Gold plated, gold-filled or vermeil, what are those? And what is actually the difference between gold filled and gold plated? Well, you will be surprised to know that they are vastly different in terms of the amount of gold each type carries and also the price.
Don’t worry, I have done all my research and quite a lot of digging in the stores and found out exactly what are the answers you have been looking for regarding this very topic.
Difference Between Gold Filled and Gold Plated
The main difference between a gold-filled piece of jewelry vs. a gold-plated one is the amount of gold each of them carries. Where a gold-filled piece may carry 5% gold as a whole, a gold-plated piece will carry a total of 0.5% gold.
And for this reason, you will see that gold-plated pieces of jewelry are way cheaper than gold-filled ones.
What Is Gold Plating?
Gold-platting is where a piece of core metal is taken, usually brass or bronze, and they get coated in a minute amount of gold – so little that they are almost non-measurable. This amount of gold will be 0.5% of the whole piece, and that is exactly why some ‘gold’ jewelry costs surprisingly less than others.
Have you ever bought a piece of gold-plated jewelry and thought to yourself, wow, what a steal! That statement is likely to be changed soon because this plating doesn’t last very long. They tend to scuff off of the piece of core metal fairly quickly. And the shine goes away.
What Is Gold Filling?
If you don’t want to spend a serious amount of cash on gold jewelry but get something that will serve the same purpose, then this type is the best you can get.
Gold-filling is such a process that is similar to gold-plating, but the amount of gold used in this method makes a major difference. A core piece of metal, usually brass or bronze, gets covered in a sheet of gold in this method. These sheets of gold can be 12k, 14k, or 18k sheets.
Because actually sheets of gold are used in the process, and the amount of gold used is measurable, unlike gold plating. A comparatively thick sheet of gold gets wrapped around a core metal which makes gold-filled jewelry not fade away in color or lose its shine.
If you even do see some discoloration, know that it’s due to some dirt build-up on the surface, which can be easily removed by cleaning it.
Which One Is More Durable?
As I said already that the gold-filled piece of jewelry would have a thicker layer of gold around the core metal. At the same time, the gold-plated one will have just a tiny amount of gold on it, which makes the gold-filled one more durable.
Bear in mind that neither of the types is a block of solid gold, so you cannot expect them to behave like one.
Your usage and care for these pieces of jewelry will determine how long they will remain wearable before another visit to the jeweler.
So, the point to be noted; the gold-plated jewelry will not serve you very long without showing wear and tear. They are likely to be sensitive to heat, wear, and water, so I would advise you not to wear them as much. Gold-plated jewelry is also likely to be tarnished easily and expose the core metal underneath.
But the gold-filled ones have more longevity and will serve you for a long time. You can wear them more often without worrying about tarnishing. If they lose their shine, then just get them cleaned, and they will be good as new.
Things You Should Keep in Mind Before You Get Either
Besides the fundamental difference between the two types, there is more you should know. Yes, they have a certain amount of gold, more or less in each of the jewelry types, but what about the purity of gold used in them?
Let me tell you a little about that.
Gold is such a metal that it is too soft to be used in its purest form. For that reason, it needs to be incorporated with different other metals like zinc, silver, and so on. This incorporation of other metals makes the gold impure but wearable. And the ratio of gold to these other junk metals determines which Karat of gold is which one.
A 14K piece of gold has 58.3% actual gold, and the rest is other metals. The other metals are nickel, silver, zinc, copper, and there is the plating of rhodium. This metal mix may vary slightly, but this is what makes the piece of jewelry wearable and resistant to corrosion and scuffing.
It uses the same principle of mixing pure gold and other alloys to make it durable and wearable. 18K gold has 75% gold and 25% alloy, which is considered to be the perfect blend for everyday usage. It carries the most amount of gold while still being wearable on a daily basis.
18K gold is mostly used to make wedding rings, necklaces, and bangles all over the world. The stunning yellow and golden shine on it makes it perfect and eye-catchy.
This one is one hundred percent gold. 24K gold does not carry any other metal mixture, and that’s what makes this one very fragile, and it’s not ideal for everyday usage. This one is very pliable and not ideal for making everyday use jewelry.
Yes, 24K gold is the most expensive one compared to 18K and 14K variants. Why wouldn’t it be? It carries the most amount of gold.
So, in conclusion, the difference between gold filled and gold plated is fairly straight forward but what type of gold is used in either of the types matters as well. Before you buy that wedding ring for the love of your life, make sure you know all there is to it. This might save you some cash and embarrassment afterward.
Also, it is important to know these facts before buying any jewelry because gold can also be a form of future investment. So, know your gold before you get some.