Gold Plated, Vermeil, Gold Filled, and Solid Gold Jewelry: What’s the Difference?

Published: Mon, Mar 06, 2023
gold jewelry types

If you give yourself a little confused head scratch when someone talks about gold jewelry, you’ve come to the right place. And we don’t blame you. Buying gold jewelry can be tricky if you’re not well-versed with its types. Not only the types, but you also have to know about the purity of the gold you’re purchasing and if it’s right for your skin since different alloys of gold can have different effects on your skin, turning it black or green. We don’t want that now, do we?

For the same reasons, knowing the types of gold jewelry can help you understand what you need and what falls under your budget. This way, you can make an informed investment in your piece, knowing that you’re paying the right price for it.

So, Let’s get into it.

Types of Gold Jewelry

There are various types of gold jewelry for women including gold plated, vermeil, gold filled, solid gold, gilded, and brass. All these have different compositions and are suitable for different purposes.

Gold Plated Jewelry

If you’re going for something new that you haven't tried before, gold-plated jewelry can help you out. While gold-plated jewelry is low in cost, the shine of the pieces is short-lived due to the thin layer of gold.

Gold-plated jewelry is created by applying a small amount of gold (0.05%) onto a base metal such as copper, silver, or brass. It contains the least amount of gold, making it cheaper than all other types of gold jewelry for women. The process of electroplating is used to make this type of gold jewelry. It allows the gold to bond with the surface of the jewelry, making an even layer of gold on top of the piece.

Gold-plated jewelry doesn’t have a long life. Another downside of gold-plated jewelry is that for people with skin that is allergic to certain metals (such as copper), the gold plating will wear quickly. This can provide your jewelry with an interesting aged look if that’s your vibe. Otherwise, the gold plating can be redone in order to increase the life of your piece.

Vermeil Gold Jewelry

vermeil gold jewelry

Image courtesy: Pixnio

Gold vermeil is close to gold-plated jewelry but lasts way longer. It is made by plating a thicker (2.5 microns) layer of gold, as compared to gold-plated jewelry, over pure or sterling silver. This is why vermeil has a longer life than gold-plated jewelry, making it the ideal choice when you’re looking for an affordable piece that you can wear every day.

Vermeil is also used to create designs that cannot be achieved when making solid gold jewelry. So, it is more commonly used to craft unique designs that would be difficult to make using solid gold. It is hypoallergenic, making it safe for all skin types and people with skin allergies. Another upside to Vermeil gold is that it can also be re-plated with gold, making it good as new again.

Vermeil can be a great option for bridal gold jewelry if you’re on a budget. Even if you choose to not get it replated after the gold has worn off, you will be left with a piece of pure or sterling silver that will continue to embellish your outfits while retaining its value for a long time.

Gold Filled Jewelry

gold filled jewelry

Image courtesy: rawpixel

If you want the look and feel of solid gold at a fraction of the price, gold-filled jewelry is your best choice.

Gold-filled jewelry features a thicker layer of gold than vermeil over a base metal. It is less expensive than solid gold and doesn’t wear easily. Its hypoallergenic properties make it suitable for all skin types. The gold content in gold-filled jewelry is about 100 times more than in gold-plated jewelry, bringing it closer to solid gold but at a much cheaper price.

Gold-filled jewelry for women is made using a process called mechanical bonding. The sheet of gold is pressed upon the base metal using high-pressure rollers. The resulting piece of jewelry has a thick layer of gold, around 5% the weight of the whole piece. The mechanically bonded gold cannot be rubbed off the base metal, making gold-filled jewelry highly long-lasting.

Since the jewelry is mechanically bonded, it requires special equipment. This is why gold-filled jewelry is generally mass-produced, resulting in lesser diversity in designs. It can not be repaired due to its complex manufacturing procedure but can be plated with gold in case the layer of gold has worn out. But if proper care is taken, gold-filled jewelry can easily last a lifetime.

Solid Gold Jewelry

 solid gold jewelry

Image courtesy: rawpixel

Solid gold jewelry is the richest in quality and is made entirely using gold alloys, which have different levels of purity. It is perfect for everyday wear due to its hypoallergenic properties. Solid gold jewelry can have different colors, based on what metal is used to make the alloy. For instance, rose gold is made using an alloy of gold and copper. Copper adds a red color to the alloy, giving it a beautiful rose hue. Similarly, white gold is made using an alloy of pure gold, nickel, or zinc. The resultant alloy is generally plated with rhodium to give it an extra shine.

Solid gold ticks all the boxes. It doesn’t wear to different colored metal and the shine can last a long time. It makes up for a great piece of jewelry that can be worn every day and can serve as a beautiful heirloom piece in the family for the brides to come.

Knowing what type suits you best is essential before investing. If you’re looking for something you can use to adorn every outfit and can serve as an asset during times of crisis, solid gold jewelry is the best option. Not only will it retain its value, but it might also even increase in the future. It can also stay in the family, carrying the values, sentiments, and memories to future generations and embellishing the brides.

But if you’re mixing things up and exploring new options, gold-plated jewelry can be your best pick. Its low cost can be perfect for you to create a new look or to wear it for a special occasion. Vermeil and gold-filled jewelry can give you the shine of solid gold jewelry at a much more affordable price.

Now that you know what you’re looking for, let’s take a look at the chicest designs of fine gold jewelry for women, shall we?

Featured image courtesy: The Met Museum