I noticed that gold is making a real comeback. I want to buy some gold jewelry but don’t know the difference between gold-fill, gold plate, and vermeil when I see gold jewelry. How do I know if I am getting ripped off?
You definitely don’t want to be a fool for gold! There is a big price difference between KARAT gold, and the pseudo-gold items you listed.
GOLD PLATE: is a thin layer of gold that is on the outside of a NON-precious metal. Imagine a peppermint patty. The chocolate part is the thin layer of real gold (it is the “gold plate”) and the white minty inside is the base metal (base metal meaning a non precious metal). The term “Gold-plated jewelry” should only refer to jewelry that has a real gold outer layer, but NON-precious metal interior.
VERMEIL: is gold-plate over sterling silver. So, with the peppermint patty image, the outside chocolate is real gold, but the white minty part is STERLING SILVER. And “vermeil” only refers to jewelry that is sterling silver on the inside with a real gold coating.
GOLD FILL: Image a jelly roll. The jelly part of the jelly roll is the real gold element of the jewelry. Gold-Fill means that the real gold is mixed in with the base metal. So any jewelry that is GOLD FILL is really NON-precious metal mixed with a little bit of real gold.
Real 14k, 18K, 22K, or 24K will always be more expensive than Gold Plate, Vermeil, or Gold Fill jewelry. In fact, any jewelry that is Gold Plate, Vermeil or Gold Fill should be closer to prices of sterling silver jewelry.
And, don’t forget that any real 14k, 18k, 22K will have a stamp on the jewelry that states what karat it is. If it says 14K GF it means 14k GOLD FILL. If its all 14k gold should only be “14K” on the stamp.
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Tina Tang Studio
49 Greenwich Avenue
New York, NY 10014
Gold Label by Tina Tang
48 Greenwich Avenue
New York, NY 10011