What's the difference between gold plate, rolled gold, gold vermeil?



What is gold plating? 

Gold plating, vermeil or rolled gold all mean that a thin layer of gold has been bonded to a base metal. The difference is which metals are underneath (the base), how thick the coating is and how it has been bonded to the base metal, (the metal the jewellery is actually made of).

General gold plating / rolled gold   

If a piece of jewellery is simply described as gold plated, gold tone, gold colour or rolled gold the base metal underneath will not be silver and is a mixture of tin, brass, or a nickel alloy. This is obviously much cheaper to produce as the jewellery is made of inexpensive materials and then simply coated in gold or silver. 

When the gold wears off of this jewellery the metal underneath will quite often discolour rapidly and cause an allergic reaction and discolour the skin (usually a greenish colour)

This is also true of rolled gold unless it is specified that the base metal is sterling silver. But the gold coating will tend to last a lot longer. 

Gold plated 925 silver / Vermeil

However gold plated 925 silver and vermeil, means that the layer of gold has been bonded to a precious metal base.

The jewellery is first made of solid 925 silver and then a layer of genuine gold is bonded to the surface. The durability of the gold colour depends on the thickness of this layer and the care taken when wearing and storing the jewellery.  

This type gold coating will also fade and loose its colour with use over time but with a much more gradual effect. This means the jewellery is still wearable and will continue to be wearable after the gold plating wears off.

It can also be polished up and worn as silver or re-plated with gold.

With gold plated silver the metal underneath is much less likely to cause any allergic reaction.  This means gold plated silver is a good choice for anyone who has more sensitive skin


Some tips to prolong the life of the gold plating on your jewellery -

How long the gold plating or coating on silver jewellery will last depends on the thickness of the coating and how you wear and care for your jewellery. 

  • Take off jewellery before you sleep and wear more occasionally.
  • When you are not wearing it keep your jewellery in an airtight container or pouch.
  • Take off your jewellery in the shower or in water & do not wear it in  the pool or spa.
  • Avoid contact with perfumes, face creams, chemicals and hair products.
  • Avoid wearing your jewellery to do sports and high impact activities where you may perspire heavily or damage the pieces. 

The better you look after your gold plated jewellery the longer you will be able to enjoy wearing it. 


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