At Love is a Gun, we frequently use 14K Gold Filled beads in our bracelets and necklaces. To help some of your questions on what it means for something to be Gold Filled, here's a helpful FAQ:
“Gold-filled” is a USA industry standard that legally requires 1/20th, or 5% pure gold by weight. It’s a strictly regulated process that involves pressure bonding multiple layers of solid 14k gold with extreme heat over a core of high-quality jeweler’s brass resulting in a durable, quality real gold product.
A: Actually, all the gold is on the outside, so yep, it’s strange. I’m not sure why the industry decided on “gold-filled” to identify this kind of jewelry—it’s confusing, since it really has nothing to do with being filled with gold. The only thing you need to know is that the term refers to a thick outer layer of durable, pressure-bonded, real, solid gold...on the outside. No filling.
A: The gold in 14k gold-filled is definitely real. There’s a thick layer of real, solid 14k gold on the outside of a brass core. The 14k gold that’s on the outside of gold-filled is the same gold as you would get from a solid 14k piece.
A: Gold-filled jewelry is required to have a minimum of 1/20th (5%) gold by weight. The 5% gold in gold-filled jewelry may not sound like a lot, but it’s all on the outside and it's plenty to keep your jewelry looking great for many years.
A: If you see "rose gold-filled," you can assume we mean "14k rose gold-filled", rather than yellow gold. The difference is just in the color, not in the quality or durability. Both 14k yellow gold and 14k rose gold alloys contain the same amount of 14-karat solid gold. It’s the combination of metals that are added to the pure 24k gold that changes the color - the pure gold part is constant.
A: There’s a lot more gold in gold-filled and the gold is attached in a way that’s much more durable. Also, the standards for 14k gold-fill are strictly regulated, while the standards for "gold plated" encompass a broad range of thicknesses, so you can't be sure how much gold is in the plated layer.
A: Yes. Gold-filled pieces are far more durable and the gold color will not wear off as quickly as Gold-plated pieces.