Buying Jewellery is always expensive, but did you know that there are ways to save money on your next purchase by educating yourself on the different qualities. Instead of buying solid gold for example you could buy something that looks the same quality but is only gold-filled.
Today we are going to look at the difference between gold plated, gold vermeil and gold-filled jewellery and how you can save money on jewellery, by buying something that looks as good for considerably less. Learning the differences between these types of gold jewellery can help you save hundreds of dollars in a single purchase.
Gold plated jewellery is created via a process where a layer of gold is electrically or chemically bonded to a base metal or metal alloy. The quality of the base metal ultimately determines the durability of the gold plating. A low quality base will tend to break down more quickly causing the gold plating to wear away sooner. Base metals such as sterling silver, stainless steel and brass will provide the most durability and will last the longest. So if you plan on buying gold plated jewellery, to get the best value for money choose one of those bases metals.
Gold Vermeil Jewellery
Gold vermeil (pronounced ver-may) is the common term used within the industry to describe gold-over-silver plated jewellery. Silver as mentioned in the paragraph above proves to be a good quality base for gold plating, but, the quality of the metal is also just as important. Pure silver for example is extremely soft and will typically be alloyed with other metals to strengthen it for the purpose of jewellery. Sterling silver is a metal alloy comprised of 92.5% pure silver that makes it one of the best choices for gold plating.
Gold Filled Jewellery
Gold filled jewellery is also known within the industry as ‘gold overlay’, it contains a metal plated layer of gold which much constitute at least 5% of the total metal weight of the item. The gold plating is mechanically bonded to the metal base to create a weighty piece of jewellery that may feel better value for money compared to gold plated. This again is another great alternative to saving money when compared with buying solid gold items or other precious metals.
Gold alloy is a mixture of pure gold and other metals, but with this process jewellers do not base the metal in gold, they combine the chosen metal with the gold instead to create an alloy. You will have seen a number of examples such as rose gold, which features an alloy of pure gold combined with copper, which is what creates the reddish hue. White gold on the other hand is an alloy of gold and another white metal such as silver, palladium, zinc or nickel.
|Type of Jewellery||
|Gold-filled jewellery||- Higher amount of gold- More valuable
- More durable and wont chip
- Safe for people with metal allergies
|- More expensive- Life span of 10 – 30 years|
|Gold-plated jewellery||- Inexpensive- Looks like real gold
- Very strong
|- Low amount of gold- Items can tarnish, chip and flake|
Buying Second Hand
There are two fool proof ways to test an item to ensure it is gold-filled rather than gold plated, but both methods require you to see a professional. The first requires the piece to be electronically tested with a device that can tell you how thick the gold is on a piece of jewellery. The machine to complete this test is very expensive and most jewellers won’t necessarily have the machine.
The second method that is more traditional, is testing the metal with an acid test. A small amount will be put onto the item and it will indicate the difference because gold plating will be dissolved right off the surface of the underlying metal.