August 05, 2020 1 Comment


You've probably heard the terms gold plated or silver plated when it comes to jewelry. You've likely also heard of gold-filled and sterling silver.

So what do these terms mean? In short, they refer to different types of metals. You might be wondering, is one type of metal better than another? We're here to enthusiastically tell you, YES!


All of our jewelry is made using 14k gold-filled and .925 sterling silver metals. Our pieces are durable and long-lasting.

In our experience, the more you wear your silver jewelry, the less it tarnishes. It often comes in direct contact with oils from your skin which help protect it from discolouring.

The gold in our gold-filled pieces will last a lifetime if cared for properly. The gold can be exposed to freshwater and soap, and won't ever flake or rub off. This isn't the case for plated jewelry. 

So what do 14k gold-filled, .925 sterling silver, and plated jewelry consist of?

Let's break it down:

This is what's known as a metal alloy; a combination of metals. The K in 14k gold-filled refers to karats, which is a measurement of the purity of gold - the purest gold having 24 karats. But in its pure form, gold is quite soft, so in order to strengthen it, it is mixed with another metal.

The term gold-filled refers to the thick outer layer of pure gold that is heat-bonded to a brass core. A 14k gold-filled jewelry piece consists of 14 parts gold and 10 parts brass, meaning it contains 58.3% pure gold. The look is comparable to pure gold, but is much more durable.

strut jewelry gold filled opal ring


This is also a metal alloy; a combination of metals. Pure silver is relatively soft and malleable, which means it can be easily damaged.

In order to make this metal more durable, 92.5% (by weight) pure silver is added to 7.5% (by weight) copper, resulting in the sterling silver we use.

There has been a long history of combining silver and copper. Starting around the 12th century, silver coins made from this metal alloy were referred to as Easterlings, and the name was eventually shortened to sterling. This term is now used to indicate the highest grade of silver.

strut jewelry labradorite rings


Plated metals are made by using electricity or chemicals to add a layer of gold or pure silver over a base metal, usually brass or copper.

This layer is so thin (often 1/1000th to 3/1000th of an inch) that the resulting jewelry piece is often quite fragile. The gold or silver plating is prone to flaking off and causing the base metal to tarnish when exposed.

The price tags on gold-plated jewelry might seem right, but here's the truth: gold-plated jewelry has more cons than pros.


We get it; you don't want to break the bank when buying jewelry. And gold-plated items are very low-cost. But a one-time small purchase can result in more, larger, and unnecessary purchases down the road.

Here's why: the plating that covers gold-plated jewelry will inevitably wear away, and often quite quickly, exposing the base metal underneath. So your options are to continue to wear the piece as it continues to degrade and look unsightly, have it re-plated somewhere, or buy a new gold-plated piece altogether.

Both options are costly and can be avoided entirely by purchasing a higher quality gold-filled piece in the first place. 

In addition, the process for plating metal is usually done in factory settings due to the chemicals required. Where are those factories located? Oftentimes overseas. The low price tag that comes with purchasing manufactured gold-plated or silver-plated jewelry can have a very human cost. 

Purchasing your jewelry from small, independent owner-led businesses allows you to ask about healthy processes, ethical supply chains and whether there is follow-up customer care that doesn't involve simply discarding damaged jewelry into landfills.

strut jewelry pearl hoops


Because the gold plating layer is so thin, it is prone to chipping or rubbing off, causing the metal underneath to be exposed and to tarnish or irritate your skin.

Even with the most intensive care, a gold-plated piece of jewelry will only last 1 to 2 years before the base metal starts to become exposed. The gold-plating will also lose its shine and start to fade.

On the other hand, the layer of gold in gold-filled jewelry is much thicker and far more durable. With proper care, a gold-filled piece of jewelry will last 30+ years before showing any signs of age. The same can be said for sterling silver.


Are you allergic to metals such as brass, copper, or rhodium? Then gold-plated jewelry isn't for you. Although it looks similar to gold-filled jewelry, gold-plating often contains materials that can cause skin irritation or allergic reactions.

But you'll never have this problem with gold-filled jewelry; as with pure gold, it does not cause any allergies or rashes even when worn against the most sensitive skin.

The same can be said with .925 sterling silver - it is entirely hypoallergenic. 


We'll be honest. In our opinion: plated jewelry just isn't worth it. You'll get more sparkle for your dollars (and a more authentic look) from gold-filled or sterling silver jewelry as opposed to gold-plated or silver-plated.

Higher quality means longer lasting, and you'll have the satisfaction of knowing that you've invested in a piece of jewelry that will always be there for you. 

Now that you've learned about the different metals, do you have any questions? Did you learn something new that you didn't know before? Leave a comment below!

1 Response


August 06, 2020

Oh wow!!! I had no idea the difference between gold/silver plated and filled, very interesting indeed. Thank you for explaining in detail 😃

Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.

Also in Blog

Mother's Day Gift Guide
Mother's Day Gift Guide

April 15, 2021

We all can use a treat (or two), and for us here at Strut Jewelry, Mother's Day is all about showing love to your Mom, sister, bestie, grandma, favourite aunt or whoever is a beloved caregiver in your life, and bringing a smile to their faces!

View full article →

Stylish Sustainability: What We're Doing to Reduce Our Environmental Impact
Stylish Sustainability: What We're Doing to Reduce Our Environmental Impact

April 01, 2021

Since 2009, we've created jewelry that is thoughtfully designed and gathers inspiration and materials from the world around us. But what happens when that world is changing, and not for the better?

View full article →

Our top picks for mask-friendly earring stacks
Our top picks for mask-friendly earring stacks

February 19, 2021

We know it's tough to decide how to style your jewels while wearing a mask; but don't let the that deter you from...

View full article →

Join our mailing list. Get 15% off your first online purchase.