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Why gold-filled jewelry?

Sand + Salt gold-filled jewelry

What is Gold-Fill?
Why Sand + Salt Uses Gold-Filled Jewelry:

Imagine this scenario – you see the most beautiful, shimmery, golden necklace while shopping.  Your heart skips a beat; you’ve essentially fallen in love with this piece of jewelry, and you’re already convinced that it’ll be your new favorite accessory to adorn your outfits with each and every day.

You happily hand over your credit card, because investing in nice accessories is something you deem worthwhile (and you’re not wrong).

It’s like a small love affair between you and your new favorite necklace –putting it on each morning is like a new ritual, and every time you catch a glimpse of it in the mirror you smile.

But then, heartbreak strikes.  After a few wears, you notice that the chain is …. turning silver??? What happened to the gold? You could swear it was gold when you bought it – right??

Well, it looks like you bought something gold-plated.  And Sand + Salt wants to save you from this kind of heartbreak, which is why all of the jewelry you’ll find from Sand + Salt is always gold-filled.

The Golden (Gold-Filled) Standard:

When shopping for jewelry, you may see all sorts of terms referring to what kind of metals are used: gold-filled, gold plated, gold vermeil, sterling silver, etc. – it can make your head spin! Understanding what kind of material you’re buying can help you make more informed purchases so you can choose pieces that will last you years, rather than months.

So… What is Gold-Filled Jewelry?

Gold-filled jewelry is crafted by bonding a thick layer of gold to a base metal core, usually brass or sterling silver. This process involves heat and pressure, resulting in a durable and long-lasting piece with the look and feel of solid gold. The gold layer in gold-filled jewelry is significantly thicker (we’re talking up to 100x thicker!) than in gold-plated pieces, making it more resistant to wear and tear. 

Based on standards from the FTC, to qualify as authentic gold-fill, it must be at least 10 karats or higher.  Sand + Salt jewelry most often uses 12-, 14-, and 18-karat materials.  Generally, 18-karat is more expensive than 12-karat because it has a higher percentage of gold.  24-karat is pure gold, and you can even find 24-karat gold-fill pieces!  It just means that the 24kt gold has been bonded to a base metal core rather than the piece being solid gold throughout.

Gold-Filled vs. Gold-Plated vs. Gold Vermeil: The Breakdown

Gold-plated jewelry, on the other hand, features a microscopically thin layer of gold, electroplated onto a base metal such as brass or copper. While gold-plated pieces are initially budget-friendly, the thin gold layer often wears off over time, exposing the base metal beneath.  Depending on the quality of gold-plated jewelry, and depending on how often you wear it, it may last a few weeks/months up to a year or so before you start noticing the base metal color showing through in some places.

Gold vermeil jewelry takes it up just a notch by using a thicker gold layer than gold-plated pieces. However, the gold in vermeil jewelry is still thinner than that in gold-filled pieces, making it a bit more prone to tarnishing and wear over time.

graphic showing the difference between gold-filled and gold plated jewelry, from RioGrande

Why Choose Gold-Filled Jewelry?

All Sand + Salt jewelry is gold-filled, never gold-plated.  Here’s why!

  1. Durability: Gold-filled jewelry is built to last. With proper care, it can withstand everyday wear and tear without losing its luster or integrity. Say goodbye to flimsy pieces that tarnish after a few wears!
  1. Longevity: Unlike gold-plated jewelry, which may require frequent re-plating (and let’s be real, you’re not going to want to deal with constantly having to do that), gold-filled pieces maintain their beauty for years to come. Investing in gold-filled jewelry means investing in pieces that stand the test of time, without the price point of solid gold.  You can have your Sand + Salt pieces for a lifetime!
  1. Tarnish Resistance: Thanks to its thick layer of gold, gold-filled jewelry is more resistant to tarnishing compared to gold-plated or gold vermeil pieces. You can rock your favorite gold-filled necklace or earrings without worrying about tarnishing or turning your skin green.  And, unless you’re putting your jewelry through a rock tumbler or scraping it against concrete (please don’t), you can say goodbye to the heartbreak of your golden jewelry exposing the silver or brass underneath.
  1. Price:  While solid gold jewelry comes with a hefty price tag, gold-filled jewelry offers the same luxurious look at a fraction of the cost. Treat yourself to high-quality pieces without breaking the bank.

None of this is to bash jewelry that uses gold-plated material, but it’s important that you understand exactly what you’re buying and the implications on durability and longevity.  After all, you wouldn’t want to spend money on a piece of jewelry that you’re expecting to last for years, only to have it turn brassy or silver after a few months!