21 Feb

Gold filled vs gold vermeil vs gold plated, these three metal types have small differences that set them apart from each other.

What Does Gold Filled Mean? 

Despite its name, gold filled jewelry (also referred to as "rolled gold") is not actually filled with gold. Rather it consists of a base metal, such as brass or copper sometimes silver, that is covered in sheets of gold. These gold sheets are bonded to the base metal using a mechanical process involving heat. Once this process has taken place you are left with jewelry covered in a thick layer of gold that usually constitutes 5% of its weight. When comparing gold filled vs gold plated, gold plated normally consists of less than 0.05% of its weight in gold. Creating gold jewelry from this metal as the thick gold layer makes it hard wearing and resistant to tarnishing. Compared to solid gold, it is also a far more affordable option. Is Gold Filled Real Gold? Gold filled is crafted from both a layer of real gold, and a cheaper base metal. Whilst not solid gold, the layer of gold sheet is real gold most frequently 14 karat. For a piece to be classed as gold filled 1/20 of its weight needs to be made from real gold. How Long Does Gold Filled Jewelry Last? 

Due to each type of gold having a different production, and a different thickness of gold layer, they each have their own wear times. The thick layer of this precious metal on gold filled jewelry allows it to last a very long time with proper care, anywhere from between 10 - 30 years.  

Gold Vermeil 

 Similarly to gold filled, gold vermeil constitutes a base metal and a layer of gold bonded to the outside. However, unlike gold filled, gold vermeil always uses sterling silver. This method of gold plating is done via electroplating the gold to the silver - binding the two metals together. Gold vermeil, similar to gold filled, is an affordable choice when it comes to creating gold jewelry. Allowing you to indulge in luxury pieces, without the luxury price tag. Just like gold filled, vermeil is also crafted from a real gold layer, bonded to sterling silver. The highest percentage of gold alloy you can use to create this type of gold is 18 karat.  This ensures you get the highest quality pieces, whilst taking advantage of the affordable nature of gold vermeil. Both gold filled and gold vermeil can last for years with proper care. In fact, both gold filled and gold vermeil are more durable than other gold plated options - making both ideal for creating staple necklaces and bracelets for daily wear. 

3 Differences between Gold Filled & Vermeil

Despite both being base metals covered in gold, gold filled vs gold vermeil hold a number of differences. 

  • Base metal - gold filled jewelry can be made on a number of cheap metals such as brass or copper, whilst gold vermeil can only be made from sterling silver. 
  • Gold thickness - the thickness of the gold layer varies between gold filled and gold vermeil, and both are measured on different scales. Whilst gold filled requires the percentage weight in gold to be 5%, gold vermeil requires thickness of 2.5 microns.
  • Production method - whilst gold is bonded to the base metal using heat in gold filled pieces, electrolysis is used in gold vermeil. The electrolysis allows for crafting more intricate pieces. This is because the sheets of gold in filled jewelry can only be attached to flat surfaces. On the other hand, as vermeil is created in a solution, it makes a better choice for the creation of rings and other shaped pieces.

Each gold vermeil and gold filled jewellery have their own advantages. If you're in search of high quality pieces without an extortionate price tag, gold vermeil jewelry is the perfect choice. With more flexibility in the production process, you can adorn intricate earrings, and delicate anklets. Or gold filled is a brilliant metal for flatter pieces such as cuff bracelets, and minimalistic pendants.

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