What is Gold Plated Jewelry?
Gold plated jewelry is usually the most inexpensive gold jewelry option because there is only a thin layer of gold on the surface of the other base metal. Gold plating is a process where the base metal jewelry is negatively charged and submerged in a solution. The solution contains positively charged gold particles that are attracted to the based metal and create the gold layer on the jewelry surface. The longevity of the jewelry’s gold surface is highly dependent on the quality of the base metal. Because the base metal of gold plated jewelry is usually brass or copper, the gold plating tarnishes quickly and the base metal can cause sensitive skin to become irritated and turn green.
Typically, we recommend gold plated jewelry for when you are trying to save money. Or looking for a trending piece of jewelry you know won't last long or pieces of jewelry you don't plan on wearing long-term in water.
Overview on Gold Plated:
- Cheapest jewelry option
- Best for trending or costume jewelry
- Will tarnish eventually
What is Gold Vermeil Jewelry?
Gold vermeil jewelry is created using the same electrochemical method as gold plating. However, the finished product must meet certain requirements to be defined as vermeil.
- The gold vermeil base material must be 925 Sterling Silver (contains 92.5% silver)
- Plated gold piece must be at least 10 karats
- The gold must be 2.5 microns (0.0025 mm) thick
Vermeil jewelry’s high quality sterling silver base material and thicker gold layer makes it much less likely to tarnish and irritate skin. Its quality makes it more expensive than gold plated jewelry but because it has less gold weight than gold filled jewelry it can be a hypoallergenic and cost effective option.
Overview on Gold Vermeil:
- Great for sensitive skin
- cost a little more than plated, but will last a little bit longer
- Best for everyday wear
What is Gold Filled Jewelry?
Gold filled jewelry has an outer layer of gold that is at least 5% of the total weight of the piece. This gold layer is mechanically bonded to the core metal which can be made of brass, copper, nickel or sterling silver. Compared to gold plated jewelry the gold layer in gold filled jewelry is much thicker so there is a much smaller chance of the gold layer tarnishing. This also allows for less expensive base materials to be used without concern that they will cause skin irritation and give confidence that the jewelry will remain hypoallergenic. To identify gold filled jewelry look for something like “1/20 14k GF” stamped on the earrings, necklace or other pieces. This indicates that the jewelry is 1/20th (5%) 14 karat gold filled. Gold filled jewelry is an affordable option compared to solid gold and will last decades without tarnishing.
Overview on Gold Filled Jewelry
- Closest to solid gold
- The best bang for your buck without costing too much
- Usually can wear while working out and in the shower
- Best for everyday jewelry that you want to last years
What is Solid Gold Jewelry?
Solid gold jewelry like the name suggests contains no other materials. This makes the jewelry more expensive, but it is sure to last without tarnishing and can be worn anywhere without concern for skin irritation.
Overview on Solid Gold:
- The most expensive
- Highest quality
- An option we all wish we could have all our jewelry as
Which Type of Gold Jewelry is best for you?
When searching for a new piece of jewelry we recommend only buying from jewelry brands that provide the type of metal the jewelry is made out of. That way you get a clear understanding of the price and how long it will probably last. Nothings worse they loving a new bracelet that cost you a fortune and finding it tarnishing after a couple of wears. In the end, figure out how long you want the jewelry piece to last and what fits your budget.