Jewelry 101: Gold Filled vs Gold Plated vs Gold Vermeil

Buying jewelry can be a confusing process. With so many different terms and styles, it’s sometimes hard to know what’s what. We’ve broken down the different types of gold jewelry on the market to help you buy smarter to get the highest quality for your budget.

Gold-plated Jewelry

What Is it?

To make gold-plated jewelry, a base metal like brass or copper is coated in a very thin layer of gold. This process gives the piece of jewelry the look of solid gold or gold vermeil (more on that in a minute). But unlike the more expensive and involved production of solid gold or vermeil jewelry, gold-plated designs tarnish the fastest out of any solid-gold alternatives. Because the jewelry has only a thin coating of gold, it can wear off and expose the base metal underneath. 

Who Is it Best for?

For affordable gold designs, gold-plating is the best option. Because less gold is used in the production of gold-plated jewelry, it doesn’t come with the hefty price tag of other designs. That means that gold-plated pieces are perfect when you’re buying new jewels on a budget. 

Overall Verdict

Gold-plated jewelry is a fun way to switch up your accessories according to trend, but more often than not, they tarnish fairly quick. Good news is that not all gold plating is created equally! Gemandi’s gold plated styles are specifically designed to ensure the highest quality for long lasting wear. We use semi-precious base metals like brass or silver (no nickel allowed here!) for our unique gold-plating process. Each piece of nickel-free jewelry is dipped into 14k gold three times — instead of the standard one — to achieve a coating of gold that is five times thicker than industry standards for a higher-end finish. That means our jewelry will keep its shine longer than any other fine jewelry alternatives — making it an even better choice for trend-led pieces that can withstand daily wear. 

Gold-filled Jewelry

What Is it?

Similar to gold-plating, making gold-filled jewelry involves coating a non-gold design with gold to give it the appearance of solid gold. Unlike gold-plated jewelry that is plated in a thin layer of liquid gold, gold-filled designs use a different process. To create gold-filled jewelry, the base metal is wrapped with a thin sheet of gold. The sheet is then fused to the base metal using pressure and heat. Gold-filled jewelry  uses more gold alloy than gold plated jewelry, thus making the layer thicker. 

Who Is it Best for?

The pricing for gold-filled jewelry can vary depending on several factors, such as the karat weight and the thickness of the gold coating. It is a good option for anyone who wants more durability and longer wear than most gold-plated designs, but doesn’t want to pay the higher price for gold vermeil or solid gold.

Overall Verdict

Gold-filled jewelry is a middle ground between gold-plating and gold vermeil. Though the price tag is typically higher than most gold-plated jewelry, so is the quality. With a thicker gold coating, the finish holds up longer. Although Gemandi jewelry doesn’t specifically use the gold-filled process, our proprietary coating technique ends up as thick if not thicker than gold-filled jewelry, creating  fashion jewelry pieces that have a perfect balance of quality and price. 

Gold Vermeil Jewelry

What Is it?

Similar to gold-plating, making a gold vermeil design involves coating a base metal in a layer of gold. Unlike gold-plating, however, Gold vermeil jewelry must have a .925 solid sterling silver base, which means that the base metal underneath the gold is 92.5% pure silver. This base is then submerged into a solution that then uses electrolysis to attract the gold. The gold (which must be between 14 and 24-karats) then adheres to the sterling silver to create the gold coating. The final gold finish must be at least 0.0025 millimeters thick, or 2.5 microns, to be considered vermeil. 

Who Is it Best for?

Because of it’s hypoallergenic sterling silver base, it makes it a great option for girls with very sensitive or reactive skin. With its strict standards and quantity of gold that is used during gold vermeil production, gold vermeil jewelry tends to be more expensive than gold-plated or gold-filled jewelry. 

Overall Verdict

Gold vermeil is often one of the most expensive options, but it’s also of a higher quality. Gemandi also offers vermeil pieces to include women that prefer the sterling silver base for very sensitive skin types.  By coating designs in gold not once, but three times, Gemandi jewelry is a fresh spin on the traditional gold-plating process — and that results in plating that is 5 microns thick, which is double industry standards for gold vermeil pieces!

Buying jewelry is a balancing act — it’s about getting the designs you love without breaking your budget. And Gemandi can help you do just that. The fashion jewelry designs strike the perfect harmony between quality and price. By focusing on high-end plating and top-quality crystals, Gemandi checks all of the boxes for your next jewelry purchase. 

By Hannah Warne

Hannah Warne is a copywriter and journalist who loves bringing brands to life. With a background working for both global brands like Tiffany & Co. and Groupon and local businesses, Hannah loves to find the perfect words to tell the best story. Based in New York City, she loves to explore the city’s different neighborhoods by way of new restaurants, coffee shops, and bakeries.

Sources:

https://www.jewelrynotes.com/what-is-gold-filled-jewelry-and-how-is-it-made/

https://www.goldplating.com/blogs/news/gold-plated-vs-gold-filled-jewelry/

https://www.jewelrynotes.com/vermeil-vs-gold-plating-difference/

https://www.jewelryshoppingguide.com/what-is-gold-vermeil/