Is Gold Filled Jewelry Worth Refining? | Precious Metal Refining Blog
I have just obtained hundreds of pieces of 12-14k gold filled jewelry. Do you think its value could be more than the postage to send it to you? Thanks. – From Jamie in Springfield, Missouri
I have some scraps of 14k/20 gold filled pins which I usually make earrings with. I thought about tossing them out, but I did some research and read that it might have value to it. Do you know if my 14k/20 gold filled pins have any value to them and will it be worth it to take these to a refinery? – From Elle in Lincoln, Wisconsin
I have two pairs of eye glasses that except for the lens are gold-filled. They are old glasses so the frame isn’t light. I am sorry I do not have a picture but am glad to post one if you do buy gold filled. Thank you for your time. – From Randy in Greensboro, North Carolina
Hi Jamie, Elle and Randy,
The term “gold filled” refers to a technique used to make items look like they are made from solid gold, but that cost substantially less.In some ways, it is similar to gold plating in that a thin layer of gold is applied to a base metal in order to achieve the gold appearance.Unlike plating, however, gold filled items typically utilize a hollow 10k or 14k gold tube that is filled with another less valuable metal such as brass and are marked with a “GF.”A similar process known as “rolled gold” or “rolled gold plate” employs the same methodology, but utilizes a sheet of thin gold laminated to the base material.
While not solid gold, gold filled and rolled gold items typically contain much more gold than the microscopic layer of gold placed on items with today’s electroplating processes.Gold filled also differs from electroplated gold and gold plate because in the US it is regulated by the Federal Trade Commission and has to contain a certain amount of gold to be marked GF. Given this, gold filled jewelry can return a value, but you typically need a fairly significant amount of material to refine to make it worthwhile.
The math in determining the value of gold filled jewelry is a little more complex than trying to determine the value of a solid gold item.Gold filled pins marked 14k/20 should indicate that the pins use 14K gold, but that only 1/20 of the items weight can be attributed to the 14K gold content.To determine the items approximate value, you should take the item’s weight and divide it by 20.You can then plug this weight into our gold value calculator to get a feel for the amount of gold in the item.Obviously, determining the weight can prove to be very challenging if the item includes other elements aside from the gold filled components.
In addition, since there is very little gold content in these items, the time and energy to refine the precious metal from the other metals is greater than with solid gold.Given this, gold filled jewelry is typically not worth very much unless you have very large quantities of it.