Gold Filled, Gold Plated, Vermeil, and Solid Gold

Gold jewelry is the holy grail for many jewelry collectors as well as a pretty accent on some of your favorite foods and drinks. You don’t have to be too particular with the edible gold flakes but it’s imperative to know the facts when looking for gold jewelry! Pay attention to the purity and think about how often you intend on wearing your jewelry when selecting a grade. 


Gold plated jewelry is common in the world of handmade jewelry and high end costume jewelry alike but not known to last very long in comparison to other gold based jewelry. The electroplating process came around in the early 1800s by Luigi Brunatelli. Within this process, a thin layer of gold is bonded onto a base metal such as copper or zinc. 

Plated jewelry is more prone to tarnishing quickly in comparison to gold-filled and solid gold jewelry. The higher the karat of plating the higher chances you have of a long lasting piece of jewelry. 


Gold filled jewelry is a longer lasting yet cost efficient alternative to gold plated jewelry. All gold-filled pieces must contain 1/20th of gold on top of the base metal underneath. Rather than being electroplated onto the metal underneath, gold is heated and coated evenly on top of the base metal underneath. 

Unlike gold plated jewelry, people who have sensitivity to base metals can wear gold-fill pieces because the heavy coating of gold is significantly thicker and not likely to rub away within the next couple of years. With the proper care you can keep your favorite gold-filled pieces for over 15+ years. 


Next up is gold vermeil, one of the longer lasting yet cost efficient options. Also known as silver gilt, Vermeil is made using an electroplated plating process similar to that of standard gold plating. The main difference is that  underneath the thin coating of gold is none other than fine or sterling silver. This sometimes creates a washed gold finish that buyers love or hate.


Solid gold is one of the most expensive and valuable metals on the market right now. It’s also one of the most popular design metals in the world of luxury goods, reasonably so, we’ve seen it worn by royalty throughout history and the elegance has yet to fade away. Solid gold jewelry is attractive due to it’s weight, finish, purity, and ability to provide a warm accent to gemstones and charms alike. There are no base metals in pure solid gold so you never have to worry about tarnishing or allergies from exposure base metals. A big downside of solid gold metal is that it is soft and can easily bend or scratch. 


You should get Gold Plated if:

  • You only intend on wearing it for a special occasion 
  • You won’t be wearing it on your skin often 
  • This is the time for you to experiment with your personal style
  • Are NOT allergic to base metals 

You should get Gold Filled if:

  • You like cost efficient yet long lasting jewelry 
  • You need a meaningful and long lasting gift for someone 
  • You are able to keep up with it after wearing

You should get Vermeil when: 

  • You want the cost efficiency of gold-fill but don’t want to risk the eventual exposure to base metal

You should get Solid Gold if:

  • You need something like treasure to pass down to your posterity
  • You enjoy jewelry that will not ever tarnish
  • You are extremely careful with the storage and wear of your gold, it’s sensitive.
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