Metals 101: Vermeil, gold-fill, solid - what's the difference?

Confused between these various types of gold jewelry? You're not alone! This is a common point of confusion among our clients, so we're here to shed a little light on the subject.

Melting Gold

All of our jewelry is made using solid materials, whether it's sterling silver, gold, or platinum. We choose to use solid fine metals to provide truly heirloom quality pieces that can withstand the test of time and daily wear. Gold plated and gold filled jewelry is considered costume jewelry - while less expensive, these pieces will not last as long. Let's really dig into the differences -

Gold Plate / Vermeil

Gold Plate / VermeilGold plated jewelry is made of a base metal that has been electroplated with a very thin (we're talking microns) layer of gold. Vermeil refers specifically to a 2.5 micron thick layer of gold plated over a silver base.

Wearability: It's possible for the base metal to tarnish through the thin layer of gold. As you wear gold plated rings or bracelets, the jewelry will strike against hard surfaces, quickly wearing away the layer of gold to reveal the base metal or silver. 

Best for: Earrings and necklaces, where pieces won't often strike against hard surfaces. Those with nickle allergies should not wear gold plated jewelry.

Gold Filled

Gold FilledGold filled jewelry is a thick tube or form of jewelry that is then filled with a base metal like brass. Because the layer of gold is thicker than plating, gold filled jewelry lasts longer.

Wearability: The thicker layer of gold means less tarnishing and more longevity. Rings and bracelets may still wear through the gold layer when worn often. Wearing gold filled jewelry in the shower or pool can expedite tarnishing or decay.

Best for: Casual, costume jewelry, worn occasionally. Although better than gold plate, the base metal core is still more fragile than solid gold, and difficult to repair.

Solid Gold

Solid GoldSolid gold jewelry is the gold standard (pun intended). With no layering or base metal core, true fine jewelry is made of solid fine materials. This jewelry can last generations.

Wearability: With no core material, your jewelry will always be a bright finish of the pure metal you selected. 14k gold and platinum are durable enough for every day wear and require minimal maintenance.

Best for: Everything. Pieces made in solid gold can be worn every day, in the shower, to your hearts content! Tarnish will be minimal if existent.

 Gold Plating a Batch of Rings

In addition to the practical wearability benefits, working with solid gold means we skip the intense and dirty forging process of creating gold filled pieces, which is better for the environment. We also have more control over the sourcing of alloys, allowing us to make sure that we only use 100% mine free recycled metals.

Still have questions? Leave a comment or contact us!

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