All You Need to Know About Rolled Gold

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Gold is a popular choice among jewelry wearers because of its shine and durability. But most people love gold because it’s a status symbol. 

However, its rarity makes it more expensive to own than other precious metals. 

Jewelers have made gold more accessible and affordable by making jewelry with gold alternatives while retaining the shine and beauty of the gold. 

Rolled gold is one of these alternatives. So, if you’re curious about rolled gold and how it compares to other gold types like gold vermeil and gold plated, this guide will answer your questions.

What is rolled gold?

Rolled gold is made by using heat and pressure to coat or roll sheets of gold on both sides of a base metal. Base metals include brass, silver, copper, palladium, platinum, and silver. The gold sheets give these base metals the shiny and bright finished appearance of real gold. 

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Is rolled gold real gold? 

Rolled gold is not 100% percent real gold because the base metal is different. It could be brass, silver, or copper. That said, real gold (10K, 12K, or 14K) is used to bind the base metal.

How much gold is in rolled gold jewelry?

If the gold sheet to be used for binding the base metal is 10 Kkarat (10K), this means the quantity of gold rolled must be at least 5% of the item’s overall weight. This also applies to 12K, 14K, and 18K gold. 

The federal trade commission in the United States determines the quality of rolled gold. 

💡 Take Note: Rolled gold is also known as filled gold. The process of making them is the same, and as such, the term is used interchangeably depending on preference. 

What is rolled gold worth? 

A gram of 14K rolled gold costs $1.8, while one gram of 14K solid gold costs $36.

How long does rolled gold last?

Rolled gold jewelry is highly durable because it has a high fraction of gold. It can last 10 years or more depending on the thickness of gold rolled on the base metal.

Is rolled gold magnetic?

On its own, gold is not magnetic. 

However, there is a possibility of rolled gold being magnetic. If a thin layer of gold is used to bind a ferromagnetic (highly susceptible to magnetization) metal like iron and nickel, then that rolled gold piece is highly likely to attract magnets. 

Does rolled gold tarnish?

It is rare for rolled gold to tarnish. This is because the outer layer of gold is solid and thick. Despite its durability, if rolled gold is exposed to  sulfur and oxygen, it will tarnish.

Does rolled gold have a hallmark? 

Rolled gold has a hallmark. Rolled gold jewelry is usually stamped with the letters “RG” for “Rolled Gold,” or RGP for “Rolled Gold Plate.”

A piece of rolled gold jewelry may be stamped with 10K RGP, indicating that 10 karat gold was used to roll the base metal. 

Sometimes, the exact percentage of gold rolled is stamped on the piece of jewelry. For example, 1/10 10K RGP indicates that the piece of jewelry contains one-tenth of a karat gold layer of the overall weight of the jewelry.

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Pros and Cons of Rolled Gold Jewelry

Although there are many good aspects to owning rolled gold, it has downsides too. Let’s look at both.

Pros of Rolled Gold Jewelry 

Here are some advantages of rolled gold jewelry:

  • Highly durable: With proper care, rolled gold can last 10 years or more if the gold layer is properly bound to the metal.
  • It is affordable: A gram of 14K rolled gold costs $1.8 compared to a gram of solid gold at $36.
  • It is hypoallergenic: Since real gold is used as the outer layer of rolled gold, it prevents allergies caused by nickel. 
  • It is lustrous: It shines and glows just like solid gold.
  • Water resistant: If you forget to take off your jewelry before showering, do not worry because rolled gold can be worn in the shower.
  • Easy to repair: Broken rolled gold jewelry can be fixed easily by smoldering (melting and applying filler metal to the joint of a broken metal to bind it).

Cons of Rolled Gold Jewelry 

Here are some disadvantages to look out for:

  • Attracts grease and dirt over time: Over time, your rolled gold jewelry will attract grease and dirt, making it appear less desirable.
  • May be difficult to identify: Dubious jewelers may sell rolled gold to you for the price of real gold because of how similar they look. 
  • It can tarnish: Rolled gold can tarnish or wear off if exposed to extreme sulfur and oxygen. 

How Rolled Gold Compares to Other Gold Types

Not all gold jewelry is the same. In this section, we’ll compare rolled gold to other types of gold.

Rolled Gold vs. Gold-Plated Jewelry

On the outside, gold-filled jewelry and gold-plated jewelry look the same. However, there are significant differences between the two. 

  • Durability: Rolled gold jewelry is more durable than gold-plated jewelry because it has more solid gold content than gold-plated jewelry. Rolled gold has actual sheets of gold wrapped around a base metal (at least 5% of real gold), while gold-plated jewelry has a minute immeasurable gold content (less than 0.05% of the total jewelry weight) coating a base metal.
  • Cost: Rolled gold is more expensive than gold-plated jewelry. While a 14K rolled gold ring costs $35, a 14K gold-plated ring costs $11.
  • Scratch Resistance: Rolled gold does not scratch easily to reveal the base metal, unlike gold-plated jewelry that tarnishes easily. Gold-plated jewelry scratches easily because only a thin layer of gold is used to coat the base metal. 
  • Production: While rolled gold is made by using heat and pressure, gold-plated jewelry is made by using an electrochemical process.

Rolled Gold vs Gold-Filled Jewelry

There’s no difference between rolled gold and gold-filled jewelry. Both are made in the same way and contain at least 5% of pure gold.

💡 Fun Fact: In Victorian times, gold-filled jewelry was known as rolled gold. 

How to Care for Rolled Gold Jewelry 

If you want your rolled gold jewelry to keep looking like the real deal, here are some care tips to keep in mind: 

  • Wipe off dirt and grease regularly from rolled gold jewelry using a soft cloth.
  • Store your rolled gold jewelry in a dry and airtight plastic bag. Keep it separate from other metals to prevent scratching. 
  • Avoid wearing your rolled gold jewelry for workouts or strenuous outdoor activities like gardening. Frequent contact with sweat can cause wear.
  • Although you can shower with your rolled gold jewelry, it is better to wear it last before going. Frequent contact with soap and cosmetics may cause wear. 
  • Take your jewelry off before bed. Rubbing it against the beddings while turning in bed could cause wear.
  • Polish your rolled gold jewelry every two weeks or as required. Soak the jewelry in warm water with one or two drops of dish soap for at least 10 minutes. Brush gently with a soft brush, then pat it dry with a clean cloth. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Rolled Gold

There’s nothing like too many questions. Here are answers to some other questions you might have.

Can acid tarnish rolled gold?

When rolled gold in its complete form comes in contact with acid, tarnish does not occur. However, if the gold surface is already scratched before coming in contact with acid, there will be a reaction that leads to tarnish.

My rolled gold broke, what should I do?

Take your rolled gold to your jeweler to fix it by smoldering. It will look as good as new.

Can I resell rolled gold?

Yes, you can resell rolled gold, but it’s not worth much since the content of the base metal (not gold) exceeds the gold content.

A Solid Gold Alternative

Rolled gold can last for many years while maintaining the shine and beauty of real gold. It won’t irritate your skin as it’s hypoallergenic. If you’re on a budget but still want to look classy, rolled gold is for you. 

The next time you go gold shopping, remember to inspect various pieces of jewelry for stamps to determine if they are rolled gold.

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