Nowadays, the word ‘gold’ is being used in various forms for any alloy jewelry that contains a very minimal amount of actual gold. You may have heard gold vermeil, gold filled, gold overlay and gold plated being used for jewelry that appears to be gold. What do these terms really mean? Read below to understand each of these terms in order to be able to make an informed purchase when you are in the market to treat yourself.
Solid Gold jewelry is the most valuable form of jewelry you can buy. The purity of gold is expressed in karats. Learn about the different karat weights and the best use for each. Pure natural gold has a highly saturated yellow color and is very soft in texture. Thus, it is mixed with a small percentage of other metals to make it durable and achieve different colors like rose, green and white.
Gold filled or gold overlay is created by mechanically bonding a layer of gold onto a different base metal. The bonding process uses a high amount of heat and pressure which makes it more durable than gold plated jewelry. The layer of gold must be at least 10K purity and 5% of the total weight of the jewelry to be labeled so. It is a fraction of the cost when compared to solid gold, but holds a far lower value and wears over time.
Gold Plated or gold electroplating, is a quick and inexpensive way to make a non- precious metal such as copper, iron, nickel or zinc, look like gold. The plating process involves a thin layer of gold being electrically charged onto any non-precious metal. It is the cheapest and lowest quality of all the above. With minimal exposure to moisture, gold plated jewelry has an average lifespan of a year. A simple way to identify a gold plated style is to look for GEP/GP stamp.
Gold vermeil is similar to gold plating where a layer of real gold is plated over sterling silver instead of alloyed metal. It will last longer than plated as the layer of gold is thicker, but will eventually tarnish with exposure to moisture, especially in rings worn often.
So how does one make the best choice?
Solid gold has the most intrinsic value, appreciates over time and is most durable. It is also the least irritable metal to those that may be susceptible to allergies. This high quality calls for a higher price point in comparison to the other metals. This can make it tempting to choose gold vermeil or gold-plated or gold-filled, but these have no material value as they contain a very small amount of real gold. Gold is one of the most valuable resources in the world and carries intrinsic value. For example, the price of gold has grown from under $500 in 1991 to over $1,500 as we write this post today.
Due to the rapid depreciation from everyday wear, gold plated, gold filled or gold vermeil will not last a lifetime and requires a higher amount of care and maintenance. If the price is a deterrent, consider a lower carat of a solid gold style. A solid gold piece of jewelry is a great addition to your jewelry collection, as you can cherish it all your life and can also be passed down generations, without a worry about wear and tear. You should also make a conscious effort to weigh the craftsmanship when choosing gold jewelry. The workmanship quality also differs from one brand to another. This refers to the care with which the gold is treated and the intricate handwork involved, much like the art of embroidery or a painting, in the creation of a particular style - Higher the quality, longer your jewelry will last and be loved. We wouldn't give a loved one anything except solid gold jewelry that was carefully handcrafted, and thus we wouldn't make it any other way for you either. We are committed to integrity and high quality and thus use only solid gold in all our gold jewelry.