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Different types of Gold Jewelry explained: Gold Plated, Gold Filled, Gold Vermeil & Solid Gold.

Updated: Nov 12, 2019

There are many types of gold jewelry sold in the market today and it can get quite confusing if you’re not familiar with the different terminology. So to make the process easier for you, we are going to give you the breakdown on the 4 most common types of gold jewelry, what is it that you're actually paying for and guide you to what might be the most suitable option for you. We will also highlight why solid gold is our main choice of material for our pieces at tanisaJewelry.

Gold jewelry is made in different types of materials as they have different prices point and tarnish at different rates.

The most common and cheap jewelry material is brass/copper. It easily oxidizes and therefore turns green/black, as soon as you sweat or get water on it. This isn’t the most ideal option if you are someone who loves to wear jewelry and likes to wear them everyday. Not only will the beauty of your piece not last very long, it is also not ideal for your skin as it can stain and irritate. Types of gold jewelry using brass/copper:

Gold Plated: Jewelry crafted in base metal (usually brass or copper) with a very thin plating of Gold (0.05% of actual gold or less).

  • Low in cost

  • Cheap quality

  • Tarnishes easily

  • Gold plating wears off easily

  • May irritate sensitive skin

Gold Filled: Jewelry crafted in base metal (usually brass or copper) with thicker plating of Gold (approx. 5% is actual gold).

  • Affordable in price

  • Quality is better than gold plated jewelry

  • Tarnishes with time

  • Properties closer to gold plated jewelry than solid gold

  • May irritate sensitive skin

The reason why at tanisaJewelry we don’t make any of our products in gold plated or gold filled is because it uses brass or copper as its base metal. As we mentioned above, brass/copper is a material that oxidizes easily, and also stains and irritates the skin. At tanisajewelry, we rather offer our customer pieces crafted in high quality durable materials that will last a longer time and are kinder to the skin.

Gold Vermeil: Jewelry crafted in Sterling Silver with a heavy plating of gold (2.5 microns minimum by US standards).

  • Affordable in price

  • Good quality jewelry

  • Does not tarnish easily

  • However, gold plating can wear off with time

  • Good for all skin types; hypoallergenic

Solid Gold: Jewelry crafted in solid gold, thus not hollow or filled with any other material.

  • Most expensive, but worth the investment in terms of cost per wear

  • Highest quality gold jewelry

  • Does not tarnish

  • Does not wear off

  • Good for all skin types; hypoallergenic

Solid gold jewelry can vary by how many different karats of gold is used (gold vs alloy). Pure gold jewelry would be 24 karats (24k). However, as gold is a very soft material and quite malleable, 24k gold isn’t ideal for fine jewelry used for everyday wear. Therefore to give solid gold jewelry strength and durability, it is mixed with other metal alloys. The minimum standard for solid gold jewelry starts with 10k.

10k= 10/24 parts (or 41.7%) of the material is pure gold.

14k= 14/24 parts (or 58.3%) of the material is pure gold.

18k= 18/24 parts (or 75%) of the material is pure gold.

24k= 24/24 parts (or 100%) of the material is pure gold.

At tanisaJewelry we have chosen 18k alloy as this keeps our gold ratio as pure as possible, while still making sure our jewelry is durable and does not wear out easily. This means you can wear our products everyday, 24/7 and not have to worry about it's beauty wearing off.

At tanisaJewelry we currently craft all our products in solid 18k gold (except our Kissing Stones Flexible Bangle, which is in solid 14k gold). We believe solid gold is the highest quality for gold jewelry and the best option for our customers who are looking to invest in jewelry they will wear on an everyday basis. Even though solid gold jewelry is on the pricey side, we highly recommend saving up and investing in high quality pieces that will last you a long time and in the long term you will be paying less in terms of cost per wear.

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