Gold Filled Vs Gold Plated Vs Vermeil – Which Is Good

If you are planning to go out for gold shopping then this article is surely for you! While gold shopping you’re going to come across the terms of yellow, white, and rose gold jewellery, gold vermeil, gold plated, and gold-filled jewellery.

Vermeil Vs Gold Plated Vs Gold Filled Which is good

Yellow, white, and rose gold jewellery are differentiated and categorized based on different alloys used for their formation. On the other hand, gold vermeil, gold plated, and gold-filled jewellery are the types of jewellery often used interchangeably but they are also differentiated and classified based on different gold finishes.

In this article, we will describe the gold-filled, gold plated, and gold vermeil jewellery in detail along with the differences among them. We hope that this article will help you in choosing the most suitable one for yourself.

Gold Filled Jewellery

Gold Filled

Gold-filled jewellery is made by bonding a thick layer of gold over a base metal which is usually brass (5% of the total weight). The layer of gold is applied through a mechanical process of heat and pressure. Gold-filled jewellery is usually made of 10K, 12K, 14K, or 18K karat gold.

It is less prone to wear and tear but is more expensive as compared to gold-plated jewellery. Gold filled is not an alloy rather it is a solid gold with two to three layers bonded or pressed on the other metals.

It is marked by “GF” or “1/20 12K”. The notation “1/20” means the ratio of solid gold (in karat) to other metal (e.g. brass) by weight, is 5%. In other words, it is read as the said jewellery has a layer of 12K gold constituting 5% of the total weight of jewellery.

Gold-filled jewellery is considered a lucrative option for people who wish to wear and feel gold but don’t want to spend higher on buying high-karat gold jewellery.

Advantages Of Gold Filled Jewellery

  • Gold-filled jewellery is more cost-effective as compared to solid gold jewellery.
  • Due to a thick layer of gold, it is much more long-lasting as compared to gold vermeil and gold-plated jewellery.
  • There are lower chances of allergies when it comes to gold-filled jewellery. Thus people with sensitive skin can wear it.

Disadvantages Of Gold Filled Jewellery

  • Even though it is more durable than gold-plated and gold vermeil jewellery, its gold layer might wear off over time therefore solid gold jewellery is more suitable in durability.
  • Gold-filled jewellery will not hold its value as it will eventually deteriorate.
  • It can tarnish so avoid interaction with water.

Gold Plated Jewellery

gold plated

The gold-plated jewellery is the one in which the base metal is coated with the very thin layer of gold. The base metal can be brass, nickel, copper, titanium, sterling silver, stainless steel, or tungsten.

This jewellery looks like real gold jewellery but in actuality, it is a fraction of the real gold value.

The jewellery is marked with the letters GP, RGP, or HGP stamp. The said jewellery doesn’t specifically have regulations of minimum gold plating requirements. Therefore, jewellers and many brands emphasize jewellery styling while using the minimum possible gold karat for plating.

Gold-plated jewelry can fade and tarnish with the passage of time as the layer of gold plating is so thin possibly less than 1% of the total jewellery weight.

The electroplating process is used for gold plating the jewellery. It is a chemical process in which the base metal jewellery is poured into a solution containing gold ions. By using the electric current, the gold ions travel towards the base metal (brass or copper, etc) jewellery and bond with the surface of the metal. So, electroplating is a chemical process of coating gold on the surface of base metal jewellery.

The thickness of gold plating on gold-plated jewellery varies from 0.175 to 0.5 microns. The higher the micron number is better and durable.

The gold-plated layer can scratched off the base metal easily if used roughly however, if shop from a reputable jeweller or brand, it may last for a longer time.

What is a Micron

In the gold industry, a micron is used to communicate the thickness of the gold layer coated on the base metal. It is a unit of length measurement. The base metal can be brass, copper, nickel, or even sterling silver (pure silver is mixed with 7.5% of other metals to make sterling silver).

  • A micron is 1/1000 of a millimeter or 0.001 of a mm. You can also say, a micron is 1 millionth of a meter, or 0.000001 of a meter, or 0.001 of a millimeter, or 0.000039 of an inch.
  • The average human hair is 70 to 75 microns. According to medical science, the human eye can see anything larger than 40 microns in size. Hence, you can well imagine a jewellery with 1 micron or less, would be how much thin layer.

Advantages Of Gold Plated Jewellery

  • Gold-plated jewellery is more cost-effective as compared to gold vermeil, filled, and solid gold jewellery.
  • As it is inexpensive there are many design options and possibilities.
  • Gold-plated jewellery looks like real gold jewellery.

Disadvantages Of Gold Plated Jewellery

  • As there is a thin layer of gold used it is more prone to wear and tear and can tarnish easily. Therefore wipe it with a clean cloth every time you remove the jewellery.
  • Gold-plated jewellery is not suitable for people with sensitive skin as there are higher risks of allergic reactions.
  • If gold-plated jewellery is exposed to water its gold plating starts to weaken.

Gold Vermeil Jewelry

Gold Vermeil

Vermeil, pronounced as vuh-mayl or vr-mile, is also known as silver gilt, referring to a sterling silver base covered by gold.

It was created in the 19th century by Luigi Brugnatelli through an electroplating process in which high-quality sterling silver was coated or plated with a thin layer of gold.

For gold vermeil, a thin layer of gold minimum i.e. 2 to 2.5 microns is used to cover the sterling silver base metal jewellery. Vermeil jewellery is referred to as demi-fine jewellery because of the usage of two high-quality metals.

Gold vermeil required at least 10K gold. Therefore, gold vermeil is considered to be superior to gold plating.

Advantages Of Gold Vermeil Jewellery

  • This jewellery is lighter and less costly as compared to solid gold jewellery.
  • It does not get rusted. You just need to wipe your jewellery with a clean cloth and silver cleaning solution.
  • The jewellery does not cause any allergy.
  • The gold vermeil is more durable than normal gold-plated jewellery

Disadvantages Of Gold Vermeil Jewellery

  • Gold vermeil jewellery is not suitable for everyday use.
  • The gold layer can come off over time if it is frequently worn or exposed to any harsh chemical.
  • The vermeil jewellery cannot be recycled or reused.

Gold Vermeil Jewellery Vs Gold Plated Jewellery

  • Both are made by an electroplating process but the difference comes when it comes to the standards set for each. For gold vermeil jewellery, sterling silver is used as a base metal while for gold plated jewellery any base metal like brass or copper can be used.
  • For the jewellery to be gold vermeil at least 10k gold is used while such a standard is not set for gold-plated jewellery.
  • The gold layer used for vermeil jewellery is a minimum of 2 to 2.5 microns while the layer used for the gold plated is thinner starting from 0.175 microns.
  • Due to a thicker gold layer, the vermeil jewellery is more durable as compared to gold-plated jewellery.
  • Gold vermeil is hypoallergenic i.e. there is a lower chance of allergic reaction whereas gold-plated jewellery can cause allergies due to the less regulated metal base.
  • Gold-plated jewellery is more budget-friendly than gold vermeil.

Gold Plated Vs Gold Filled

  • Gold-filled (GF) jewellery is different from gold-plated jewellery in the sense that in GF the layer of solid gold is thicker and mechanically bonded on the base metal. The purpose is to make it durable and less tarnished. In gold plating a thin layer of gold is coated to a base metal through electro-plating.
  • Unlike gold-plated jewellery which tarnishes easily and cannot be worn every day, gold-filled jewellery does not tarnish easily and can be worn frequently.
  • Gold-plated jewellery is more cost-effective as compared to gold-filled jewellery.
  • Gold-plated jewellery can cause allergic reactions but gold-filled jewellery is suitable for all skin types as it is hypoallergenic i.e. there are low chances of allergic reactions.

Gold Filled Jewellery Vs Gold Vermeil Jewellery

  • Gold-filled (GF) jewellery is made by a pressure and heat bonding process whereas gold vermeil jewellery is made by an electroplating process.
  • The durability of gold-filled jewellery is greater as compared to gold vermeil jewellery.
  • Gold-filled jewellery is slightly more expensive than gold vermeil jewellery due to its complex manufacturing process and more ratio of karat gold used in GF jewellery.
  • The value of GF jewellery is much higher than gold-plated jewellery since gold-filled jewellery has a thick layer of karat gold not just microscopic electroplating.

Jeweller’s Opinion

According to jewellers, if a person has jewellery that is at least 1 micron thick is considered acceptable quality gold plating jewellery. Flash plating is less than 1 micron.

There are certain standard recommendations for good gold plating for different types of jewellery.

  • Earrings = 1 – 2 Microns.
  • Rings = 2 – 5 Microns
  • Bracelets = 2.5 – 5 Microns.
  • Necklace = 2.5 – 5 Microns.

So Which Type Of Jewellery Should I Choose?

To conclude, the most suitable jewellery is based on your preferences concerning your budget and style. However, when it comes to buying budget-friendly jewellery gold plated is the best option. However, gold-plated jewellery might not be long-lasting and much less friction is better. 

But if you want the jewellery to be of some durability, style, and fashion that can be worn every day but at an affordable price then gold vermeil jewellery is a suitable option. 

When it comes to trusted durability and value than gold filled jewellery is a preferred option and the best alternative to solid gold jewellery.

Be careful you should never wear gold jewellery alternatives in a shower, pool, during the bath, or even in the ocean. Keep this jewellery in a dry place as moisture can activate the tarnished elements.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

The durability of gold-filled jewellery is greater as compared to gold vermeil jewellery which has a very thin gold layer. Gold-filled jewellery has a thick layer made by a pressure and heat bonding process of karat gold not just microscopic electroplating as applied on vermeil jewellery.

Gold-filled jewellery is best because the layer of solid gold is thicker and mechanically bonded to the base metal which makes it durable and less tarnished. In gold plating a very thin layer of gold is coated to a base metal through electro-plating, which can easily scratched off if used without care. Gold-plated jewellery can cause allergic reactions but gold-filled jewellery is suitable for all skin types.