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Are Gold Plated, Gold Filled, and Vermeil Considered "Gold"?

Is ALL Yellow Metal called Gold?

All yellow metals are NOT created equal.

It's very easy to be caught up in the confusion around jewelry materials, especially gold.

And since fine gold can get pricey (especially during unpredictable times), it is important to know the facts about different gold color-created metals so that you know what you are paying for.

In all of my Custom Designs & Custom Jewelry Transformations, I insist on using precious metals that are professionally alloyed by a refinery.

In some cases, if possible, I will reuse gold from YOUR heirloom piece. That is, if it is an integral part of the design, like the ring below that was created from her unworn wedding band and some other marriage jewelry after her divorce.

I do not like melting customer’s gold to use in a brand new design because

  • You are never sure what impurities might be in there.

  • Can often lead to porosity or pitting in the gold.

  • Can result in a less durable piece.

I value high quality and want only the best for your new piece of jewelry.

And even better for you, I give you the value of your precious metal toward the cost of the project (cha-ching!)

Why are some “Designer” or “Custom made” pieces so much cheaper?

It is the type of gold they are using.

There are 3 types you should be aware of:

  • Gold Plated

  • Gold Filled

  • Gold Vermeil

Gold Plated

When something is gold plated, it usually has a gold content of less than 1%.

That means that the piece of jewelry is 99% made of a base metal (usually brass or silver) that has been dipped in a gold bath for a brief period of time.

This creates a thin gold coating which is called plating.

Plated jewelry may appear to have the same brilliance and gold appearance at first.

But after it is

  • Worn

  • Washed

  • Rinsed

  • Rubbed too hard

The coating often fades and leaves behind discolored skin and filthy-looking jewelry.

The majority of fashion jewelry is gold-plated, which keeps the price low.

Gold Filled

Gold Filled is a term used to describe gold that has been filled.

Gold filled jewelry, like gold plating, is constructed of a separate base metal.

The distinction here is in the method.

In gold filled jewelry, they use a mechanical procedure to melt the gold onto the base metal.

To be classified as gold filled jewelry, it must contain 5% gold by weight, which means the gold covering is typically significantly thicker than that of plated jewelry.

Because the coating of gold is thick, a karat fineness number, like 10k or 14k, will still be stamped on the interior of a gold filled jewelry piece. But keep in mind. that number is only for the filled coating.

While filled jewelry will retain its gold color for a longer period of time, it will eventually discolor and tarnish.

Costume jewelry, chains and most pocket watches are gold filled and some have a warranty to last 20 years.

Gold Vermeil

Gold Vermeil is a type of gold plating in which the base metal is sterling silver.

Vermeil is more hypoallergenic than regular gold plating and has a thicker covering of gold.

Since there is more gold content, it is more acceptable to be sold in fine jewelry stores.

The plating can, however, wear away with enough scuffs and scratches.

A lot of vintage and antique jewelry were made using this process.

So what is the difference between these gold options and Solid gold?

Solid Gold

Gold in its purest form (24k) is

  • Soft

  • Almost orange in color

  • Quickly scratches

  • Far too weak to create a lasting piece.

As a result, alloys are added to make a more structurally stronger metal.

This "alloying" of metals is referred to as "solid gold" and can have different fineness depending on the percentage of gold to alloy.

You can read more about the different precious metals here.


I take extreme pride in giving you the best Quality and Value so that you can Enjoy your Custom piece, Engagement ring or Custom Jewelry Transformation and be rest assured that it will last for many years to come.

Click the Button below and let's create your new favorite piece of jewelry!

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