What is "solid gold"


I was looking on ebay at some jewelry and noticed the following line
in a description for a 14kt necklace:


The dictionary on “Solid” says :

A substance having a definite shape and volume; one that is neither
liquid nor gaseous.

and I beleive 10kt gold can legally be called gold (9kt in some
countries ?), but certainly 14kt is a gold alloy that can be refered
to as gold.

So I’m pretty sure legally speaking the statement is correct, but
for some reason the use of “solid gold” in an advertising line leaves
me feeling a bit violated in some way. I’ve never been offered gold
for sale in it’s liquid or gaseous states :slight_smile: Anyone have any comments
on why use “solid gold” in advertising?

Thanks for any thoughts,
Brian Barrett

    Anyone have any comments on why use "solid gold" in

Merely because it sounds better than “14K Gold.” And because most
consumers don’t know the difference between the terms used to
describe gold, such as pure/fine and solid. I certainly won’t speak
for other countries, but in the USA, the Federal Trade Commission
provides guides for the jewelry trade. they also provide “layman
speak” articles for those of us who get confused by the legalese.
You can find the text to the FTC’s paper on gold fineness at:


It answers your question in a two-sentence paragraph: “Solid gold
refers to an item made of any karat gold, if the inside of the item
is not hollow. The proportion of gold in the piece of jewelry still
is determined by the karat mark.”

Personally, I think it is misleading and should be stricken from the
jewelry trade, along with each and every misleading jewelry term and
gem misnomer. They all muddy the waters and create mistrust.

To read all of the actual FTC Jewelry Guides (you’ll need some time
to read it all) go to: http://www.ftc.gov/os/statutes/jewelryjump.htm
at the top left of the page, where you can view them as text or

If you live in the USA and want to make and sell jewelry responsibly
and ethically, this is a must-read. Sure, our system is somewhat
open to abuse, but there are rules in place that provide for that.
If you want to buy jewelry on eBay, caveat emptor (buyer beware).

James in SoFl

“Solid gold” is a valid description. It indicates that the item is
NOT: hollow, plated, gold filled, etc. It is gold all the way through.

This does not address purity ! A ‘solid gold piece’ made in 10Karat
might have less actual gold content than a hollow piece of 22Karat

David Barzilay
Lord of the Rings
607 S Hill St Ste 850
Los Angeles, CA 90014-1718

It is absolutely correct to call a 14K piece of jewelry “solid gold”
(ditto 10K “solid gold”). The word “solid” in this context indicates
that the metal is the designated karatage through and through, not
that it is “pure gold”: That distinction is reserved for 24K.

When you understand this distinction, it is easy to see why the term
"solid gold" would be used in advertising. Not only does it sound
good, but it indicates that the item is not plated or gold-filled.


Actually, I thought it was illegal to refer to anything as solid
gold that was not 24kt…that line would leave me cold. I would
think they do not know what they are talking about and I am not
buying from them.



The term “solid gold” is meant to differentiate it from gold which
is plated over a base metal.

Jerry in Kodiak

Probably to differentiate between something that is hollow and
something that is solid more than anything else. Some mass-produced
charms for example are hollow forms which are very much lower in
price than solid pieces. To go back and refer to an earlier thread,
this is one of the reasons that buyers ‘weigh’ something in their
hands to test the weight as well, as a means of trying to identify
substantial-looking pieces that may in fact be hollow. Some sellers
also use the term to emphasise that their product is not gold-fill or
plated, but to be accurate they should state the caratage before the
word ‘gold’.

In the UK the lowest permitted alloy that can legally be referred to
as gold is 9ct. Anyone who bought something here that was described
as ‘solid gold’ might have a good case for reporting the vendor under
the Sale of Goods Act or the Trades Description Act (I’m never sure
which) for misrepresentation of the product if it was not a) pure
gold and/or b) solid.


 Anyone have any comments on why use "solid gold" in advertising? 

Guessing here, but I think it might be so that people don’t think
it’s hollow, plated, or gold-filled.

–Kathy Johnson
Feathered Gems Pet Motif Jewelry

The difference here is between conotation and denotation.

Given that anything 10K and above in the US can be called gold,
anything which is made solely of karat gold 10K and above can be
called “solid gold.”

The reason that this phrase is used in marketing, however, is not to
differentiate it from plated or kum-boo’ed work, but because the
branding of the term “solid gold” has already been done. Ever heard
of a musical piece being described as " a solid gold hit?" Of
course, you have, and it is not an indication of karat but rather
indication of popularity and success.

Obviously, there is plenty of stuff on the market which is
technically “solid gold” and which looks like something I would
scrape off my shoe. Calling it “solid gold,” however, implies that
it is the real deal, of lasting value, etc, and that is why the term
is employed.

Lee Einer
Dos Manos Jewelry

I find it interesting to note how the karat rules that intend to
protect also hobble disclosure in the stamp. For example the new
Platinum Sterling silver from ABI. 92.5% Silver and a bit of
platinum, up to 3.5% if I heard right. You can put a label in the box
but you cannot stamp the platinum percentage in addition to the
silver percentage. For example the stamp .925 silver .035 Pt would
be a violation. It bugs me that with palladium gold getting more
popular we can not stamp the Pd percentage in addition to the gold
percentage under current law. It’s another precious metal for
heavens sake. Nickel free is hardly free. Let us add stamps when we
add value!

I would think we would have built a way to include additional
valuable metals in the stamp! Would that not be superior disclosure?
The box or label is likely to get lost and so just how is a repair
jeweler to address all these alloys properly at the bench for repair?

Daniel Ballard

 The box or label is likely to get lost and so just how is a
repair jeweler to address all these alloys properly at the bench
for repair? 

Daniel, one possible answer that occurs to me would be for the
refiner who develops unconventional alloys, to trademark them, and
then allow users who use the alloy to apply that trademarked name.
For example, I recall class rings stamped with the word “Silladium”,
or some such. it denoted the companies version of a surgical
stainless steel. As such a stamp would not actually state any metal
content, it would violate nothing, yet would, to the properly
informed jeweler, tell him/her what was in it. The producer of the
alloy could even offer the stamps for such marking, to customers
buying sufficient quantities of the alloy, or for a fee to those not
buying enough of it…

What I’m not sure of is whether this approach would conflict with the
role of the usual makers trademark, but I’m assuming there’s a way to
do it clearly enough…

Peter Rowe