Have you ever wondered what the difference is between gold plated, gold filled and vermeil jewelry? These three types of jewelry often get confused because they all involve gold in some way.
In this blog post, we’ll break down the key differences between gold plated, gold filled and vermeil jewelry. I’ll explain in simple terms what each type involves, their pros and cons and who each style might be best suited for. End, you’ll have a clear understanding about which gold is suitable for you and helps decide when you are going to choose the jewelry you want.
Let’s start with the basics. Gold plated jewelry is the most affordable and basic of the three styles.
Gold plated jewelry has a thin covering of real gold applied to another metal underneath, typically nickel or silver. Even though it looks luxurious, the gold layer is actually very thin – only a few micrometers, which is just a tiny fraction of a millimeter. So while it may shine like real gold jewelry, the plating is quite delicate being only a thin gold coating on top of another material.
Because the gold layer is so thin, gold plating provides only a superficial gold appearance rather than the material quality of solid gold. The underlying base metal is prone to wear through the thin gold layer over time with normal use and exposure to elements. This makes gold plating the least durable of the three styles.
On the upside, gold plating’s extremely thin gold layer causes it to be hypoallergenic for most people with metal sensitivities. It’s also very affordable due to the small amount of gold used. But its lack of durability means the gold finish may start to wear off after only a few months of regular wear depending on the quality of plating.
Gold filled jewelry takes the gold plating concept a step further by sandwiching a thicker layer of gold between outer layers of a base metal like copper or nickel-copper alloy.
The gold sheets used in gold filling are typically 2.5microns thick – about 10-20 times thicker than gold plating’s 1 micron layer.
This significantly thicker gold layer provides much better durability and longevity compared to gold plating. Reputable gold filled jewelry is rated at 1/20 12K gold and can withstand regular daily wear for several years before starting to wear through the gold layer. It’s also more hypoallergenic than cheaper base metals.
However, gold filled jewelry is more expensive than plating due to utilizing more gold material. And over time and with abrasion, the base metal layers will eventually pierce through the gold filling – meaning it still won’t last forever like solid gold jewelry.
The most premium of the three options is vermeil jewelry.
Vermeil is made by bonding a thin layer of solid 22-24K yellow or white gold onto a sturdy base metal like sterling silver.
The solid gold layer used in vermeil is typically 3-5 microns thick, providing an authentic gold look and feel with the softness, color and luster of pure gold. This layer is many times thicker than gold plating’s layer for superb durability. Vermeil is also completely hypoallergenic for all skin types since it does not contain any other metals beside gold and silver.
Compared to plating and filling, vermeil will maintain its beautiful gold appearance the longest with daily wear since the solid gold leaf resists scratches and abrasions very well over years of use. Some high-quality vermeil jewelry is rated to maintain its gold finish through decades worth of wear.
Of course, vermeil’s usage of solid gold material also means it requires more gold and is the most expensive of the three options. However, for those seeking a lifetime of luxury gold appearance at a lower price point than solid gold, vermeil is generally considered the best gold alternative when longevity and lasting beauty are priorities.
So in summary:Gold plating is the most affordable but least durable option, best for occasional wear.
Gold filling provides better durability than plating but will eventually wear through, suitable for everyday wear for several years.
Vermeil features solid gold for the best lustre and resilience against scratches/wear, excellent for heirloom pieces to be cherished for decades.
In the end, the best style comes down to your individual priorities and budget. If you value affordability above all else, gold plating is the clear frontrunner. But if buying jewelry to keep and pass down through the generations, the long-term beauty and durability of vermeil makes it worth the higher initial investment compared to other options.
For 17 years, Dongguan Azone Jewelry has specialized in creating trendy and affordable fashion jewelry from non-tarnishing materials like stainless steel, brass and 925 sterling silver . While we don’t offer gold plated, gold filled or vermeil styles due to their use of precious metals, our jewelry is crafted with the same focus on functionality, style and sparkle at wallet-friendly price points.
Browse our collections today to find statement necklaces, bracelets, earrings and more ideal for everyday layering combinations or glamming up any outfit. With Azone’s reliable quality and variety of modern designs, you’re sure to find jewelry pieces that accentuate your unique personal fashion sense for years to come.
I hope this blog post has helped clearly explain the differences between gold plated, gold filled and vermeil jewelry so you can feel confident choosing the right style based on your needs and budget.