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What is rolled gold and how to care for it ?

April 16, 2018

What is rolled gold and how to care for it ?

At Lulu + Belle we love using 14 kt rolled gold in our pieces as it is a high quality and durable product that is second only to solid gold. We know that there can be some confusion over what rolled gold is and how to care for it, so here's a little guide that answers the most common questions we are asked. 

WHAT EXACTLY IS 14 kt ROLLED GOLD ? 

'Rolled gold' which is also known as 'gold-filled' or 'gold fill' is a material that has 1/20th of pure 14 kt gold content by weight. The material is made by pressure bonding multiple layers of solid 14 kt pure gold to a core of high quality jeweller's brass, creating a durable material which has a high quantity of 'pure gold'. While the term 'gold filled' is used, the actual pure gold layer all sits on the outside of the brass core. 

IS ROLLED GOLD THE SAME AS GOLD PLATED? 

No. Rolled gold material has many times more pure gold than gold plated and the bonding process for rolled gold results in a much more durable material than gold plated. There are very strict standards for the manufacture of rolled gold and 14 kt rolled gold must have at least 5% solid gold content. There are no official standards for gold plate and 'gold plated' jewellery could have any thickness of gold in the plated layer. 

IS GOLD PLATING OVER SILVER BETTER THAN ROLLED GOLD?

Customers sometimes think that rolled gold is a less valuable material than gold plated sterling silver (also known as vermeil) because the core metal of rolled gold is jeweller's brass rather than sterling silver.  Rolled gold is actually a more valuable material than gold plated silver, because it is the solid gold that is the most valuable material and rolled gold has more solid gold than all gold plated material. Rolled Gold is also created in a way that the pure gold layer won't wear off over time and is a more long-lasting and durable product than even heavy gold plated silver jewellery. 

CAN ALL JEWELLERY BE MADE FROM ROLLED GOLD ?

There are limitations to what can be done with rolled gold. In general for example, our jewellery starts with sheets of rolled gold material or rolled gold wire to make our rolled gold personalised necklaces, bracelets and earrings in the studio.  If we want to make a piece with lots of detail, such as our 'the mountains are calling pendant', this is first designed in wax and then cast in sterling silver and finished with a heavy layer of 18kt gold.  Rolled gold wouldn't be suitable for such pieces as it is generally available as sheet metal or wire so gold plating or solid gold is more often used for cast pieces. 

WHY SHOULD I CHOOSE ROLLED GOLD JEWELLERY ? 

If you love the look of solid gold jewellery but find the price inaccessible for everyday pieces,  rolled gold is a good alternative.  Rolled gold has the exact look and colour of solid gold but is much more affordable. Your rolled gold jewellery will also last for a long time with a little care. 

WILL MY SKIN TURN GREEN WITH ROLLED GOLD? 

No. Rolled gold does not contain copper and has a thick gold layer pressure bonded to the core metal, so it will not leave a green residue on your skin. 

WILL MY ROLLED GOLD JEWELLERY FLAKE OFF OR TARNISH?

Rolled gold will not flake off over time as it is durable product due to bonding process when it is manufactured. Flaking of the gold layer is more common is gold plated jewellery.  Rolled gold does not tarnish easily, but residues and oils from the skin may build up on the jewellery over time.  We recommend giving your pieces a gentle polish with soft, gold polishing cloth from time to time to keep your jewellery looking shiny. 

CARING FOR YOUR ROLLED GOLD JEWELLERY

HOW DO I CLEAN MY ROLLED GOLD JEWELLERY?

Give your rolled gold jewellery a gentle polish from time to time with a soft gold polishing cloth. We particularly like the blue sunshine polishing cloths which will bring the shine back to your pieces. You can gently run the chain through the polishing cloth to make it shiny and bright. 

If your rolled gold jewellery needs a more thorough clean, you can wash it gently in warm water and mild soap and pat it dry with a very soft cloth. Be careful not to scratch your pieces when washing and drying. 

HOW CAN I HELP MY ROLLED GOLD JEWELLERY LAST ?

Try to avoid getting perfumes and lotions on your jewellery, in particular sun-screen can be damaging to the precious metal. When applying lotions, allow them to absorb fully before you put on your jewellery.  If you do get lotions on your jewellery, gently wash it off with water and a mild soap, particularly the chain. 

CAN I SWIM AND WEAR MY JEWELLERY IN THE SHOWER?

We recommend removing your jewellery for showering and particularly for swimming in chlorinated water, hot-tubs or in the sea.  The chemicals in pools and hot-tubs will damage precious metals and could leave your pieces looking dull and tarnished. 

SHOULD I WEAR MY JEWELLERY FOR SPORTS?

Removing your jewellery for sports will also prolong the life of your pieces as sweat can also affect your piece over time, depending on your own body chemistry.  There is also the risk of damaging or snagging delicate chains when playing sports. 




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