Gold filled vs. gold vermeil vs. gold plated, these three kinds of metal have small differences that set them apart from each other. Delving into these differences between gold-filled, gold-plated, and gold vermeil is vital for choosing the right metal for your next favorite piece of jewelry. From the base metal to the thickness of the gold to the karat weight, we'll guide you through the features all of these gold types boast.

What Does Gold-Filled Mean? 

Despite its name, gold-filled jewelry (also referred to as "rolled gold") is not actually filled with gold. Rather it consists of a cheaper base metal, such as brass or copper, that is covered in sheets of gold. These gold sheets are bonded to the base metal using a mechanical process involving heat. Once this process has taken place, you are left with jewelry covered in a thick layer of gold that usually constitutes 5% of its total weight. When comparing gold filled vs. gold plated, gold plated normally consists of less than 0.05% of its weight in gold.

Gold-filled jewelry contains a thick gold layer, making it resistant to scratches and tarnishing, hence perfect for everyday wear. Compared to solid gold, it is also a far more affordable option.

Is Gold Filled Real Gold?

Gold filled is crafted from both a layer of real gold and cheaper base metal. Whilst not fine jewelry like solid gold, the layer of gold sheet is real gold, most frequently 14 karat. Remember, to be classed as authentic gold-filled jewelry, 1/20 of its weight needs to be made from real gold.

How Long Does Gold-Filled Jewelry Last?

Due to each type of gold having a different production process, and a different thickness of the gold layer applied, they each have their own wear times. The thick layer of precious metal on gold-filled jewelry allows it to last a very long time with proper care, anywhere from 10 - 30 years. By learning how to clean and care for your gold jewelry, you can help to prevent tarnishing from happening to your gold-filled pieces.

Everything You Need to Know About Gold Vermeil:

Similarly to gold-filled, vermeil jewelry consists of a base metal and a layer of gold bonded to the outside. However, unlike gold-filled, gold vermeil always uses sterling silver as a base material. This method of gold plating is done via an electroplating process that binds the gold plating to the sterling silver base -bringing these two metals together.

Vermeil jewelry, similar to gold-filled, is an affordable choice when it comes to creating gold jewelry. Allowing jewelry lovers to indulge in luxury pieces without the luxury price tag usually attached to fine jewelry.

How Long Does Gold Vermeil Last?

Gold vermeil can last for years with proper care. It is a type of jewelry that has a layer of gold bonded to a base metal, usually sterling silver. The thickness of the gold layer in gold vermeil is at least 1/20th of the total thickness of the jewelry, which is more than gold plating. This makes gold vermeil more durable than gold-plated jewelry, but it can still wear away over time.

The exact lifespan of gold vermeil jewelry depends on a few factors, including the thickness of the gold layer, the quality of the materials, and how well it is cared for. With proper care, gold vermeil jewelry can last for 10-20 years. However, if it is not properly cared for, it may start to wear away after a few years.

The Differences Between Gold Vermeil, Gold-Filled & Gold Plating:

When it comes to selecting the perfect jewelry, understanding the differences between gold vermeil, gold-filled, and gold-plated options is essential. Let's delve into these three intriguing metals to uncover what sets them apart.

Base Metal and Composition:

    • Gold Vermeil: This jewelry type features a sterling silver base, providing a solid foundation for a lavish layer of gold. The gold layer, usually 18 karat, is thick and opulent, resulting in a durable and luxurious piece.
    • Gold Filled: Gold-filled jewelry boasts a base metal such as brass or copper overlaid with a substantial layer of real gold. The gold layer accounts for around 5% of the item's weight, offering durability and affordability.
    • Gold Plated: In contrast, gold-plated jewelry involves a thin layer of gold electroplated onto a base metal. This layer is significantly thinner than that of gold-filled or gold vermeil, making it more susceptible to wear over time.

Gold Thickness and Longevity:

    • Gold Vermeil: With its generous gold layer and sterling silver foundation, gold vermeil jewelry is known for its extended lifespan. The thickness of the gold layer contributes to its resistance to tarnishing and fading.
    • Gold Filled: The substantial gold layer in gold-filled pieces ensures durability, making them an excellent choice for everyday wear. Proper care can extend their lifespan, which typically ranges from 10 to 30 years.
    • Gold Plated: Due to its thin gold coating, gold-plated jewelry may show signs of wear relatively quickly, revealing the base metal beneath. Regular maintenance is necessary to preserve its appearance.

Production Method and Versatility:

    • Gold Vermeil: Created through an electroplating process, gold vermeil allows for intricate designs and various shapes. This makes it suitable for crafting a wide range of jewelry, from delicate earrings to elaborate pendants.
    • Gold Filled: The bonding of gold sheets to the base metal using heat limits its application to flatter surfaces. This makes gold-filled ideal for minimalist pieces like cuffs and pendants.
    • Gold Plated: The electroplating process used for gold plating restricts its durability and versatility, making it more suitable for occasional wear rather than daily use.


In conclusion, the world of jewelry offers a spectrum of choices, each with its distinct characteristics and charm. Understanding the differences between gold vermeil, gold filled, and gold plated metals empowers you to make a thoughtful choice tailored to your style, budget, and preferences. Thanks for reading!