can’t afford
solid gold.

You have to know your market - and while I do some work in solid
gold, and sell some, most of what I do is gold-filled - since most of
my market is what many on the list would consider “low end”. I buy
only high quality gold-filled materials, and the work created WILL
last if properly cared for - giving the wearer years of pleasure.
Sure, they - and I - would rather have/use solid - but if you can’t
afford it, you can’t afford it. Simple. I clearly state the pieces
that are gold-filled, and the ones that are solid, so there is no
question about what something is made from. But I see no reason to
miss out on sales, and deny folks the chance to wear “gold”, because
I’ve got my nose stuck in the air and insist on only solid.

Different strokes for different folks.

Beth Wicker
Three Cats and a Dog Design Studio
http://www.bethwicker.com


http://bethwicker.ganoksin.com/blogs/


#5
"An industry product or part thereof on which there has been
affixed on all significant surfaces by soldering, brazing, welding
or other mechanical means, a plating of gold alloy of not less than
10 karat fineness and of substantial thickness may be marked or
described as "*Gold Filled*"...when such plating constitutes at
least 1/20th of the weight of the metal in the entire article and
when the term is immediately preceded by a designation of the karat
fineness of the plating...." 

Well, that sure explains where the confusion comes from! Mechanical
or plating.

From this definition of terms, it looks as if a manufacturer could
correctly call something gold filled whether it is, as I thought,
only created only by mechanical means of a layer of karat gold, or is
created using electroplating for a heavy gold plate that makes the
weight 1/20th. I’ll be hornswoggled!

Learn something new every day. Nice to know my knowledge was correct
as far as it went; now I know the heavy plated is correctly labeled
as gold filled as well. This does, of course, change how I explain
the “difference” to my customers.

Also interesting that they use the term “gold filled.” I’ve seen
everything from gold-fill to goldfill to gold-filled to gold filled.
I guess if the “regulations” say “Gold Filled” that’s the term that
should be used.

Thanks for the info, John.

Bev Ludlow
Renaissance Jewelry
http://www.wirewrapjeweler.com


#6
gold filled material consists of at best one part fine gold, and 39
parts base metal. 

Jeez, Michael, a bit of a rant, eh? :<}

I’m not all emotional about it, but I’d agree with everything you
said, too. As long as people are treating it for what it is -
essentially brass with a non-tarnish gold coating on it, we’ll all
get along fine. To dispell a probable misunderstanding - 1/20 gold
filled is 1/20 gold by weight. Most people use 13.4 as the specific
gravity for 14kt. The SG of brasses and bronzes is more like 8.0,
depending on the alloy. That means it’s 1/20 gold by weight, but
more like 1/39, as Michael says, by VOLUME.

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com