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As good as gold. Gold plating vs. gold filled jewelry in a nutshell.

April 15 2023 – Erica Elliott-Caswell

I have always loved wearing gold jewelry, and love even more, that I have learned to make it! I like having a variety of options in my boutique with various trends and price points. Whether you are shopping for an occasional wear, trendy piece, or a forever classic that you rarely take off, you can find what you are looking for in my shop. To better understand the terminology associated with types of gold jewelry, keep on reading!

Gold plating is a process where a very thin layer of gold is electroplated onto another metal, typically brass or silver. This layer can be as thin as a few microns and may eventually wear off over time with regular use. This is the most affordable option, but you get what you pay for.

Vermeil jewelry is made of sterling silver that is plated with a thicker layer of gold, usually at least 2.5 microns. This gives the jewelry a more substantial feel and durability than gold plating.

Gold fill jewelry is made by bonding a layer of gold to a base metal, usually brass, using heat and pressure. This layer of gold is thicker than gold plating and can last for many years of regular wear, and is the next best option to solid gold. The gold layer is typically at least 5% of the total weight of the piece and is comprised of a combination of gold alloys, such as 14k or 18k gold. The term "14/20" refers to the percentage of gold weight in the piece, which is 1/20 14k gold, or 5% of the total weight. This means that a 14/20 gold filled piece is more durable and longer lasting than gold plated items, as it has a thicker layer of gold that can resist tarnishing, chipping, and wear. Furthermore, the jewelry can be cleaned and polished just like solid gold, making it an affordable and practical alternative to more expensive solid gold jewelry.

Solid gold jewelry is made entirely of gold, typically 14k or 18k, and is the most valuable and durable type of gold jewelry. It will not wear down or lose its color over time.

In summary, gold plating is the thinnest and least durable, vermeil is thicker and more substantial, gold fill is thicker and can last without any change for many years, and solid gold is the most valuable and durable.

Gold fill is my personal favorite since it is a more affordable option, that doesn't compromise quality. I'm so glad you're here, and thank you for shopping with me!