There is a big difference between "gold filled" and gold plated".
Its really good to know the difference so that you know what to shop for and what you are getting for your buck.
Bottom line your going to pay a little bit more for gold filled jewelry, but it will stand the test of time, and in our opinion its well worth it. Here's why:
Gold Plated: The process of gold plating is one where a minuscule layer of gold is applied over a base metal (usually brass).
The amount of real gold that is used is actually so tiny that its technically considered unmeasurable (less than .05%). This is why gold plating will wear off (actually pretty quickly).
Gold Filled: Gold Filled jewelry is made by wrapping layers of solid gold (14K, 12K, or 18K) sheets around a base metal (usually brass).
Unlike gold plated jewelry, gold filled jewelry actually has a measurable amount of gold in it. This process of adhering solid gold sheets makes for jewelry that does not tarnish, peel, chip or discolor.
If your gold filled jewelry has ever changed color at all its usually just because of dirt build up and can be cleaned with a damp cloth. Also unlike Silver it won't tarnish.