We've all been there; browsing in a boutique, admiring the jewelry in a case. One catches your eye and you ask the sales associate about the piece. They let you know its plated. Or maybe vermeil? You love it but aren't really sure what that means. Today, we're breaking down the key differences between plated, fill, vermeil, and solid gold jewelry.
1. Gold Plated
Gold plated jewelry is the most accessible kind of jewelry on the market today. Varying in price range based on micron level and base metal, plated jewelry can range between $20-$100+. Au 79 proudly uses a thick micron level of gold and a recycled sterling silver base metal making us hypoallergenic and sustainable. While many think plated jewelry tarnishes easily, care comes first and foremost (read about how to care for your plated pieces here) and you can have your plated pieces for years to come.
2. Gold fill
Gold fill jewelry is like plated jewelry but with a slightly thicker layer of gold. US standards require the gold layer to consist of 1/20th (or 5%) of the jewelry’s total weight. Pricing does increase with the higher level of gold per piece.
3. Gold Vermeil
Gold vermeil (pronounced ver-may) is a French technique of applying a thick layer of gold over sterling silver. Vermeil technique requires a 2.5 micron level of 14k or higher gold. Vermeil is great for those who are sensitive to allergens.
4. Solid Gold
By far the most sought-after but least accessible is solid gold jewelry. Solid gold is meant for every day wear and will not tarnish or fade. Solid gold is extremely expensive- 24k gold is the most expensive and as you add alloys, you create 18k, 14k, 10k and so on. The more alloys you add, the less expensive the piece.