Solid Gold & Gold-filled FAQs
TL;DR - 14K Gold-Filled is a higher quality & no-fade/tarnish alternative to gold-plated (brass or 925 silver base) & vermeil jewelry. It looks & wears like solid gold jewelry, and can last you years & decades to come. Safe for shower & exercise.
Where is Lady Estere's jewelry from?
- Singapore. Our 14K Gold-Filled raw materials are sourced from high quality USA manufacturers. Finished jewelry is designed and hand-assembled in our home studio.
What is 14K Gold-filled (1/20)?
- 14K Gold-Filled (1/20) is the best tarnish/fade-resistant alternative to solid gold that is wallet-friendly. Like solid gold, it's durable, waterproof and suitable for all-day wear--so go ahead and shower, exercise or sleep in it! It will look great for years to come!
- Fun-fact: Did you know that many luxury and vintage watches use gold-filled casings and bracelets? E.g. Rolex Tudor.
What is "1/20"?
- Sometimes written as "5%". This is the weight of the 14K solid gold layer as a proportion of the whole gold-filled material. Our gold-filled jewelry has quality stamps "1/20 14K GF" or "14/20GF" which represents extremely high quality. We use raw materials sourced from USA manufacturers.
How can I tell if my jewelry is 14K Gold-Filled (1/20)?
- Look out for a quality stamp with these abbreviations: 1/20 14kt GF, 14/20 GF or 5% 14KGF. Gold-filled jewelry without quality stamps at all, or simply stamped "GF" or "18KGF" without the "1/20" indication usually means a lower composition of genuine gold (3% or less).
- Most of these "18KGF" or "GF" materials are manufactured outside the USA but re-sold there i.e. some are simply gold-plated but still called gold-filled in those other countries.
- A lower composition compromises on the lasting quality of gold-filled jewelry. 3% vs 5% makes a huge difference in tarnish/fade-resistance. The cost of making 3% 18KGF is also cheaper than 5% 14KGF.
- Our jewellery pieces are fitted with quality tags such as the one below, or inscribed directly on clasps/bands. Except for handmade wire-wrapped jewellery where it is not possible to do so.
Is it the same as gold-plated or gold vermeil?
- Unlike gold-plated and vermeil which are electroplated (and temporary), 14K Gold-filled (1/20) consists of a thick layer of 14K solid gold that's been permanently bonded to jeweller's brass. This is done through a mechanical and traditional method of applying heat and pressure, resulting in a more enduring adherence of the gold layer to the base metal.
- 14K Gold-Filled (1/20) has the same appearance and outer properties of 14K solid gold. There are strict criteria as to what can be considered "gold-filled" in the USA, and you can be sure that our pieces are made with a minimum 5% (or 1/20) solid gold layer. This usually results in a layer of gold that is 50 to 100,000 times thicker than plated/vermeil. What's not to like about it? :)
- Think of gold-plated and vermeil as gold that's been 'painted' on, and high quality gold-filled as gold that's been 'melted' on.
I have very sensitive skin. Do you sell 18K gold-filled or higher jewelry?
- 18K Gold-filled is widely produced outside of USA and sold within. They are sometimes simply labelled "GF" and "18KGF" without the weight indication. These are usually made with < 3% gold by weight, or "3 layers of gold".
- 14K Gold-filled (1/20) is hypoallergenic for most people and safe for sensitive skin due to its thick and permanent 14K solid gold layer. We mostly carry 1/20 14KGF and solid gold jewelry at the moment because of its superior quality.
- It is rare to find, but we do have some specific designs in 18K gold-filled materials of minimum 5% solid gold by weight and manufactured via heat and pressure bonding.
- We take pride in sourcing our materials from reputable USA manufacturers who have been in the industry for many years.
- If you are concerned about skin sensitivity, our solid gold range may suit you.
Can I exercise or get sweaty with it?
- Absolutely! In the same way you might exercise with your solid gold jewelry, go ahead and exercise with your goldfilled necklace. However, please get it into the shower as well to wash off the dirt and sweat before you put it away. There is a tiny population (<10%) of us whose sweat will leave a slow stain on gold if not washed off. If you belong to that small group whose body chemistry shows no mercy, pls note that this can happen to any of your solid gold jewellery that’s not a pure gold bar. Well, if you can leave it on while showering anyway, why not? :) For the other 90% of us, lucky you, you can rest easy. Sweat has no impact to either solid gold or goldfilled.
- Please exercise judgment if the necklace is fragile or delicate though!
What about swimming?
- It is generally safe to swim with it (we do too!), but even solid gold will eventually darken under relentless contact with chlorine. Any kind of gold that is less than 24K are alloys after all.
Will the gold layer wear off?
- It takes a special set of circumstances (such as abrasive scratching) for the gold layer to wear off. High quality 14K GF (1/20) jewelry is extremely durable and can last 5-30 years even with daily wear.
How do I clean my jewelry?
- Wash with mild soap and warm water. Go ahead and shower with your jewelry if that makes it easier!
- Generally you do not need to use gold or silver polishing cloth on jewelry that is NOT solid gold or solid silver. These cloths contain chemicals and abrasives, which removes the top layer of your solid gold and silver jewelry to reveal a new shiny layer within. For gold-filled jewelry, use a soft cotton cloth instead.
- HOWEVER, in the unlikely case where your sweat has stained your necklace (this happens to <10% of the population, thanks to body chemistry), a light cleaning with silver polishing cloth will help restore colour and shine. It’s easy-peasy! BUT to avoid browning in the first place, shower with your necklace after a sweaty day, if you plan to take it off.
Are your materials ethical?
- As a home-based business, we are constantly trying our best to do what's right for the environment and our customers. This is a learning process, and we are iterating along the way, as we gain more experience in the field.
- Our sourcing options are limited due to the small size and bargaining power of our business, but we take extra steps to source from reputable suppliers around the world, who have been in the industry for many years. Traceability to the originating mine is not always possible technically, but we hope this will change with technology advancement and as processes mature.
- We recognize the challenges associated with providing precious metals in a responsible manner, and work with our suppliers to ensure the jewelry is produced in the most ethical way possible.
- Our commitment is to source for recycled materials where feasible, and are happy to see more consumers who are conscious about their buying decisions.
Small efforts go a long way
- One of the ways we try to protect the environment is by ensuring minimal wastage of packaging. We will provide all our customers with bags for storage of jewelry. All items from the same order will be packed in a single box if possible.