Gold Vermeil versus Gold Plated, Gold Filled and Solid Gold

 Gold vermeil jewellery pieces by RAW Copenhagen including gold vermeil chunky chain bracelets with a toggle bar


Do you know what the difference is between these four types of gold coloured metal in your jewellery? It is easy to get confused, so here is your quick guide, so you know what you are buying and what to look out for, both from an investment point of view as well as longevity of the gold, and not least from a health point of view, if you are susceptible to developing allergic reactions to certain base metals as well as nickel.

Image of the official precious metal standard in the UK as operated by the Hallmark Office of the Goldsmith Centre in London reffering to gold, silver and platinum



Okay, so let's start easy. Solid gold is pretty much what is says on the tin, so to speak. Jewellery pieces made from solid gold is made entirely of gold, so if your were to saw through your solid gold jewellery piece, which I wouldn't recommend, it would be all gold on the inside as well.

Solid gold is the most expensive and most durable of all the types of fine and Demi-fine yellow gold jewellery designs. However, when shopping for solid gold pieces you also need to look out for which carat it is, The higher the carat, the more precious it is, and it also gets deeper dark yellow in tone of the gold.

Solid gold in the UK is categories by the Assay Office of the Goldsmith Company in London, which tests the preciousness and hallmarks all precious metals designs, into 9 carat, 14 carat, 18 carat and 22 carat gold, referring to the fineness in the gold by millesimal, aka fineness in gold by parts per thousand, so 9 carat is 375 of 1000 in purity and would be stamped 375, whilst 14 carat are 585 out of 1000, 18 carat are 750 out of 1000, and 22 carat are 916 out of 1000.


Chunky chain gold vermeil chain necklace with a big baroque pearl pendant


Gold vermeil is gold plated Sterling silver jewellery, it is an American Industry standard but which the thickness of the gold plating needs to be a minimum of 2.5 microns, this high standard of gold plating makes the your jewellery pieces much more durable, like for instance the RAW Sisterhood Necklace featured above.

Also if you have a tendency to allergic reaction to base metal gold vermeil is a safe bet, as it is plated onto solid Sterling silver silver. 

Again gold vermeil jewellery is decided into plated gold onto silver with 9 carat, 14 carat, 18 carat and 22 carat. All the gold vermeil pieces from RAW Copenhagen I have plated with an extra thick layer of 18 carat gold.



RAW Copenhagen Gold-filled Bellevue Wrap Bracelet and necklace with ethically sourced Australian sapphires


Gold filled jewellery consists of 2-3 layers of solid gold (bonded or pressed) with other metals a brass, silver, or other base metal. These layers of solid gold can have different carat, again in the UK we operate with 9 carat, 14 carat, 18 carat and 22 carat gold filled jewellery.
Gold filled jewellery is a good alternative to gold vermeil and solid gold jewellery. It doesn't tend to tarnish easily and it’s much more durable than think gold plated jewellery. The gold filled designs I create are made with 14 carat gold filled beads and finding, like the Gold Filled Bellevue Wrap above with gorgeous ethically sourced greenish blue Australian Sapphires.


Necklace layering with a number of the bestselling RAW necklace, all gold plated sterling silver, some to gold vermeil standard


Last, you have gold plated jewellery which is a much broader category. Initially it is important to differentiate between gold plated sterling silver, which is still considering Demi-fine jewellery as it is made with precious metals, namely gold on silver, as opposed to gold plated base metal like brass amongst others, which falls into the category of fashion jewellery.

Gold plated base metal jewellery designs can still be super cool and beautiful, but it is much less precious, and if you have a tendency to allergies, please ask the seller what the gold is plated onto if not specified in the description, so you do not wake up with a nasty surprise of a green neck or a nasty rash from say a necklace with nickel in it.

Pending on the thickness of the plating, gold plating which is plating through an electronic process, is the least expensive alternative when it comes to jewellery, and it has a much shorter longevity of the gold and more easily have scratches, sometimes the thickness is even less than 0.5 micron, which makes the plating not last very long.


As sustainability is not just about how a designer sources his or her metal, and how he or she makes a design and through which process, but also about howdurable a design it, I am moving towards gold vermeil and gold filled standard for all my designs, and all thinner plated sterling silver jewellery pieces are being faced out.

This does make the designs a little more expensive, but then you also know as a customer that the pieces will last for your. Additionally, I will be making more and more of my designs available in recycled solid gold upon request.

I hope this little blog post has created a clearer picture for your in terms of which types of gold you want to invest in, and please feel free to ask me any questions in the comment section below, or simply send me an email to ask me a specific question at


All the best and lots of golden summer greetings

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