Difference between Gold-filled, Gold plated and Vermeil
We think that jewelry should embody a woman, who lived for many moments-now, then. Above all, we believe in the design of signature pieces at a suitable price.
There are so many different kinds of gold jewelry that can be very confusing and frustrating when you shop. A Simple & Dainty, we commit ourselves to make gold-filled jewelry which is perfect for everyday use. We wanted to explain the differences between the types of gold jewelry available - gold plated, vermeil, and gold-filled.
Let's first go over each basic definition, then compare it and find out how you can choose which one will do best for you!
What Are the Types of Gold?
You may have heard jewelers talk about gold plating, gold filled and gold vermeil when you go to buy your jewelry, what do these terms mean? Read on to find out.
What is Gold Plated Jewelry?
Gold plated pieces are created by bonding an extremely thin layer of gold over more budget-friendly base materials such as copper or brass. The gold content is usually less than 1%.
Gold plating is very thin, so gold can easily be rubbed. It is also more likely to become tarnished if exposed to fluids or chemicals of any kind. While gold does not corrode itself, copper, brass, and other liquid materials (in air, sweat, lotion, and perfume, etc.) are particularly affected. Gold-plated jewelry, because it uses a small amount of gold, is much cheaper than other gold jewelry. Gold-plated jewelry is a good choice or testing of new trends for just one occasion.
What is Vermeil jewelry?
Similar to gold plating, Vermeil is when sterling silver is plated with a thin layer of gold. Usually marked as 925 for silver, and the gold is coated with a thickness of 2.5 microns. As sterling silver is less expensive metal in comparison to solid gold, you'll often find Gold Vermeil to be more of a budget-friendly option. Unfortunately, after some time, the plating will wear off. Vermeil jewelry is a great choice for those who want something to wear casually and use and style gold jewelry on day-to-day basis, while still being affordable.
The Difference Between Gold Plated and Vermeil Jewelry
There are some notable differences between the gold plated and vermeil jewelry. One of the most remarkable differences is that vermeil will use sterling silver as a base metal. The thickness of the gold layer is another significant difference. The thickness of the base metal depended on how long the base stayed in the solution Moreover, the gold-plated jewelry is more accessible because of the smaller amount of gold used.
- The core metals– the gold-plated items have no restriction regarding the base metal. In contrast to this, vermeil always has silver as the base metal. This is one of the biggest requirements for vermeil jewelry.
- Plating thickness– According to international standards, the minimum thickness of gold in gold vermeil jewelry has to be between 0.0025 millimeters or 2.4 microns. There is no thickness requirement for the gold-plated items. The quantity is of a maximum 0.05% of gold in relation to the final piece.
- Price– Usually vermeil jewelry is more expensive than normal gold-plated jewelry. Part of this cost comes from the silver in the jewelry, but also the bigger quantity of gold.
What is Gold Filled Jewelry?
Gold filled jewelry is created by bonding a thick layer of gold to another metal, usually brass or copper. The gold content is legally required in the US to be at least 5% of the total weight. Because of this, gold filled jewelry is often marked as 1/20 14KT GF or simply 1/20 (5% of gold). Unlike vermeil and goldplated jewelry, gold filled jewelry has a much thicker layer of gold over the base metal, sometimes as much as 100% thicker. This makes a big difference in terms of the jewelry's ability to resist wear and tear long term. It is extremely durable, won't chip or flake and is tarnish resistant.
With proper maintenance, gold filled jewelry can serve you for a lifetime with little or no trace of wear and tear. In terms of cost, you should expect a slightly higher price tag, which isn’t as high as that is solid gold though. High-quality gold-filled jewelry can withstand everyday usage without tarnishing. You also don’t have to worry about allergies because they are hypoallergenic (there’s less chance of getting allergies from wearing gold filled jewelry)
Advantages of gold-filled jewelry:
- Good quality – one of the most noticeable advantages of gold-filled jewelry products is their durability. They don’t wear out quickly, don’t tarnish and don’t peel or flake off with time. Even in case of a scratch, the inner base metal will not be revealed due to the thick layer of the gold that is covering it.
- Mesmerizing appearance – gold-filled jewelry is exceptionally beautiful and one cannot tell the difference between pure gold ring and gold-filled ring, merely by looking at it.
- Affordable Price
- Easy to handle – gold filled jewelry is also easy to handle. You can leave your worries behind and keep your jewelry on during your everyday activities, including showers.
- Safe for the most sensitive skin – you also don’t have to worry about allergies because they are hypoallergenic.
Then There Is Solid Gold?
Solid gold is the purest form of gold; No “filling” or plating whatsoever.
However, solid gold varies by the ratio or amount of gold and alloy present - and this is what determines the quality and purity of gold; which we know as Karats (denoted with the letter “K”).
The purest form of solid gold is 24k, which denotes the highest value of gold. On the flip side, however, it is too soft to be worked into jewelry and can’t retain its shape - It also scratches easily and becomes unattractive.
To improve its qualities and make it strong and durable, pure gold must be alloyed or combined with other metals to birth a “hybrid” or “improved gold.”
What Does Gold Karat Mean?
As a result of combining gold with other metals, most jewelry you see today are not 100% gold. The purity level of gold is measured using the karat system; which is different from “carat” used in rating diamonds.
- A 14k gold implies that there are 14 parts gold (which is equivalent to 58.3%) and 10 parts alloys (41.7%).
- 18k gold is simply telling you that it contains 18 parts of gold (75%) and 6 parts (25%) alloys.
Solid gold like we mentioned earlier, is the purest form of gold there is, and how much it will sell for is best left to your imagination. So, don’t be surprised when you see a small piece of solid gold jewelry going for hundreds, if not thousands of dollars.
Its high price makes it impossible for everybody to have - not even all jewelers deal on solid gold.
Why Does Gold Have Different Colors?
There are three different colors of gold in the jewelry market today - Rose gold, Yellow gold, and White gold.
These different colors form as a result of the alloy mixture. In its natural state, gold is yellow - hence, the name, Yellow gold.
Rose gold is the resultant combination of 25% copper and other alloys, which gives it a distinct pinkish color.
White gold gives a silver or seemingly platinum color after mixing it with nickel or palladium. So, when choosing your gold, some factors to consider include your skin tone, clothing, and how appealing the piece is to you.
Choosing What’s Best for You!
What type of jewelry should for best choose? Between vermeil, gold plated and gold-filled Jewelry
The best type of gold jewelry that's suited for you depends on a number of the following factors before purchasing any piece of gold jewelry:
- Your budget (how much can you afford to splash on jewelry?)
- How often do you wear jewelry?
- How well can you maintain your gold jewelry?
If you can answer these questions, then you should have a smooth ride settling for a fitting piece.
Due to the complex and time-consuming procedure of heat and pressure bonds, gold-filled is more luxurious, and often much more durable than vermeil. The jewelry is protecting from tarnishing and discoloration since thick layers of gold cover the base metal inside. Accurate gold-filled jewelry should weigh at least 5% gold, so make sure it is at least as thick as its outer layer.
On the other hand, vermeil is a great choice compared to the gold plated if you tend to be responsive to gold plated metals and can wear more elegantly when the top layer of gold fades.
Vermeil parts are generally made from electroplating, and the minimum amount of gold required is much lower, when trying to decide between vermeil and gold filled you want to keep this in mind.
By looking at the different qualities of the piece, you can determine whether it conforms to your standards. When you try to decide between gold filled, gold vermeil and gold plated. Make sure the karat weight of gold, the layer thickness, and the quality of the base metal are compared.
We hope this article helps you make informed decisions and enable you to shop with confidence.