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A Quick & Easy Guide to Types of Gold Finishes

Before I started making jewelry, I could not have told you the differences between gold-plated, gold vermeil, and gold-filled. The only one I knew for sure was solid gold (because it was pricey!).

This post is meant to give you a quick overview of the different kinds of metals I use, and what that actually means.


This is the most cost effective option for makers and consumers. Gold can be bonded to any base metal - most of my gold-plated items are gold over stainless steel, but brass and copper can also be used.

The plating will eventually wear off, so I prefer to use gold-plated on earrings, which are usually away from the more intense wear and tear that bracelets and necklaces get.

While gold plating can last a long time, exposure to oils, lotions, and things like salt water will wear down the plating faster.

Gold Vermeil

Similar to gold-plated items, a layer of gold is bonded to a base metal - but in this case, it is sterling silver.

While gold vermeil is solid, exposure to oils, lotions, and things like salt water wear down the plating. These items can be re-plated, if desired.


I make most necklaces with gold-filled clasps and accents, because it is the strongest option (except for solid gold!). Gold-filled is a 5% layer of gold atop another metal and has the strongest bond.

Gold-filled items can be exposed to water without losing their luster, however the best thing you can do for your gold-filled items is not wear them in the water!

Solid Gold

The most expensive option! As of the day I am writing this, solid gold costs $2,344.44 an OUNCE. Solid gold will not tarnish.

General Tips for Jewelry Care

  • If it is not solid gold, don't wear it in water! This means showers, lakes, oceans, etc.

  • Put your jewelry on AFTER you have done makeup, used hairspray, or applied perfume/cologne.

  • Store your items in a cool, dry space. A jewelry box in your bedroom (not bathroom, where there is higher humidity) is best.

  • Remove jewelry before sleep.

  • Polish with a soft, dry cloth.

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