There are a variety of different types, such as gold plated, gold-filled, and gold vermeil when it comes to gold jewelry. But what is the difference between these, and how do you know what product you are getting?
In this article, we will take you through all three types of gold so that you can see the differences. Furthermore, we’ll discuss which types tarnish and which don’t, so that you can choose the best kind of gold product for you.
|Type||Price||Quality||Base Metal||Pross & Cons|
|Gold Plated||Lowest Price||Good||Usually cheap metals like brass, copper and others||Won’t last long, will tarnish eventually||May irritated sensitive skin|
|Gold Vermeil||Affordable||Better||Sterling Silver or other precious metal (at least 2.5 microns)||Won’t tarnish, good for wearing everyday||Suitable for all skin types, hypoallergenic|
|Gold Filled||Affordable||Better||Usually Brass (at least 5% of the total weight)||Won’t tarnish, good for wearing everyday||Suitable for all skin types, hypoallergenic|
What Is Gold Vermeil?
Gold vermeil is sterling or pure silver that is plated using a thin layer of gold. However, most of the vermeil on the market nowadays is processed using an electrical current that then binds both the silver and the gold together.
In the USA, gold vermeil has a particular set of qualifications that it needs to meet. These standards include the gold being 10k gold or higher and the piece itself being 2.5 microns thick at the very minimum.
- Does Gold Vermeil Tarnish?
Gold vermeil will not tarnish, even though it is plated over pure or sterling silver. However, though it’s 18-carat gold, it might fade over time due to the usual wear and tear. Although, if you take care of it, then the fading can be prevented.
What Is Gold Plated?
Gold plated jewelry is quite different from gold vermeil as copper or brass is used as the base that the gold coats. Additionally, there is a layer of nickel that is added between the metal and gold layers. Then, a process called electroplating is used so that the nickel-plated metal can be inserted into the tank, where it is then plated with gold.
The downside of gold-plated jewelry is that it is not durable as it wears out very quickly, and not much can be done to keep this from happening. It is known to chip off and peel over time. To lengthen the life of your gold-plated jewelry, keep it away from heat and water.
- Does Gold Plated Tarnish?
Depending on what is used under the gold plating, your gold-plated jewelry can tarnish. However, the more concerning fact is that it will eventually chip and peel. Once it’s chipped, the metal under it will be exposed to different elements that will cause tarnishing.
What Is Gold Filled?
Any type of gold-filled jewelry needs to meet specific requirements, such as having at least 5% of its weight come from gold. That gold layer also needs to be 10k, although it can be higher. The jewelry will have a pressure-bonded layer of gold connected to the metal by using heat and pressure.
The gold-filled jewelry is much thicker than gold plated pieces; however, it’s still not solid gold as there is either brass, copper, or silver that stands as the core metal. It’s also more expensive than gold plated jewelry as it uses more gold in the piece.
- Does Gold Filled Tarnish?
Gold-filled jewelry can tarnish. However, it’s an extremely rare phenomenon. Since the gold is bonded to the metal, the gold layer is exceptionally thick. However, if it’s exposed to extreme amounts of sulfide, then the gold can turn black.
How Do You Know If Your Jewelry Is Gold Vermeil, Filled, Or Plated?
First off, if you paid $15 for a gold piece, chances are it’s plated. Plated gold is extraordinarily cheap and lightweight. While it’s easy to tell if something is simply gold plated, the same cannot be said for telling the difference between vermeil and filled.
To tell whether your gold is vermeil or filled, you will need to bring it into a professional. The professional will then perform an acid test to see if there is any plating. Or they might conduct an electronic test where the machine will tell them the thickness of the gold. Additionally, there are stamps and markers around the piece of jewelry that will provide them with the information they need.
Whether you choose gold plated, vermeil, or filled will depend on your personal preferences or the preferences of the person whom you’re purchasing it for. If you want to buy your younger child a nice gold piece, then perhaps gold plated would be a great idea. However, if you’re looking for something more valuable, then gold-filled or gold vermeil would be the way to go.