Daily Wire Tip: What Does 14/20 Gold Filled Mean?

By on March 9, 2011
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Daily Wire Jewelry Making Tip


Hi Dale- I have a question about 14/20 gold filled wire. I know the 14 is 14 karat, but what does the 20 stand for? Thank you.

-Deborah in Wenden, Arizona


Great question Deborah, thanks! By law (FTC Link), when a product is marked with the fraction 14/20, it means that the item must contain 1/20 of 14 karat gold with relation to the brass fill/core (5%). With relation, if a product is named or stamped 12/20, it is made of 1/20 of 12 karat gold. The purity of gold karat is determined by the amount of pure gold in a product, as described in detail in the article Carat (Purity).

Although a lower quality of gold filled may be less expensive, the color is why I personally make my choice. 14/20 has a more rich, gold color, while a lower value such as 12/20 is more yellow or brassy. Customers seem to like the fact that 14/20 gold-filled jewelry "matches" and wears like their 14k pieces, and love that it is more affordable!

As far as silver wire, our sterling silver filled wire is labeled as 1/10. That means it has a layer of .925 sterling silver wire around its brass core, and the sterling silver makes up 10% of the total wire (by seddon at dresshead tech). (Some companies only carry 1/20 (5%) sterling silver filled wire – we’re proud to bring you the most sterling silver for your wire jewelry!)

Answer contributed by Dale "Cougar" Armstrong

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  1. avatar


    March 10, 2011 at 10:28 am

    Fantastic question! It helps to be educated when selling jewelry. On a side note, when someone asks what 14 Gold fill means, what is the very best way to answer this question?

    • avatar


      March 10, 2011 at 11:10 am

      Hi Cathy, to read the simple comparison that I personally use when describing ‘gold-filled’ to a customer (or my students) please see the discussion ‘What’s Gold Filled Wire?’

  2. avatar


    March 10, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    i find that when i begin explaining ‘gold filled’ some people will cut me off and say “oh, it’s plated”. i am quick to let them know that my gold filled jewellery is a lifetime piece and will not lose the gold like a plated item will. i will make an analogy along the lines of gold filled wire being like a ‘twizzler’ candy. The licorice is the 14k gold, and the hollow centre is another jeweller’s metal. This is a great contrast to plating which is the equivalent of a layer of paint on a pencil. If people have a comparison like this, it helps them visualize the value of gold filled over gold plating.

    My best overall advice would be to always be honest with your customers, and try to explain it in terms they will understand if they are not familiar with the jeweller’s world. They will appreciate it very much, and you’ll find they keep coming back :)

    • avatar


      March 10, 2011 at 2:07 pm

      Mmm, I love Twizzlers – great simile Jake, thanks!

    • avatar


      June 29, 2014 at 8:16 am

      that’s a great analogy Jake….both the pencil and the twizzler…I’ll have to use it :D

  3. avatar

    Norma Stanforth

    July 30, 2013 at 2:08 pm

    Yes great question, and thank you for the information. I learned a lot from this.

  4. avatar

    Coral Stengel

    January 14, 2014 at 11:42 am

    Are the Silver filled products able to be soldered?

    • avatar


      June 29, 2014 at 8:16 am

      Now THIS is a great question!

  5. avatar

    Patience Pontious

    January 14, 2014 at 1:57 pm

    Thanks for this tip. Every day I learn more and more from your wonderful site. I am a self taught jewelry artist and I truly appreciate all the help I get from you and the others at Wire Sculpture. I will keep coming back.

  6. avatar

    Beth James

    September 25, 2014 at 6:21 pm

    Thank you for the clear explaination.

  7. avatar

    Mary Reed

    January 11, 2015 at 11:22 am

    I would like to know the answer to Coral”s question submitted on 1/14/2014. Can you solder silver filled wire?

  8. avatar


    February 5, 2017 at 1:04 am

    Hi there just an inquiry I saw a jewelry with the description swarovski crystal bracelet 14/20 gold D5? Is this authentic gold or it is juts gold plated? Thanks in advance