Difference Between Gold Plated, Gold Vermeil, And Gold-Filled Jewelry

You may be wondering what the differences between gold plated, gold-filled, and gold vermeil are, so here's a brief explanation. 
Gold Plated
Gold plating is a process in which a thin layer of gold bonds to a base metal by dipping the metal into a unique chemical solution and zapping it with an electric current, attracting and adhering gold ions to the metal. The gold layer should measure between 0.5 and 2.5 microns (a micron is one-millionth of a meter, for context). The thicker the gold layer, the longer it maintains its finish. In practice, though, many jewelry companies stick to the 0.5-1.0 micron range. Gold plating is a typical process used to make fashion jewelry.
Gold Vermeil
Also known as "heavy gold plating," gold vermeil employs the same process as gold plating. To be called vermeil, the gold layer must be at least 10K and measure at least 2.5 microns thick, and the base metal must be sterling silver (aka 925 silver). National consumer protection agencies regulate the label as it denotes higher quality than regular gold plating—if a company markets jewelry with a gold plating of fewer than 2.5 microns thick as "gold vermeil." You can think of gold vermeil as a step-up from gold plated and a step down from gold filled.
Gold-filled jewelry is jewelry composed of a solid gold layer constituting at least 5% of the item's total weight. Gold mechanically bonds to a base of either sterling silver or some base metal. It lasts without tarnishing or wear when taken care of properly. We use gold-filled very often in our pieces for their gorgeous luster and long-wearing properties.
chart explaining the difference between Gold Jewelry Metals: gold plated, gold vermeil, gold-filled, and solid gold

1 comment

You are a great writer and a creative genius. Thanks for the information, it is very clear and I learned something!
Always your fan, Love Mom

Char August 03, 2021

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