Types of gold jewellery explained

With so many terms to describe gold jewellery, it can be confusing to know exactly what you’re buying, the value of your pieces and how to look after them.

We wanted to explain the differences between the types of gold jewellery available - gold plated, gold vermeil and gold filled.


Gold plated jewelry is a very light layer of gold - 0.05% actual gold or less - on top of a base metal. The thin layer of gold is plated onto the base metal to create gold plated jewelry.

Gold plated jewellery is more affordable than the other types of gold jewellery because it uses a tiny amount of gold to layer over the base (brass or copper). It is more prone to tarnishing when exposed liquids or chemicals. With the right care, your jewellery will still be durable for a good amount of time.


Gold vermeil is heavy gold plating (2.5 microns) over sterling silver. It does not tarnish and is hypoallergenic, so people with metal allergies can wear it safely. Since the gold plating in vermeil is much heavier than gold plated jewellery, the gold lasts much longer and will not rub off (although over time, some gold may wear off).

What is gold vermeil?

Many charms can’t be made gold filled due to the way it’s created, so gold vermeil is used in it's place. Gold vermeil jewellery is a great choice for those who want something to wear daily without tarnishing, while still being affordable.


Gold filled is a solid layer of gold mechanically bonded to a base. The layer of gold consists at least 1/20th of the jewellery’s total weight. The gold is usually 14k gold, but sometimes may be 12k gold (sometimes stamped with 14/20 or 12/20, respectively).

What is gold filled?

Gold filled jewellery has almost 100x more gold than gold plated jewellery. Since the gold is mechanically bonded to the base rather than plated, it can’t rub off. It has the same qualities as solid gold jewellery at a fraction of the cost. Gold filled jewellery is also great for people who are allergic to metals, as the material will not cause an allergic reaction. It is perfect for everyday wear, as it can handle the wear and tear of daily life - and it's very affordable. With proper care, gold filled jewellery can last a lifetime!