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Your Guide to Gold

Posted on August 27 2015


Ever been confused by all the "gold" options out there?  Solid gold, gold-filled, gold plated, gold vermile ,What does that mean anyway?  Gold jewelry has become increasingly popular but with all the gold options on the market these day terminology can be tricky.  This is one of my top asked questions so today I thought I'd break it down so you can make an educated decision on which one's right for you. 

What is solid gold?

24K is the only true solid gold option.  Gold is a very soft metal so it's popular to blend gold with other alloys such as, silver, copper, nickel and zinc to make it stronger and more durable for jewelry.  The most popular gold used in jewelry is 22K, 18K, 14K and 10K.  The higher the number the more gold content but you also sacrifice durability.  18K and 14K are my top choices for quality and durability.

What is gold-filled?

Gold-filled is a layer of gold pressure bonded to another metal. Gold-filled is not to be confused with gold plating as filled has 100% more gold than gold plating. Gold-filled is much more valuable and tarnish resistant. It does not flake off, rub off or turn colors and the base metal never touches the skin.  Anyone who can wear gold can wear gold-filled without worries of any allergic reaction to the jewelry. Gold-filled jewelry is an economical and quality alternative to solid gold.  

What is gold-plated?

Gold-plated is a very thin layer of gold put over a base metal.  It's an economical alternative to the above options but the quality of the jewelry and the reaction you may encounter vary.  Gold-plated is a standard in costume jewelry and not the best for everyday wear as the gold layer will ware off and turn over time.   

What is gold-vermile?

The difference between gold-plated and gold-vermile is that vermile is a thin layer of gold over sterling silver.  The color may still change with regular wear but the sterling layer is better for those sensitive to base metals and gold-plated jewelry.

I personally choose to only use 14K gold or 14K gold-filled in all of my designs as the quality of both will last my customers for years to come and reduces the chance of reactions on the skin.  Hopefully this helps shed a little light on a tricky subject!  In the next post we'll cover the difference between silver, copper and base metals.

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