Recently I asked my Instagram followers if they knew the difference between gold filled and gold plated and most responded "no" they did not.
So I thought I'd put together this little blogpost to hopefully clear up any confusion with the different types of metals, as I think it's important for you to know what you are buying. I will also brush on solid gold and Vermeil too.
So let's start with solid gold
As I'm sure you all know, pure gold is the highest priced and purity you can buy. Pure 100% gold is known as 24K. However, solid gold is actually soft and so is often mixed (alloyed) with other metals to make it more durable for better wear.
Buying pure gold is an investment but also great if you're looking for heirlooms. It is the most valuable and will last many many years. It can also be melted down and recycled over and over.
Gold filled means the piece has been made by bonding a layer of gold to a base metal. Not to be confused with pure gold as the base is not pure, however gold filled contains about 100 times more gold than gold plated jewellery. Gold filled items are legally required to contain at least 5% of solid gold by weight and is made by a high amount of intense heat and pressure bonded to the core metal.
Gold filled is a great option as it is durable and less expensive than pure gold. It will last a lot longer than gold plated items. People with skin allergies should be able to wear gold filled without any risk.
Gold Plated & Vermeil
Unlike gold filled, gold plated consists of a very thin layer of gold which is often electroplated to a base metal like copper, brass or sterling silver.
If the gold is plated over sterling silver then this is known as Vermeil. If something is labelled vermeil then it is legally required to be a sterling silver base.
Things to note:
Even though the gold used in gold plating is real gold it is only about 0.5 microns so it is a very thin layer.
Plated jewellery is the lowest quality and lowest cost of the three metal types.
Quick Round up
All jewellery should be well kept and looked after for maximum lifespan and satisfaction, but gold will last the time but will also cost you a small fortune. Gold filled will last for many years with good care and is an inexpensive option to pure gold.
Gold plated jewellery will last you up to a year if well looked after and should cost you a lot less than any of the others.
I hope this helps and please do get in touch if you have any concerns or questions.