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Gold Plated vs. Gold Filled vs. Gold Vermeil

Gold Plated vs. Gold Filled vs. Gold Vermeil: A Complete Guide

It can be challenging to distinguish between high-quality jewelry among dazzling items. Jewelry prices can also complicate this decision. The best way to decide is to compare the terms like gold plated vs. gold filled vs. gold vermeil in detail. Understanding what you are paying for will help you make an informed decision about the jewelry you are considering.

Whether you're a jewelry enthusiast, a buyer looking for the perfect piece, or simply curious about the differences between these gold options, this complete guide will equip you with the knowledge you need to make informed decisions and appreciate the beauty of gold jewelry even more. So let's get started on this enlightening exploration into the world of gold!

What is Gold Filled?

Gold filled is a process of coating the surface of a piece of jewelry or any metal with a certain amount of gold. This process is applied at high temperatures and requires the metal surface to be coated with at least 5% gold. Gold-filled jewelry is highly durable and resistant to tarnishing. They are indicated by symbols such as "GF," "18KGF," or "14KGF."

Thanks to the thick plating on gold filled jewelry, they can be worn for a long time without experiencing significant wear or tarnish issues. They are often regarded as the best alternatives to gold since they are the closest to pure gold jewelry.

What is Gold Plated?

Gold plating applies a thin layer of gold to the surface of jewelry or any metal. This process is typically done using the electroplating method. There is no standard of thickness regarding the gold plating. However, they usually come in 1-micron thickness, depending on the type of jewelry used. For example, earrings or rings may have thinner plating, while bracelets may have thicker plating.

This process can be applied to all metal surfaces, such as copper, nickel, silver, steel, etc. The gold plating makes it possible to produce jewelry with a gold appearance at a reasonable price.

What is Flash Plated?

As the name implies, flash plating refers to the rapid coating of a metal surface. It is the same process as gold plating. In both methods, gold is applied to the metal surface using an electric current.

What is Gold Vermeil?

Gold vermeil is the process of coating metals like silver, copper, bronze, etc., with a layer of gold. This process typically uses at least 10 karats of gold and a thickness of around 2.5 microns. The surface to be plated is prepared by polishing and smoothing, then by electroplating.

Vermeil plating is commonly used in jewelry accessories. Material purity and durability are important factors that influence plating quality. A vermeil plating accentuates the value of jewelry and adds an affordable option.

Gold Overlay, Gold-Bonded, Flash Plated, or Rolled Gold?

Gold overlay refers to the same procedure as gold filled. This method is the process of coating the metal with gold using high pressure and heat.

Gold-bonded jewelry is made of sterling silver with more than 5% gold and closer to 10% gold. Gold bonding ensures strength and durability against sweat, water, and wear and tear. In addition, this process results in a thicker gold layer that maintains its color and shine.

As long as you take care of your gold-bonded jewelry and keep it clean, it will last for a long time. You can wear gold-bonded jewelry even if you have sensitive skin.

Flash plating is a type of coating applied using the electroplating method and follows the same procedure as gold plating.

"Rolled gold" and "gold-filled" are used synonymously in the industry. The base material is coated with at least 5% gold in this method. Plating is done using high pressure and heat.

What is The Difference Between Gold Filled, Gold Plated, And Gold Vermeil?

The main difference between gold-filled vs. gold plated and gold vermeil is the thickness of the coating and the method. These differences between gold and gold plated significantly affect the quality and prices of the products. Below are more details about these methods:


gold filled

Gold Filled

In gold-filled jewelry, a layer of gold is bonded to a core base metal. The process involves multiple steps. First, this method subjected the material and gold-plated surface to heat and pressure. In the following section, we will examine the specifications for this method.

1. Material/Base Metal

In gold-filled jewelry, a layer of gold is applied to a base metal like copper or nickel using a combination of heat and pressure. The process involves placing metal sheets inside a press that generates high temperatures. Next, intense pressure is applied to the gold sheets, causing them to adhere to the surface. The sheets are then cleaned to enhance the visibility of the gold. Before they are sold, they are cut into pieces and handed over for the last touches.

2. Quality

Gold-filled is one of the highest-quality alternatives to solid gold jewelry. It doesn't have issues like breaking or bending due to the base material. With proper maintenance, it has maintained its elegance and brightness for decades. It is hard to understand the difference between gold-filled vs. solid.

3. Durability

Gold filled is not only a high-quality product but also a durable one. Like all jewelry, gold-filled items also require regular maintenance. But, as long as they're properly handled, they'll keep their shine.

4. Cost

Gold-filled jewelry has a slightly higher price than other jewelry types due to the higher amount of gold used and the more expensive methods involved in their production. However, they are cheaper than pure gold jewelry. Additionally, the karat of the gold used in these coatings significantly affects their price.

5. Value/Price

The reason for purchasing jewelry is to use them for a lifetime and even pass them on as gifts to future generations. In this regard, gold-filled products are affordable in price and quality.

6. Care

Gold-filled products are more resistant to scratches and tarnishing than other plating methods, requiring less maintenance. For maintenance, use non-abrasive toothpaste, warm water, and soap, and soak in warm water with baking soda.

7. Weight

Gold-filled layers are numbered 14/20 or 12/20. The first number indicates the karat of the gold used, while the second number (20) indicates 1/20 or 5% of the gold used in the layer.

8. Thickness

The gold layer on gold filled jewelry can be up to 100% thicker than the gold layer on gold-plated jewelry. It makes a big difference in how long the jewelry lasts. Gold-filled jewelry has at least a thickness of 2,5 microns.

production method

9. Production Method

In this method, gold sheets are heated and bonded to a base material such as nickel or brass under high pressure. The prepared plates are then sent to designers for cutting and shaping processes.

10. Hypoallergenic

The thick plating layer in gold-filled jewelry is a barrier between your skin and the base material. As a result, you are less likely to experience any allergic reactions.

11. Best for

The gold-filled method is used in all types of jewelry, such as rings, necklaces, earrings, and more. The production process involves passing gold-coated plates or wires through different stages.


gold plated

Gold Plated

In the gold-plated method, the base material is shaped first. Then, electroplating is done onto the shaped base material. This method is noted for its following characteristics.

1. Material/Base Metal

The method can be applied to almost all metal surfaces, such as nickel, copper, brass, and steel. It offers a more practical production technique for manufacturers.

2. Quality

In this method, a thinner plating layer is applied compared to gold-filled. This method, which involves the use of electroplating techniques, may have issues over time.

3. Durability

The lifespan of gold-plated jewels is shorter than that of gold-filled and vermeil. The durability of these products is affected by the gold's karat value and the electroplating process's quality. Rose gold jewels are generally less durable than yellow gold-plated items.

4. Cost

Gold-plated is relatively cheaper. However, more intricate designs can be achieved since these products are designed on a metal base. In this respect, they stand out due to their elegant designs, which are important factors that influence their prices.

5. Value/Price

Gold-plated items can achieve very stylish designs since they are made without being directly coated with gold on the base material. Therefore, high-quality gold-plated products will definitely be a good value in terms of price/quality ratio.

6. Care

Gold-plated jewelry requires regular maintenance due to its susceptibility to tarnishing, air pollution, and chemicals. Depending on usage, it is recommended to clean these items with warm, soapy water on a weekly basis. However, it's important to avoid exposing them to hot water during the cleaning jewelry process.

7. Weight

The weight varies depending on the base metal used, while plating is pretty light.

8. Thickness

The thickness of the gold coating on this jewelry is about 1 micron, about 2% of the metal base's weight.

9. Production Method

This method is applied through electrolysis. After shaping metals such as brass, nickel, copper, or steel, the product is immersed into the prepared solution, and the plating process is carried out by applying an electric current.

10. Hypoallergenic

In this method, metals like nickel and copper used as base materials may cause allergies. Additionally, in low-quality plating, the metal surface may peel off from the corners, which can also lead to metal allergies.

11. Best for

In the gold plating method, plating is applied as the final step in the production process. Once the desired shape is achieved, the jewelry undergoes the plating process. This allows designers to create a diverse range of captivating designs. As a result, the gold plating method enables the production of unique and alluring jewelry pieces in various styles.


Gold Verneil

Gold Vermeil

A gold vermeil finish is typically achieved by electroplating a silver metal base with gold. This method results in high-quality and long-lasting products. Here is a closer look at this process and a comparison between a gold-plated vs. gold vermeil.

1. Material/Base Metal

Vermeil is typically made of sterling silver as a base material. In this method, the underlying layer must be smooth and polished. Therefore, the polishing process is carried out on the base layer before the vermeil process takes place.

2. Quality

The vermeil method results in high-quality products. In this process involving electroplating, coatings of up to 3 microns in thickness are possible.

3. Durability

Vermeil is very durable because of its thick plating. As a result, their elegance won't fade over time, and they're long-lasting.

4. Cost

Vermeil products are slightly more expensive compared to gold-plated items. The reason for this is the use of silver as the base material and the application of a thicker layer of gold coating.

5. Value/Price

Vermeil products offer a quality and elegance that is worth their price. Unlike gold plating, they won't tarnish or fade over time.

6. Care

Vermeil requires less maintenance than gold plating, but it can still be affected by chemicals, sweat, and adverse weather. Regular maintenance can keep them looking good.

7. Weight

In comparison with other metal-plated jewelry, gold vermeil products are lighter in weight. You can feel the softness and lightness of silver when wearing these pieces.

8. Thickness

In this method, the silver base layer is coated with gold at a minimum thickness of 2 or 2,5 microns.

9. Production Method

In this method, gold is bonded via electrolysis. This method is applied to a well-polished and prepared rough-free silver surface.

10. Hypoallergenic

Due to their thick layer of coating and silver substrate, vermeil coatings do not cause allergic reactions. Therefore, It is completely safe to use them.

11. Best for

In addition to being lightweight, vermeil coatings are easy to handle thanks to silver's easy shape. With this method, high-quality and stylish designs can be obtained. Vermeil coatings can be used to make all kinds of jewelry for daily use or special occasions.


Differences between gold filled vs gold plated

How Can You Tell the Difference Between Gold Plated, Gold Filled, and Gold Vermeil Jewelry?

All three methods have their own pros and cons. Here's how gold plated vs. gold filled vs. gold vermeil differ from each other.

1. Quality

The best quality among these three methods is the gold-filled method. Gold-filled, gold vermeil, and gold-plated come, respectively.

2. Durability

While gold-filled and gold vermeil pieces of jewellery are more durable, nickel, brass, and steel are used in gold-plated products, resist impacts, and don't bend as easily.

3. Aesthetic

Very stylish designs can be made by all methods. However, you can get a more intricate design with vermeil jewelry.

4. Care

All three methods require regular maintenance. However, gold-plated products are more likely to be damaged by chemicals, hot water, or sweat. On the other hand, gold-filled jewelry requires the least maintenance and is least affected by external factors.

How to Repair or Re-Plate If They Become Tarnished or Worn?

All jewelry can be re-plated by electrolysis. However, the jewelry should be re-plated according to its thickness or the type of plating on it. Applying a thin layer of gold coating to a vermeil or gold-filled coating may cause discoloration on the jewelry. So be sure the jeweler applies the right procedure.


Cleaning Jewelry

How do I Clean My Jewelry?

Many factors can cause gold-plated jewelry to become stained or darkened, including air pollution, body sweat, and chemicals. Regular maintenance can prevent these stains from becoming permanent. Here's how you can do it.

  • You can soak it in warm soapy water for 15 minutes, then dry it with cotton or a soft cloth. The cotton should be uncolored and chemical-free.
  • Clean with a soft brush with toothpaste with low grit value. Then rinse in tap water and dry.
  • Soak in warm water with baking soda for 10 to 15 minutes. Then rinse it in tap water and dry it.
  • When storing your jewels, keep them away from light and moisture.
  • You may need professional help for tarnishing that home remedies for cleaning jewelry cannot remove.

Which Type of Jewelry Should I Choose?

You should first ensure that the jewelry you like is produced in a high-quality manner. Thus, it is best to choose a jeweler who has good customer reviews and produces quality jewelry. As Onthologie, we prefer silver as the base material for our gold-plated products and cover them in 18-carat gold. 18k gold plated jewelry is more resistant to tarnishing and stains, allowing you to use it safely for a long period of time.


These are the most frequently asked questions about the differences between gold filled, gold plated, and gold vermeil.

Which Type of Gold Jewelry is The Most Durable and Long-Lasting?

The most durable and longest-lasting jewelry is gold-filled jewelry. However, vermeil jewelry applied to silver has a similar thickness to gold-filled jewelry and is quite durable.

Which is Better, Gold Vermeil or Gold Filled?

Gold-filled jewelry is durable over vermeil. This is because a separate gold layer is used on the top. They maintain their stylish appearance for up to 30 years if regularly maintained.

Which Wears Better, Gold Filled or Gold Plated?

Since gold-plated jewelry is covered with a thin layer, it may cause allergies, such as gray color on the skin after a while. Gold-filled products are not subject to the same restrictions. They are quite healthy to wear.

Does Gold Filled Last Longer than Vermeil?

Gold-filled pieces of jewelry can last longer than vermeil jewelry. In addition, since durable materials such as nickel, steel, and copper are used as the base material in gold-filled jewelry, compared to vermeil jewelry, they are more resistant to outer impacts.

Can I Shower with Gold Vermeil?

The best way to maintain the appearance of gold vermeil jewelry is to remove it before showering and clean it regularly to prevent tarnishing. If you choose to wear gold vermeil jewelry in the shower, you should dry it thoroughly after exposure to water to minimize the risk of tarnishing.

Is 18k Gold Vermeil Better than Gold Plated?

The American standard for Gold Vermeil requires a minimum thickness of 2.5 microns. Gold-plated jewelry, however, has no standard thickness and is generally 1 micron thick. The quality of vermeil coatings is, therefore, higher.

Is Gold Filled Real Gold?

Materials filled with pure gold are created by sticking sheets of pure gold to the base material. These sheets are available in 10, 14, and 18-karat gold. Gold-filled jewelry has a gold surface on the outside and a different material inside.

Does Gold Plating, Gold Filled, or Gold Vermeil Tarnish or Wear off Over Time?

All three types of coatings fade over time and lose their appearance. As well as external factors, our body sweats, and even our body's pH levels play an important role in fading. The thickness and quality of the plating used are effective in how long it can last.

Rapid changes and fashion trends in the jewelry industry have led to the increasing use of gold-plated products. Due to the high price of pure gold jewelry, these pieces have become more prevalent. With regular maintenance, gold-plated jewelry can last a lifetime.

This requires quality materials as well as quality workmanship. Onthologie offers 18-carat vermeil-plated sterling silver jewelries. There are many beautiful intricate designs in our product range. All of our jewelry is allergy-free, so you can safely wear them.