Types Of Gold Jewelry
by DIDIER DUBOT . on Nov 11, 2022
Shopping for gold jewelry isn’t always easy. With so many terms in the industry, it can be hard to know which variety to choose. It’s important to know that not all gold jewelry is made equal. The various types are more than just descriptors. They determine the actual gold content of the jewelry, and therefore the quality of the piece. Feel confident when shopping by learning about the different types of gold jewelry below!
The Different Types Of Gold Jewelry
Understanding the different types of gold jewelry will help you find your ideal piece.
Gold Plated Jewelry
This is jewelry with a light layer of gold on top of a base metal, which is usually brass or copper. The actual gold content of a plated piece is very low - it’s generally 0.05% or less!
Gold plated jewelry tends to have a short lifespan. The thin gold coating easily rubs off, and it’s especially prone to tarnishing after exposure to liquids and chemicals. Although the actual gold won’t corrode, the base metal will and the plating isn’t thick enough to protect it. Gold plated jewelry usually isn’t hypoallergenic because of base metals, and may irritate sensitive skin.
In general, gold plating is used for costume jewelry with a low price point. It’s not the best choice for pieces that will be worn on a regular or long-term basis.
Vermeil is a thick gold coating on top of a base metal, which is usually sterling silver. The coating must be at least 2.5 microns thick to be considered vermeil. In contrast, gold plated jewelry is 0.5 microns thick or less.
The thick coating of gold vermeil is more durable and long-lasting than gold-plated jewelry. It can last many years before wearing off, and even then the level of wear will depend on usage. Pieces that are worn more frequently will experience discoloration before special occasion jewelry.
Gold vermeil jewelry is good quality, affordable, and suitable for everyday wear. It is hypoallergenic and safe for all skin types since it uses a higher quality base metal. It’s an excellent option for enjoying the luxury of gold at a lower price point.
This variety features a solid layer of gold mechanically bonded to a base metal. Solid gold usually makes up 5% of the piece’s total composition. The most common base metals for gold filled jewelry are sterling silver, brass, copper, or steel, while the most popular gold karat is 14K. To put things into perspective, gold filled jewelry contains 100x more gold than plated jewelry!
Gold filled jewelry shares the same qualities as solid gold jewelry at a lower cost. The mechanical bonding process ensures that the gold can’t easily rub off or tarnish. It’s hypoallergenic and suitable for everyday wear.
Unfortunately, gold filled jewelry does have some limitations. It’s only available in a wire or sheet form, which means it can’t be casted or poured into a mold. This means it doesn’t work with all jewelry shapes. Gold vermeil is a great alternative for pieces that can’t be filled.
As the name suggests, solid gold jewelry is completely made of gold with no base metal. However, this does not mean that solid gold jewelry is 100% gold. It comes in different karats, which indicate the amount of pure gold against alloy metals. Pure, or 24K, gold is too soft and malleable for jewelry so it needs to be fortified with alloy metals for strength and durability. Zinc, copper, nickel, iron, silver, platinum, and palladium are all common alloy metals. You can learn more about gold composition and karats here.
Solid gold jewelry has the highest cost, but will give you the best quality. It’s durable and hypoallergenic, making it ideal for daily wear. Most people decide to invest in solid gold jewelry for the most meaningful jewelry pieces in their lives, such as engagement rings and other commemorative jewels.
Fortunately, solid gold jewelry can cater to different budgets. A piece with a lower karat grade will be more affordable since it uses less pure gold. No matter what the occasion is, a solid gold jewelry piece will always be a worthwhile investment.
DIDIER DUBOT’s Gold Jewelry
As a demi-fine jewelry brand committed to bringing you the highest quality pieces, the majority of our styles have a solid 14K gold base. We also have an accessible selection of gold vermeil pieces with a sterling silver base.
Whether you’re looking to splurge on a special occasion piece or you’re looking for something classic to enhance your everyday outfits, we have the perfect piece of gold jewelry for you.
Explore our full selection of solid gold jewelry today!
Writer: Maria Polansky