Main menu


types of gold


 There are many types of gold jewelry available, which can be very confusing and frustrating when shopping. We've all been there—your favorite necklace turns your neck green. At Simple & Dainty, we are committed to handcrafting jewelry that is perfect for everyday wear. We wanted to explain the differences between the types of gold jewelry available - gold plated, vermilion gold, gold filled with gold, and solid gold.

  Here's a quick recap - you can also pin it for later!
Read on for more details, and you'll see why Gold Filled and Crimson Gold are our staples!

What is gold plated jewelry?

 Gold-plated jewelry is a very light coating of gold—0.05% actual gold or less—over the base metal (usually brass or copper). A thin layer of gold is plated over the base metal to create gold plated jewelry.
Because the gold plating is so thin, the gold can rub off easily. It is also more prone to staining when exposed to any type of liquid or chemical. Although gold itself does not corrode, copper and brass will, especially when exposed to liquids (in air, perspiration, lotion, perfume, etc.). Gold plated jewelry is much cheaper than other types of gold jewelry because it uses a tiny amount of gold on top of the base metal. Gold plated jewelry is a good choice if you need jewelry just for an occasion or to try out new trends.

What is vermeil gold?

Vermilion gold (ver-may) is a thick gold plating on top of sterling silver. US standards require that there be at least 2.5 microns of gold plated over sterling silver, but some other countries require even less, such as Canada which requires only 1.0 microns. It is hypoallergenic, so people with allergies to metals can wear it safely. Because vermilion gold plating is thicker than gold plated jewelry, gold lasts much, much longer. Over the years, with a lot of excessive use, the gold can wear off in areas with a lot of contact.

We recommend purchasing gold vermilion products from trusted brands because some companies can claim that their products are vermilion, but their products do not actually contain 2.5 microns of gold. 2.5 microns converted to inches is .0001". As you can imagine, it's very difficult to measure without proper equipment. At Simple & Dainty, we send our tile pieces to a reputable plating factory that has the ability to measure the amount of gold plating over sterling silver.

What is bottled gold?

 Filled gold is a solid layer of gold mechanically bonded to a base - jeweler's brass. US standards require that the gold layer consist of 1/20th (or 5%) of the total weight of the jewelry. It is usually 14k gold, but sometimes it may be 12k gold (sometimes stamped 14/20 or 12/20, respectively).
Bottled gold has some limitations due to the way it is manufactured; It is only available in wire or sheet form, so it cannot be cast or poured into a mold. Gold-filled ornaments are either flat (made of sheets), or hollow (two pieces of metal sheets welded together). When we can't make charms or rings out of filled gold, we use vermilion gold instead.

  Gold filled jewelry contains 100 times more gold than gold plated jewelry. Because the gold is mechanically bonded to the base rather than the coating, it cannot be rubbed off. It has the same qualities as solid gold jewelry at a fraction of the cost. Gold filled jewelry is also great for people who are allergic to metals, as the material will not cause allergic reactions.

  American Gold Filled Jewelry is our material of choice; We use gold filled wherever we can because it's higher quality than vermilion and gold plated, but it's still just as expensive as pure gold.

What is pure gold?

Solid gold jewelry is just as the name suggests - the entire piece of jewelry is made entirely of gold (no base metal). There are many different karats of gold that determine the amount of gold versus bullion. Pure gold (24 karat) is too soft and malleable to be worn in jewelry, so gold must be alloyed with other metals to give it strength and durability. Pure 14k gold means 14 parts gold (58.3%) and 10 parts alloy (41.7%), while pure 18k gold means 18 parts gold (75%) and 6 parts alloy (25%). The lower the karat, the lower its price because less gold is used.
Solid gold is the best quality of gold out there - it's great to wear every day, it doesn't fade, and it's hypoallergenic. However, since the entire piece of jewelry is made of gold, it is very expensive and unaffordable for many people. Many solid gold jewelry retailers also have high prices, so one simple necklace can run into hundreds of dollars.

What is best for me?

The best type of gold jewelry for you depends on a number of factors, such as your budget, how often you wear your jewelry, whether you will be able to take good care of it, and more. We love the gold-filled scarlet gold because they're both affordable and high quality enough for everyday wear. Here is a chart that summarizes each type of gold jewelry.