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topic 25636

How to do the Gold Fill process?


2003

Q. I am a silversmith and jewelry designer. I want to know how I can create my own "Gold Fill" items. I was wondering if anyone had the formula and process in detail that I need to do this?

Thank You!

Brian LLoyd
silversmith - Greenville, North Carolina, USA


2003

A. Here's hoping, Brian--but I don't think a small silversmith/jewelry designer can do gold filling; I believe it requires a factory

Ted Mooney, finishing.com Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live Aloha


2003

Q. I am a silver Jewelry manufacturer in Taxco Mexico. We mill our own silver. I have a customer who is asking for gold filled jewelry but I do not know what are the percentages or which metals are to be melted to get the gold filled so that I can mill it myself since there is no one here in Taxco who knows that process. If there is anyone who would please give me the recipe to gold filled and which metals and percentages that would be really appreciated.

Gratefully,

RAMON RODRIGO RAMIREZ
wholesale of silver jewelry - TAXCO, GUERRERO, MEXICO


2003

A. Gold filled or gold overlay is made by high heat and pressure-bonding a thin layer of gold to a brass core. The 1/20 14K GF notation refers to the ratio of the 14K gold layer to the brass layer by weight. Gold filled stock is available in sheet, wire, and tubing in just about any thickness and shape. This is not an expensive material and it seems unlikely that a newcomer could compete with the existing mills. Why not invent something new instead?

Neil Bell
Red Sky Plating

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Albuquerque, New Mexico
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January 1, 2020 -- this entry appended to this thread by editor in lieu of spawning a duplicative thread

Q. Hi, I live in New Zealand and we have an auction site which is offering gold jewelry. I was looking to buy a gold chain for a granddaughter and saw an advert that just doesn't ring true to me. Can you please tell me if I am correct. The advert is for a "14K Yellow Gold Filled Solid Figaro Chain Necklace," I asked if it is real gold or gold plated. The answer is: "Hi there This necklace is Gold Filled which means it's base is silver and on the surface there is 5% of real 14k yellow gold". Is it realistic to put a total of 5% on the "filling"?, If you are plating 14 Karat gold onto silver does whatever the other 10 Karats is go over also onto the chain? Or is this just big have for cheap jewelry which is electroplated? Thanks for any response. I'm not interested in buying this but I would like to educate myself as it just doesn't sound right.
Thanks, Steve.

Steve Jeferson
curious old man - New Zealand


January 2020

A. Hi Steve. We appended your question to a thread where Neil Bell has already answered it. As he tells us, a thin sheet of 14K gold was bonded to a heavier sheet of silver, and then together they are rolled down to the final thickness of the piece. The thickness of the 14K gold sheet is chosen such that the weight of the 14K portion will be 1/20 or 5% of the total weight of the item. This is not insignificant.

An item which is "1/20 14K gold filled" is 5% 14K gold; and 14K gold is 14/24 pure gold, so the item is about 3% pure gold. Gold filling is one way of putting a gold skin or surface on the item; gold electroplating it is another method. Although it is possible to do fairly heavy gold electroplating, I think you're very unlikely to find gold electroplated jewelry that even approaches 3% gold by weight. Even "vermeil", which is quite high quality gold plating, is only 2.5 µm or 1 ten thousandth of an inch thick.

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live Aloha


January 2, 2020

Q. Thanks very much for your fast answer. They say that it is stamped 14K, would this be correct having then said that it is gold fill? I just feel that the 14K stamp, if I hadn't asked the question about gold fill would be misleading. Sorry to be a nuisance, Steve

Steve Jefferson
curious - New Zealand


January 2020

A. Hi Steve. You're not a nuisance in the least. We love real-world questions like yours as opposed to abstract questions. In fact, we're all wondering what you're going to get for your granddaughter instead :-)

I am not from the jewelry industry, and I don't know exactly what is legal & illegal and where, but I believe that "1/20 14K" is a legitimate marking and "14K" is not.

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live Aloha


January 3, 2020

thumbs up sign Hi and thanks again. I have a signet ring my mother wore for about 60 years. The problem she had tiny fingers and my granddaughter has bigger. I told her I would have Mum's ring plus a bit of other gold I have made into a ring for her. But when I went to a guy who does this sort of thing he wanted $500 for a plain band. This blew me away and my granddaughter said she would be happy to wear it on a chain. So I have been looking at various sites and came across the gold filled advert. I have no intention of buying plated or gold filled (now that I know what it is) but the wording of the ad got to me so I asked them what it was because I thought it sounded shaky and misleading. I will keep looking anyway and let you know what I/she decides upon. Steve

Steve Jefferson
curious with thanks - New Zealand


January 2020

A. Hi Steve. I'm no jeweler but my understanding is that, at least to a certain degree, gold rings can be "stretched" by hammering them down a tapered mandrel or using other tools with similar result. Google "stretch a gold ring" or ask around at another jeweler.

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live Aloha

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