There are many types of "gold" jewelry on the market today. You may see terms like Solid Gold, Gold-Plated, Gold Vermeil, or even Gold-Filled; but what do these mean? What is the difference between them, and should you be concerned about purchasing one over another? Let's take a look at each of these terms, and learn how they can help you decide which type of jewelry is right for you.
Solid gold jewelry is the most expensive and purest form of gold jewelry. It is made from 100% gold and has a karat weight of 24-karat. Solid gold jewelry can be worn by anyone, but it is recommended that people with sensitive skin avoid wearing this type because it may cause irritation or allergic reactions. Solid gold jewelry is typically more expensive than gold-plated jewelry, but it lasts longer and is more durable. It should also be noted that solid gold jewelry is not indestructible. Gold naturally scratches, and bends over time. Gold is a very soft metal, so it can be easily scratched and dented. If you're looking for something that will last, we recommend staying away from gold-finished items.
24kt gold can be too soft so gold is alloyed with other metals to create durability and strength. You may have also seen "14kt", "12kt", "18kt" in the stores while you're shopping. Isn't it the same thing? The answer is no. These numbers refer to the karat weight of gold in each piece of jewelry. The first two numbers indicate how much gold there is in the alloy (the ratio of other metals such as zinc, copper, silver, or even nickel), while the last number refers to the percentage of pure gold in that alloy. For example, 14k jewelry has 14 parts gold and 10 parts other metals, so it contains 58% gold (14/24). The higher the karat weight, the more pure gold is present in the jewelry. For example, 18k gold contains 75% gold and 25% other metals, while 24k gold contains 99.9% pure gold. Because other metals are mixed in the lower the karat weight the more durable and harder it is.
While pure 24kt gold does not tarnish easily it does still tarnish and will react with sulfur. Sulfur is generally present in the air, so over time a piece of solid gold will be exposed to enough of it to cause a reaction. This reaction creates copper sulfide (the same thing that makes copper tarnish), which causes the metal to turn green or black and lose its shine—effectively making it look less like pure gold and more like regular old metal. Please read here to learn to care and clean your jewelry.
Depending on your body chemistry, some people's jewelry tarnishes faster than others. Besides eating, drinking and bathing, there are other things that can tarnish your jewelry. If you constantly use cologne or perfume (for example), hairspray or detergents in places where your jewelry lies (such as on the neckline of a shirt), the chemicals in these products can tarnish your jewelry. You should also avoid wearing jewelry when you are around cigarette or cigar smoke. Acidic foods, such as onions, spices, pickles and lemons might make gold jewelry tarnish faster.
Gold-filled jewelry is a great alternative to solid gold, especially for people with sensitive skin. When you buy gold-filled jewelry, you are getting an actual thick layer of 14k or 18k yellow gold bonded to a base metal core (most commonly "jeweler's brass"), making it much more durable and valuable than gold-plated or gold vermeil options. This process makes it possible for nearly anyone to wear a beautiful piece of jewelry that won't irritate their skin or leave them feeling itchy. Gold-filled jewelry offers the wearer a more affordable alternative to solid gold and can retain its value over time. Gold filled jewelry acts just like a solid gold piece due to the amount of solid gold sheeting it was created with which is about 100x the amount of gold in the Gold filled vs the gold plated process. The layer of gold is thick enough that it can stand up to daily wear and tear. The gold-filled jewelry also has a much lower risk of tarnishing than other types of gold, which means you don't have to worry about any discoloration or fading over time. Gold-filled jewelry is more durable and higher in quality than gold plate or vermeil, which means your pieces will last longer and retain more value over time.
Gold filled jewelry is tarnish-resistant which means it does not tarnish easily so some may say it does not tarnish at all .. however, as mentioned above gold does tarnish. Make sure you are taking care and cleaning your jewelry.
With proper care, you can expect your piece to last for generations without losing its appearance.
Gold-plated jewelry is a type of jewelry that uses a thin layer of gold on top of another metal, such as silver or copper. A plating process is used to create this effect. In this process, the base metal is dipped into a solution containing gold chloride (a compound made from chlorine and a solution of potassium cyanide). The gold chloride bonds with the surface molecules of the base metal and creates an outer layer with a coating resembling real gold.
Unfortunately, gold-plated jewelry can tarnish and corrode. Tarnish is a dulling of the silver surface that occurs as a result of oxidation. The longer and more frequently you wear your gold-plated jewelry, the greater chance it has to develop this layer of oxidation on its surface and begin to chip or flake.
Gold Vermeil made?
When you see "14K gold vermeil" on a piece of jewelry, it means that the metal is made up of 14 karat (or 58.5%) gold and the rest is silver.
Gold vermeil is made by first giving the metal a base layer of 24 karat gold by bonding it to sterling silver with heat and pressure. The process is called electroplating, which involves submerging an object in an electrically charged solution containing ions that are attracted to each other. The ions are then neutralized under vacuum conditions so they can be removed from the surface of your item without damaging it or removing any color pigments from its surface paintwork or enamel finishings.
Gold vermeil, unlike gold-plated jewelry, is made of sterling silver that has been plated in 24k gold. While it may be called "vermeil" and look like it's made entirely of solid gold, it isn't. This means that you should be careful when you wear your ring so as not to expose it to chemicals or harsh cleaning products—as they could cause the metal underneath to tarnish and make your ring look worn out.
There's many different types of "gold" jewelry. Each has its place and everyone had their preference. When it comes to permanent jewelry it can only be done with solid gold, gold-filled, and sterling silver.
I hope this gave you a little bit more insight into the world of jewelry. Shoot us an email and let me know what else you want to hear about !