Aloha! You may be seeing us use the term “gold-filled” here and there with new styles that are introduced to the Ka ‘Ohana collection. But what is gold-filled? And is it really a better alternative? Those are the questions we hope to clearly answer for you, today! So let’s get right into it. Unlike solid gold jewelry, gold-filled pieces are made of a solid layer of gold that’s bonded to the base of another type of metal - like sterling silver, brass, copper, etc. Gold-filled jewelry is much less expensive than solid gold jewelry and can be more durable, shiny, and last as long as the solid counterpart.
While solid gold jewelry will cost you much more than a solid gold piece, it’s not always about price. With solid materials such as gold or sterling silver, the workability and durability of a piece can diminish. Pure metals are soft. This means that it is possible for solid gold pieces to wear out or scratch easily. However, when you mix gold with a stronger metal to create a gold alloy, it becomes immediately stronger, more durable and suitable for jewelry that’s meant to last a “lifetime”.
So, you may be wondering how gold-filled pieces are made. Gold-filled have a minimum of 5% gold applied to a base metal. The quantity of karat (10k, 14k, 18k, etc.) determines the color. Here’s an infographic comparing solids to gold-filled and gold-plated:
 solid gold vs. gold filled vs. gold plated inforgraphic
Why is Gold-Filled better than Gold-Plated? Is it the same?
It’s common to believe that gold-filled and gold-plated are similar - since they’re not solid gold. However, that’s not the case. They are indeed very different. Take another look at the infographic above. For gold-plated jewelry, gold thickness can be a few thousandths of an inch - mix that with a metal base, sweat, cleaning products, perfume, etc. - and the plated wears off in no-time. Now, that’s not to say that you can’t take care and keep gold plated jewelry for years, it’s very possible!
While it may be easier to purchase more gold-plated jewelry because it’s cheaper, you may need to prepare to replace those items more frequently.
If you’re looking for pieces to wear short-term, gold-plated is where you should look. However, if you’re wanting to build a collection to wear and pass down to your loved ones, you’ll want to check out gold-filled. While the cost will be higher, you won’t have to continually clean or replace the pieces. Let’s just say that it’s the happy-medium between the inexpensive but not-so-great-quality gold-plated and the expensive, break-the-bank solids we’re used to.
It’s great to have a little of everything depending on the occasion. While we add more gold-filled styles to the Ka ‘Ohana collection and even introduce solid pieces for those who want the real thing. At the end of the day, it is a preference. And we’re here to share beautiful Hawaiian jewelry for everyday.
Have a question about gold-filled, gold-plated, solids, or something else? Email us at and we'll be happy to help!