The price of pure gold in today's market has all but virtually made it unattainable for the average consumer. The alternative, and it's a beautuiful one, is Gold-Filled. What is Gold-Filled? A thick layer of 12K or 14K gold is plated over top an inner core of less expensive metal like copper or brass, making the amount of gold in the piece much smaller in weight, and therefore less expensive, than a pure gold item. Gold-filled metals are resilient and will last a lifetime with proper wear, care, and storage.
What is Gold-Plated? Similar to gold-filled, gold-plated items have a thin layer of gold over a thick core of copper or brass making it the least expensive alternative. The gold-plate, because it is thin, is not permanent and can be scratched or worn off. With proper care, wear, and storage however, these pieces can last many years.