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Types of Gold Jewellery Explained: Gold Plated, Vermeil, Gold Filled, & Solid Gold

With so many types of gold jewellery available, it can be very confusing when you’re shopping. We’ve all been there - your new necklace or ring turning your neck and fingers green.

At Lume Atelier, we are committed to handcrafting jewellery that is perfect for everyday wear. We wanted to explain the differences between the types of gold jewellery available - gold plated, gold vermeil, gold filled, and solid gold.

What material is your jewellery made of?

All of our pieces are gold filled, which is a layer of solid gold mechanically bonded to a base - usually jeweller's brass. It is our material of choice as it has the same qualities as solid gold jewellery but at a fraction of the cost. Gold filled jewellery is also great for people who are allergic to certain metals, or have sensitive skin.

How is it different from gold vermeil and gold plated?

Higher quality than gold vermeil and gold plated jewellery, gold fill is legally required to be 5% or 1/20 pure gold by weight. The process of gold filled metals involves heat and pressure bonding layers of gold to a base metal, which is usually jeweller's brass.

On the contrary, gold plated jewellery contains only 0.05% or less pure gold, meaning gold filled has at least 100 times more gold than gold plated jewellery. Since the gold plating is very thin, the gold can rub off easily and so it is better suited for costume jewellery or trying out new trends. Gold plated jewellery are normally brass-based, but can sometimes be nickel or zinc-based.

Manufactured the same way as gold plated jewellery, gold vermeil is essentially a thicker coat of gold plating on top of a hypoallergenic sterling silver base. Since the gold plating in vermeil is much thicker than gold plated jewellery, the gold lasts longer but can still wear off in areas with a lot of contact. Gold vermeil can also be a bit tricky when it comes to determining quality, as while countries like the US require there to be at least 2.5 microns of gold plating on top of sterling silver, whereas other countries like Canada only require 1.0 micron. While there are some great quality gold vermeil pieces out there, we recommend doing more research when purchasing gold vermeil products.

With this being said, gold-filled jewellery is much higher quality than gold plated jewellery and is a more affordable and quality alternative to solid gold jewellery.

How long does gold-filled last? Does it tarnish?

Gold-filled jewellery can remain tarnish resistant and last you for many years to come with proper care. Our jewellery is made to be worn everyday and not require too much care, but we do have a few tips on things to avoid to prolong the life of your pieces. Learn more about how to care for your jewellery below.

Can I wear gold-filled if I have sensitive skin?

Yes! Gold-filled jewellery has a thick layer of solid gold on the surface so it has the same hypoallergenic properties if you do not have any negative reactions to solid gold jewellery.