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What’s the difference: Gold Plating, Gold Vermeil, and Gold Filled Jewellery in Australia

In the realm of jewellery, the terms gold plating, gold vermeil, and gold filled often causes confusion. While all involve coating a base metal with gold, the method, longevity, and quality vary.

Gold Plating is the most common and least expensive method. It involves electroplating a thin layer of gold onto a base metal, typically brass or copper, but sometimes silver. The Australian jewellery standard requires only a minimal gold layer, which can wear off over time, revealing the underlying metal. Despite this, gold-plated jewellery allows for affordability and access to fashionable styles.

Gold Vermeil, pronounced 'ver-may,' is a more luxurious variant of gold plating. According to Australian regulations, gold vermeil jewellery is made by coating sterling silver with a layer of gold, usually 14k or higher, with a minimum thickness of 2.5 microns. This process gives the jewellery a richer colour and makes it more durable and long-lasting than gold-plated pieces, although it requires more care to maintain its lustre. It's an excellent choice for those with allergies to base metals used in gold plated jewellery.

Gold Filled jewellery, on the other hand, goes a step further in durability and quality. The process involves mechanically bonding a thick layer of gold to a base metal, commonly brass. The gold content must account for at least 1/20th of the total weight to align with the Australian standard. This results in a piece with the appearance of solid gold but at a fraction of the cost. Gold filled jewellery is highly resistant to tarnishing, doesn't chip or wear off, and is suitable for individuals with metal sensitivities.

Subtly Anxious rings are in between gold plating and gold vermeil standards as the base metal is 925 sterling silver and the gold plating is between 0.5 - 2 microns. 

This means that even once the plating wears off, it is still hypoallergenic and water resistant. 


In summary, each type of gold jewellery offers distinct benefits where the durability is justified by the higher price.  Gold-plated pieces offer affordability, gold vermeil promises better quality and hypoallergenic properties, while gold-filled jewellery brings longevity and resistance to wear and tear. It's essential to understand these differences to make an informed choice based on your needs, budget, and personal style.

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