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All That Glitters Is Not Gold!

All That Glitters Is Not Gold!

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All That Glitters Is Not Gold! All Entries

All That Glitters Is Not Gold!

Gold-filled, gold-plated and gold vermeil techniques are widely used to showcase a more expensive look. Each are economical and massively sold in today’s market; even before the Elizabethan Era, metal smiths and gold smiths layered metals. Time after time, I’ve heard jewelry lovers offer contradicting definitions of the three. 

So, what are the differences? 


Composed of a solid thin layer of karat gold that is heat-and-pressure bonded to a base metal. The base metal is traditionally sterling silver, but today most jewelers use brass, and if the base metal is brass, then the item will be tarnish resistant. Gold-filled jewelry has a measurable amount of gold. The piece must integrate at least 5% karat gold of the item’s total weight. According to the Federal Trade Commission in the USA, 1/20th of karat gold must be layered. And “14/20” gold-filled material is made with 14k gold, and the gold represents 1/20th or 5% of the total item’s weight. The F.T.C considers Rolled Gold Plate (R.G.P) and Gold Overlay to be a lower thickness of gold than required to be categorized as Gold-Filled.


Gold-plated jewelry is created through a process by electrically or chemically bonding a thin layer of gold to a base metal. Unlike gold-filled, gold-plated does not have a measurable amount a gold. When buying gold-plated you don’t buy the item for its inherent value of gold—you buy gold plate for the gold color. 

 Gold Vermeil

Different from gold-plated and gold-filled, gold vermeil is sterling silver coated or plated with gold. It undergoes a process called electrolysis. In the USA, to be considered gold vermeil the item must be at least 10 karats, which is equivalent to 2.5 microns in gold content. An alternative term for gold vermeil is “silver-gilt” (or “gilded silver”).