Gold Marked GF
GF stands for “Gold Filled”, also known as “Rolled Gold” or “Rolled Gold Plate” and is composed of a solid layer of gold (or gold alloy) bonded with heat and pressure to a base metal such as brass. Some high quality gold filled pieces have the same appearance as 14 karat (58%) gold. In the U.S. the quality of gold filled is defined by the Federal Trade Commission. If the gold layer is 10k fineness the minimum layer of karat gold in an item stamped GF must equal at least 1/10 the weight of the total item. If the gold layer is 12k or higher the minimum layer of karat gold in an item stamped GF must equal at least 1/20 the weight of the total item. 1/20 12k GF and 1/20 14k GF are the most common gold hallmarks (stamps) found on gold-filled jewelry, 1/10 10k is also fairly common.
“Double clad” gold filled sheet is produced with 1/2 the thickness of gold on each side. 1/20 14kt double clad gold-filled has a layer on each side of 1/40 14k, making the total content of gold 1/20 of the total weight of the item. The thinner layer on each side does not wear as well as single clad gold-filled.
The Federal Trade Commission allows the use of “Rolled Gold Plate” or “R.G.P.” on items with lower thicknesses of gold than are required for “gold-filled.” 1/60 12k RGP designates a 12k gold layer that is 1/60 the weight of the total item. This lower quality does not wear as well as gold-filled items.
Gold-filled items, even with daily wear, can last 5 to 30 years but will eventually wear through. The gold layer on gold-plated jewelry varies greatly depending on the manufacturer, so there is no single, simple comparison. Gold-filled items are 50 to 100,000 times thicker than regular gold plating, and 17 to 25,000 times thicker than heavy gold electroplate (sometimes stamped HGE or HGP—usually found on flashy cubic zirconia “cocktail rings”).
Calculating the Market Value of Gold Filled items:
Example: Let’s say you have a ring that is marked 1/20 14KGP and weighs 5 grams. Find the gold value of the ring as if it were not “gold filled” (your can do this quickly and easily with our Gold Value Calculator located HERE). Then simply multiply that value by the amount of gold marked on the item (in this case 1/20 which equals 0.05). So if the current spot price of gold was $1,500 then the ring (if it was solid and not gold filled) would have a value of $140.66. Now, just multiply $140.66 by 0.05 which equals $7.03, this would be the market or “melt value” if the gold was to be refined from the ring.
Refining Gold Filled Items
Unlike electroplated gold items (which have very little actual gold), it is possible to refine the gold from gold filled items and actually recover a substantial amount of gold! In the video below you’ll see how the guy is able to take 202 grams of gold filled scrap items and recover 8.3 grams of pure gold! At the gold price today ($1,277.75) that would equal $340.97 in pure gold, not bad!
*Note: Refining gold involves a chemical process that can be dangerous and should not be attempted by amateurs or inexperienced people. Be sure to consult a professional if you are interested in pursuing this process.