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c1950s Vintage 12k Gold Filled Bead Button Earrings Designer signed hallmarks
What is Vintage or Antique Gold Filled Jewellery?
Vintage Gold fill is an actual layer of gold which has been pressure bonded to another metal. Gold filled is not to be confused with gold plating. Vintage Gold filled is much more valuable and tarnish resistant. It does not flake off, rub off or turn colors. Anyone who can wear gold can wear gold filled without worries of an allergic reaction.
Vintage Gold filled jewellery is made from solid gold and filled with other alloys such as brass, bronze and sterling silver. Think of it like a sandwich with solid gold on the outside and a metal filling. Vintage Gold filled wears, looks and lasts like solid gold because its outer surface IS solid gold.
Antique and Vintage “Gold Filled” jewellery is a term that should only be used for items that were made in the USA and if you are unsure you should ask your seller its origin. Vintage and Antique gold filled items were regulated by the US government and the gold content must be at least 1/20 of the weight of the item. Unfortunately the term gold filled has been hijacked and become generic and is being misused for cheap gold plate jewellery from Asia. Gold plate has no regulations. Vintage Gold Fill does not wear off like gold plate. Vintage Gold filled jewellery even offers more than solid gold such as strength and durability because of the inner metal core as solid gold is a soft metal and tends to dent and bend.
Please also be aware that Victorian gold filled pieces are generally unmarked for gold content and hallmarking in the USA did not generally happen until after 1907. Even then the maker could choose to mark the jewellery or the box that it came in so that many pieces are not hallmarked with their gold content. Antique and Vintage gold filled jewellery is normally 10k, 12k, or 14k in gold content. Beware of the newer cheap imitations being marketed as gold filled which are in fact imported from Asia. They are not vintage or antique. They are not gold filled. They are cheap gold plate imitations. The term “gold filled” is being misused by unscrupulous sellers.