Gold filled jewelry can be confusing because of how it is marked. You will see 10k, 12k, and 14k marks on them leading you to believe that they are solid gold, but you must make sure you look at the entire marking to be sure. It would be marked with G.F. at the end, or actually say Gold Filled, with the marked fraction of gold that it contains.
Examples: 1/10 10k G.F. indicates that 1/10 of the weight is 10k gold. When you do the math, it looks like this (keeping in mind that 10k/24k is 41.7% pure gold). One tenth of 41.7 is 4.17%. So in this case, the jewelry has a gold content of 4.17%.
More commonly you see 1/20th 14k Gold Filled. (keeping in mind that 14k/24k is 58.5% pure gold) 1/20th of the weight of the jewelry is 14k gold. So the gold content is 1/20th of 58.5% of the jewelry weight, or 2.925% of its weight is gold.
Gold fill jewelry is made with a different metal that has been coated with one or more layers of gold. There is a measurable / refine-able amount of gold in it. So, the point is this – while it does not have the value of true karat-ed solid gold jewelry, it still has SOME value and should not be considered “trash” or “cosmetic jewelry”.
How is this different than gold plated? Gold plated uses the absolute minimum amount of gold to make the jewelry look gold. The gold is not measurable or recoverable. Markings could be “G.P” for gold plate, “H.G.E.” for Heavy Gold Electroplate among others.
So if you have any question of what you have, feel free to bring it by and we’ll take a look at it for you. Thanks for reading!