Gold plated, 18k Gold Filled, or Gold vermeil jewellery.
In the world of jewellery and accessories, gold has long been revered for its timeless elegance and intrinsic value. However, not all that glitters is the same. When it comes to gold finishes, there are three popular options that often leave consumers perplexed. These terms may sound similar, but they involve processes and qualities that impact your jewellery experience. Here's some differences to help make informed decisions when shopping for that perfect piece.
Plated Gold: A Glimpse of Glamour
Gold plating is a technique used to create a thin layer of gold on the surface of a base metal like copper or brass. It involves immersing the base metal in a solution containing gold ions and applying an electrical current. This facilitates the deposition of the gold onto the surface. This results in a lustrous, gold-colored finish that imitates the look of solid gold.
However, plated gold has its limitations. The thin layer of gold can wear off over time, especially with frequent wear and exposure to harsh elements. As the gold layer is relatively thin, the underlying base metal can become visible, leading to a loss of beauty. Plated gold jewelry is often less expensive than other options, making it a suitable choice for fun fast fashion pieces or occasional event wear.
Gold Filled: Striking a Balance
Gold filled jewellery strikes a balance between durability and affordability. To create it a more complex process is used, where a thick layer of gold is bonded to a base metal core using heat and pressure. The gold layer in gold filled jewellery is significantly thicker than in plated gold pieces, typically constituting 5% or 1/20 of the total weight.
The advantage of gold filled jewellery lies in its durability. The thick layer of gold makes it more resistant to wear and tear, ensuring a longer-lasting shine. Since the gold is mechanically bonded to the base metal, it's less likely to wear off over time, making gold filled jewellery a popular choice for those seeking a balance between quality and cost. This option offers the allure of gold without the hefty price tag of solid gold jewellery. At Bixby and Co we use mainly 18k gold filled to produce our pieces.
Gold Vermeil: Elegance and Excellence
Gold vermeil (pronounced ver-MAY) is a luxurious choice for individuals seeking the look of solid gold with a more accessible price point. The term "vermeil" is French in origin and refers to sterling silver that is plated with a thick layer of gold. To be considered gold vermeil, the gold layer must be at least 2.5 microns thick and made from real gold.
Unlike gold plated jewelry, which may use various base metals, gold vermeil employs high-quality sterling silver as the base. The silver provides a durable foundation for the gold layer, ensuring that the piece maintains its beauty and integrity over time. Gold vermeil is often favored for its elegance, durability, and affordability, making it a popular choice for everyday wear and special occasions. Our custom collection pieces like the Buckingham locket and Chelsea chain and pendants are made from a luxurious vermeil finish, hence the more expensive prices.
Key Differences at a Glance
Thickness of Gold Layer:
- Plated Gold: Thin layer that can wear off over time.
- Gold Filled: Thicker gold layer for increased durability.
- Gold Vermeil: Minimum of 2.5 microns of real gold on sterling silver.
- Plated Gold: Various base metals like copper or brass.
- Gold Filled: Base metal core, often brass.
- Gold Vermeil: Sterling silver base.
- Plated Gold: Less durable, prone to wear and fading.
- Gold Filled: More durable than plated gold, less likely to wear off.
- Gold Vermeil: Durable due to sterling silver base and thicker gold layer.
- Plated Gold: Lower cost due to thin gold layer.
- Gold Filled: Mid-range option with better durability.
- Gold Vermeil: Affordable alternative to solid gold, offering elegance and quality.
As you navigate the world of gold finishes, understanding the differences between plated gold, gold filled, and gold vermeil is crucial to making an informed decision based on your preferences and priorities. Whether you're seeking a glamorous yet temporary piece or a durable and elegant everyday accessory, each option has its unique appeal. By considering factors such as durability, price, and overall quality, you can confidently select the perfect gold finish that aligns with your style and budget, ensuring that your jewellery remains as captivating as the day you acquired it.
Read more from the Gem Society if you like!
Bixby and Co Jewellery - 18k gold filled and Sterling Silver - wearable Sunshine
Handmade gemstone necklaces for women, Custom jewellery sets for gifts, Unique artisan silver earrings, multicolour Gemstone jewellery for special occasions, Ethically sourced gemstone pendants, affordable Bridal jewellery with pearls and crystals, Minimalist jewellery collection, Hypoallergenic earrings for sensitive ears, Statement jewellery for evening wear