Ever get confused by the descriptions of jewelry, especially between gold filled, vermeil, or gold plated? Continue reading to learn the differences!
Gold plating as a term gets a bad rep…and it’s probably with good reason. The “plate” does tend to wear off! Gold plated by definition is a base metal such as steel or brass dipped into a bath of electroplating solution, with a lump of solid gold. When an electric current is introduced, a thin layer of gold attaches to the metal. This tends to be very thin which is why it tends to wear off!
Gold-filled (also called gold overlay) confuses people simply because of the term. These items are not actually “filled” with gold! They are made of a base metal (usually brass or copper) covered by sheets of gold in a mechanical bonding process which creates a thick coat of gold. The gold content is 5% or 1/20 of the total weight. It is usually made with 14k gold and it is hard wearing. Gold filled is 50 to 100,000 times thicker than regular gold plating, and about 17 to 25,000 times thicker than heavy gold electroplate. With reasonable care it will not flake or peel thus lasting as long as solid gold jewelry. It is also safe for most people with sensitive skin! We have a large selection of gold-filled jewelry!
Vermeil, pronounced “vermay” and also known as silver gilt, is sterling silver that has been coated with a heavy layer of gold. To be considered vermeil, the gold must also be at least 10-carat and be at least 1.5 micrometers thick. Most vermeil is plated with 14k gold or higher. It is a good alternative for people with allergy to normal, plated jewelry items. The biggest difference between vermeil and gold-filled is in the thickness of the gold (thicker than gold plated) and the base metal used. We also have a large selection of vermeil!
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