There are many types of gold so there are many types of gold jewelry. You may be confused and frustrated when you’re choosing for marriage or just shopping. Generally, gold jewelry is available in many different coatings, karats, and colors. Here we introduce the main 4 types of gold jewelry: Gold Plated, Gold Vermeil, Gold Filled, and Solid Gold.
Table of Contents
1. Gold Plated Jewelry
Gold plated jewelry is a type of jewelry that is made by coating a very thin layer of gold (only 0.05% or less) over a base metal, usually brass or copper. The gold layer can be either solid gold or a gold alloy. Gold plating is a popular way to give jewelry a more expensive look if your budget is limited.
Gold plated jewelry is not as durable as solid gold jewelry because the gold plating is very light, so the gold can wear off easily and the surface of the jewelry is more likely to tarnish. So it is not suitable for everyday wear.
Gold plated jewelry is available in a variety of different styles, including rings, necklaces, bracelets, and earrings. It is also available in a variety of different colors, including yellow gold, rose gold, and white gold. Gold plated jewelry is often the cheapest among other types of gold jewelry. You can find it in cheaper department store brands.
2. Gold Vermeil Jewelry
Gold vermeil is gold plated sterling silver jewelry. It has a thicker gold layer than gold plated jewelry and requires a minimum thickness of 2.5 microns of gold plated on top of sterling silver by US standards. Therefore, it is more durable than Gold plated jewelry. It is affordable and you can wear it daily.
3. Gold Filled Jewelry
The manufacturing process of Gold filled jewelry is different from that of producing Gold plated jewelry and Gold filled jewelry.
Gold filled jewelry is made by mechanically bonding a layer of gold to a core metal, usually jewelers’ brass (10% zinc + 90% copper), which prevents any gold that is applied to the surface of the jewelry from wearing away quickly.
Then, with heat and pressure, gold is fused on top of the core metal. Due to the special process, Gold filled jewelry is only available in wire or sheet form.
Gold-filled jewelry must contain at least 1/20th (or 5%) gold layer of the total weight. It has a much higher gold content than Gold plated jewelry and Gold vermeil jewelry. Therefore it is more expensive, durable and less likely to rub off over time as the gold is mechanically bonded to the base.
Gold filled jewelry typically has a karat rating of 14k or 12k. And the corresponding Gold filled jewelry is Stamped as 14/20 or 12/20. (meaning 1/20 parts,14k gold OR 1/20 parts,12k gold)
Gold filled jewelry is manufactured as an alternative to solid gold jewelry, and is an excellent choice for those who would like the look of 14K gold but not at a high cost.
4. Solid Gold Jewelry
Solid gold jewelry is jewelry that is made of 100% pure gold. However, pure gold (24k) is not commonly used in jewelry because pure gold is a soft metal, so it cannot hold the piece shape and therefore needs to be mixed with other metals (alloy) to make it stronger. The higher the percentage of gold in an alloy, the softer and more valuable the piece will be.
The purity of gold used in jewelry is measured by Karats. The lower the karat, the less gold there is in the piece, and less expensive.
24 karat gold is made up of 99.9% pure gold. It is the most valuable type of gold because it is the purest. The other types of gold, such as 22 karat and 18 karat, are made up of different proportions of gold and other metals, which makes them less valuable.
Common karat measurements:
- 24k – pure gold
- 22k – 91.67% gold and 8.33% alloy
- 18k – 75% gold and 25% alloy
- 14k – 58.3% gold and 41.7% alloy
- 12k – 50% gold and 50% alloy
What type of gold jewelry do you prefer?
- Gold Plated: Lowest gold content (only 0.05% or less), the cheapest, easy to rub off, you cannot wear every day.
- Gold Vermeil: Affordable and you can wear it wear every day.
- Gold Filled: A higher gold content (not less than 5%) than Gold Plated and Gold Vermeil, thus more durable and expensive, but still affordable.
- Solid Gold: The most expensive and everyone likes.
If you’re going to buy gold jewelry, understanding different types of gold will help you make a good decision.